I think I’ve been stressed out about how broad my thesis topic is, because when I had a eureka moment tonight when I decided to focus on the Lower East Side community it made me so happy. Ever since I moved to New York, I’ve been drawn to the Lower East side for walks during the day, to soak in the surroundings and details. It’s a unique place because of the character of the streets, architecture and environment. It’s also pretty fun for nightlife, between Max Fish and that bar that has $1 PBRs.

The Lower East Side is exactly the kind of community I need to focus on cultural preservation and to study the effects of globalization/homogenization. It’s a vibrant, fun, eclectic neighborhood that is at risk of completely losing its character and ‘grittiness’. What does this term ‘gritty’ really mean anyways? Dirty? The LES is definitely down-to-earth, not stuffy at all. However, the original community that has historical roots in the area can barely afford to live there anymore. Big-box condominium towers and celebrity chef restaurants attract a very different population than Katz’s Delicatessen. How did this trend begin? Was it the Rivington hotel or way before that?? And how can we as designers preserve the culture of the community by connecting residents and visitors to the historical roots?

This gives me some solid direction for primary research, starting with visiting the Tenement museum and NYPL to learn about the history of the area.

This guy was blasting music from the back of his scooter. You could literally hear him from 4 blocks away.

This is my new brain map of thesis ideas. I narrowed down the topic but it’s still comfortably broad. It’s scary to think that I need to focus in on one specific thing to focus on for the next 10 months, but it’s what I need to do. Now I feel like I have so much more direction.

Published by Elizabeth Pizzuti

Design, art, and cats mostly

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