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Curated by NoLIta participant Shay Lam

Curated by NoLIta participant Shay Lam
Curated by NoLIta participant Shay Lam shot by Ky Katrensky

As part of our 'Curated by NoLIta' project, we met with the curators: the people living and working in the neighborhood.


Ky Katrensky met with Architect Shay Lam, who hopes for better art. Shay has lived in NoLIta since 2002.



KK: Why did you get involved with art:i:curate and this project?

SL: I was introduced by a friend and love the concept of new art, exposure and community. 


KK: What do you hope to take away from it? 

SL: Better art hopefully!


KK: How do you normally take in art?

SL: Friends drag me kicking and screaming to a museum. I usually thank them later. 


KK: What does the term "curating" mean to you?

SL: Isn't it a fancy word for selecting? Carefully selecting? 


KK: When did you move to NoLIta?

SL: In 2002. My ex girlfriend lived here... it's become the center of the universe for me.


KK: Where did you live before and where are you from?

SL: I'm from SF. Before NY, I lived in London. 


KK: What do you like best about your part of town​ and what don't you like at all?

SL: NoLIta is one of the last fun neighborhoods that hasn't lost its soul to commerce. There's loads of great restaurants and shops on the area but it hasn't become over-crowded like Soho or like the Meatpack. It still feels like a neighborhood. 
I hate the rent prices but I suppose this is all of NYC. 


KK: Favorite New York moment?

SL: Wow, how do I choose? During Sandy, someone brought four of those 6-plug extension cords to the closest bank that had power and daisy chained them together into one massive power cord. Juiced everyone up. People took turns and took only what they needed to make their emergency phone calls. Everyone was grateful. And calm. That's just how New Yorkers deal with things. Totally legit. 


KK: Do you know any of your neighbors? 

SL: Yes we have an email group. 


KK: Do you hope to connect with your neighbors though this project?

SL: Sure! 


KK: Are there any notable neighborhood characters?

SL: There used to be the milk carton golf guy who would whack around little milk cartons, yelling "foooooooore!" on Mulberry and Prince. Moe the butcher on Elizabeth Street. I can't believe it's still there. I have never bought meat from there even though it's right across the street.


KK: Do you have a local hangout spot in the neighborhood that is community oriented?

SL: Cafe Habana. It just is. 


KK: Have you heard any stories about the history of NoLIta?

SL: Like the shooting galleries?


KK: What do you see as the future of NoLIta?

SL: We all know that NoLIta is North of Little Italy. But no one calls Little Italy Little Italy so NoLIta goes down to Canal street, and west to Broadway. The future? Now that Noho is Noho, and Bowery is now The Bowery, I don't reckon NoLIta can grow any more. 


KK: Tell me something about yourself... Really, anything.

SL: I'm short. It's just a fact.

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