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Yukie Ohta Knows SoHo

Yukie Ohta is a lifelong resident of SoHo. In June 2018, Yukie received a Cast Iron Partner Award for her collaboration with and support of the SoHo Broadway Initiative. Dive into her story below:


Name: Yukie Ohta

Title:  Founder

Month/Year of arrival on SoHo Broadway: 

1969 on Crosby Street is when and where I was born. 1974 is when my family moved to Mercer Street.  While we lived on both “back alleys” of Broadway, my family and I never lived on Broadway itself. That said, I used to work on Broadway, and more recently I started writing the Look Back at SoHo Broadway web series with the SoHo Broadway Initiative in 2015.

What brought you to SoHo Broadway? What do you do here? 

I was born on SoHo Broadway. I guess you could say it’s my parents’ fault that I’m here. I grew up with Broadway as the main artery that led me to school, work, and play. All of my doctors are on Broadway, I shop for food and clothing on Broadway. I also research the history SoHo Broadway, so I am here all the time, both physically and intellectually.

Yukie receives 2018 Cast Iron Partner Award. Presented by Brian Steinwurtzel (left) and Mark Dicus (right).

What do you like about SoHo Broadway?

I love that SoHo Broadway is so mixed-use, that it brings me here for so many reasons. My healthcare is here, my bank, my go-to stores. I used to see art on SoHo Broadway, back when there were more  galleries and museums here—the Guggenheim Museum, the New Museum, the Museum for African Art. I also like visiting artists’ studios—the live-work community here. Choreographer Cathy Weiss has a free performance series called Sundays on Broadway in her loft, which is in the same building as Douglas Dunn + Dancers, whose studios I’ve also visited. I stop by to visit the SoHo Broadway Initiative a lot too!

What is your favorite SoHo Broadway memory or experience?

When I was a kid, we had a massive snowstorm. There was over a foot of snow on Broadway, and no cars. I remember rolling down the middle of the street. And it wasn’t just me—it was a snow day, so all the kids were doing it!

If you had 20 minutes, where would you go?

I would browse at one of my favorite design stores, MOMA, Muji, or Artists & Fleas.

I’d grab a coffee at Dean & Deluca or Baltazar Bakery.

Then I’d look up! No one ever does that. The tops of the buildings along Broadway are so unique and beautiful!

If I still had time left over, I’d drop off my compost (Yukie is a member of the NY Compost Box Program on SoHo Broadway. If you are interested to join the program, register to the waitlist here)!

What should we know about you outside of working/living here?  What do you do for fun or are you looking forward to doing? 

There Are No Words, Yukie Ohta.

I am a collage artist—it’s something I do outside of work for fun. I don’t really sell my work. Right now, my collages are on view in the Children’s Room of the Mulberry Street Library. I wanted the children to be surrounded by art while they read!

Something I am looking forward to is the launch of my new website. It is a reimagined reincarnation of the SoHo Memory Project blog that I am calling “a digital archive of our collective memory.”

There are four main components to the site: stories, people, places, and archival documents, and they are all interconnected. You can go from a story about, for example, loft living and find links to related people and places that transport you through an intricate web of related stories. The new site also has a mapping component, as well as digitized photographs and many oral histories.

My favorite aspect of the site is that anyone and everyone can share their SoHo stories then get incorporated into SoHo Memory Project’s ever-growing collection of memories, past and present. I believe that very SoHo story is part of the history of our neighborhood, so the more people share their recollections, the closer we get to capturing the ethos of our community.

Check out The SoHo Memory’s freshly launched website here.


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