Lower East Side History

Book Talk: DIY on the Lower East Side


Watch a free virtual book talk with Andrew Strombeck, author of DIY on the Lower East Side: Books, Buildings, and Art after the 1975 Fiscal Crisis, in conversation with the Tenement Museum’s Retail Marketing Associate, Arabella Luna Friedland.

In the throes of the 1975 New York fiscal crisis, New York City was crumbling. Deemed as the subsequent failure of the “postwar welfare state”, the seemingly abandoned city sparked fear. Plainclothes police officers greeted tourists at the airports with “Fear City” pamphlets, a “survival guide” that warned mainly to stay away. A city and time filled with contradiction also allotted for one of the most creative and community-driven periods in New York City history. Strombeck tells the legacy of one neighborhood in particular, the Lower East Side, where the crisis and its cultural aftermath centralized gentrification in a neighborhood that was originally working class. Reworking the foundation of the arts and activism in crisis, in a way inherent to New York City.