Lost Streets is part of citywide efforts from a range of people, organizations, and neighborhoods to use the collective activist histories as inspiration for ongoing struggles for housing justice. Lost Streets will remain on display 24-hours a day through June 22, 2017.

The event flyer

New York University’s Kimmel Windows Galleries presents Lost Streets: Seward Park’s Fight for Housing Justice on view street-level at LaGuardia Place and West 3rd Street. The exhibit, which contains photographs, memorabilia, flyers, broadsides, and news articles, chronicles the 50-year struggle to get affordable housing built on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) site. Building on the site, now called Essex Crossing, is currently in progress; the NYC Housing Lottery for the first mixed income housing development has garnered over 90,000 applications.

Lost Streets will remain on display 24-hours a day through June 22, 2017 at Kimmel Windows Galleries, street-level, NYU Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, NYC.  [Subways A/C/E/B/D/F/M to West 4th Street; 6 to Astor Place; R/W to 8th Street]. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

On May 16, 2017 from 6:30-9pm there will be a panel discussion bringing longtime SPURA organizers into conversation with younger activists and artists from across the five boroughs.

Fight for the Living City: A Multigenerational Conversation
Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU
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Facebook Event

"Fight for the Living City" will also draw the audience into the dialogue and consider how we can use the lessons of past organizing campaigns to inform our present and future practices. The evening will conclude with music, food, drink and more intimate discussions.

flyers in window





Office Memorabilia

Lost Streets captures a deeply under-investigated piece of ongoing NYC history,” said lead curator, Noah Fuller.   "Many of the images, documents, and artifacts in the show have never been exhibited publicly, partly because beyond the Lower East Side (LES) people don't know about this incredible injustice and the dogged fight by those who were displaced.”

“In telling the political and personal stories of the five decade fight over the SPURA, the exhibit is sharing a core struggle of working class New Yorkers,” said co-curator Pamela Jean Tinnen.  “As curators, we felt it was so necessary to tell the story of SPURA because the city is going through very similar things today.”

slum clearence flyer

1959 Slum Clearence Flyer

memorial fence

Memorial Fence, c. 2007

Lost Streets--and Below the Grid Lab--are part of citywide efforts from a range of people, organizations, and neighborhoods to use the collective activist histories as inspiration for ongoing struggles for housing justice.  

Tito Quote

About Tito Delgado

Below are several quotes from the exhibit:

“Out of that struggle, out of that fight, I learned that there are people out there that are willing to support you. That they fear the same injustice that we do. And that if we get together we can fight and actually win.” – Tito Delgado, activist and former SPURA resident

“If you don’t have the troops involved, you have nothing. If you don’t have the people who are going to benefit from the plan or suffer from the plan, you have nothing.” – Frances Goldin, legendary LES activist

“The yearly vigils made people care, made them remember what was lost.” – Harriet Cohen, SPARC

“Other neighborhoods, other cities can from learn from this history and this victory.” – Chino Garcia, CHARAS

Background on SPURA:

In 1967, the city began leveling a vibrant, diverse neighborhood, displacing more than 1,800 families and hundreds of small businesses. Lost Streets tells the story of SPURA, a 6-acre set of blocks in the Lower East Side that sat vacant for five decades, held hostage by one the most powerful people in the state and fought for by a community that was “disappeared”. Now after years of demonstrations, rallies, vigils, picket lines, meetings, postcard campaigns and endless negotiations – new housing is being built and those who lost their homes have a chance to return.

The exhibit is a joint venture of SPARC, Below the Grid Lab and the Kimmel Galleries. Co-sponsors include: The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU; Center for Multicultural Education and Programs; The College of Arts and Sciences; Department of Social and Cultural Analysis; Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Metropolitan Studies Program.

About the Kimmel Galleries: Established in 2003, Kimmel Galleries are dedicated to providing visually dynamic and thought provoking exhibitions. They are free and open to the public. For more information on tours, the artists or price inquiries, please contact the Curator, Pamela Jean Tinnen, at 212 298 4950, or pamela.jean.tinnen@nyu.edu.

Past exhibitions include: Patterns of Interest: photography by Stephen Mallon; HOUSE: HOME; Field Season: records, wandering perspectives, side notes, a selection of photographs from Abydos, by Greg Maka, Amanda Kirkpatrick and Gus Gusciora; Preconceived Notions; and Perspectives: A photography exhibit about traveling and living in our world; DITTO: WORKS IN BLUE, Shira Toren, among others.

Press Contact

Christopher James
Christopher James
(212) 998-6876