Old Stories from New Streets

Sites of Memory is a brand new map-based website conceived and edited by the writer and art director Angela Riechers, who holds an M.F.A. from SVA’s D-Crit program. This dynamic site is accompanied by smartphone tours that “re-attach” the stories of New York City’s forgotten dead to the urban landscape. Audio narration by Kurt Andersen, Lewis Lapham, and Luc Sante links disparate locations around the city into larger stories about remembrance, mortality, and forgetting as they connecs our modern selves to the shared history of this great metropolis.

Sites of Memory asks: Did you know that pirates were once hanged from the gallows on the island where the Statue of Liberty now stands? Or that the disastrous 1904 sinking of the General Slocum steamship near the East River’s treacherous Hell Gate was the largest single-day loss of life in New York City until 9/11? These stories and others like them “stubbornly hang around their old neighborhoods,” says Riechers, “though many of the places are long gone—the waterfront filled in, the buildings torn down, characters long since dead and buried. But the narratives endure, and tales that unfolded decades or even centuries ago can still resonate with our lives today in unexpected ways.” The site reconnects long-forgotten names and events to the city and “creates a vital dialog between the past and present, the public and the personal.”

Sites of Memory is supported by a grant from the AOL Artists 25 for 25 program.

The infamous Judge Crater "missing" case.

Fire on the General Slocum.