We’re Going Home

We’re Going Home is a photo-based project that explores my father’s childhood home on Lewis Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Ten large-scale, 30” x 40”, photographic images consist of layered photomontages and are amalgams of contemporary photos taken by myself, images culled from historical archives found at YIVO (Institute for Jewish Research) and the Internet plus drawings that I have created. This project further investigates how fantasy, folklore and facts are intertwined to create a personal family narrative.

My father was born in New York City in 1925 and grew up on Lewis Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He was the oldest of four children and the son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants from the Austrian Hungarian Empire: modern day Poland. He grew up in a tenement on Lewis Street which was very far east beyond the Williamsburg Bridge. His family shared a bathroom in the hallway with four other families. This tenement does not exist today. When I was a child growing up in suburban New Jersey, I remember one Sunday when my family had driven into the city to try to find his childhood home. 

I moved to New York City in 1981 to live in the East Village and attend Parsons School of Design. I love New York City, fiercely,  and wanted to learn more about its rich history, especially the history of Eastern European Jewish immigration and the Lower East Side. This project has helped me to define, search for and expand  upon my cultural heritage as a Jewish American woman. We’re Going Home is a tribute to my father. This year has marked the 20th year of his passing.