Since 2015, photographer and East Village resident Adam Friedberg has documented all the single-story buildings in the East Village and the Lower East Side, nearly 100 sites in total. As rapid development swept through these two neighborhoods, Friedberg realized that these modest structures were quickly disappearing, along with the predominately working-class uses that filled them. Many of the structures themselves are modest and architecturally insignificant, yet together they form an alternative geography of the built environment that is quickly being erased before our eyes.
For this show, the structures are loosely clustered by similar uses, revealing both commonalities and differences. Religious services can take place in ornate settings or humble storefronts. Real estate interests can devour both fast food joints and high-end cocktail bars. While Friedberg’s stance on the preservation of these structures is agonistic, Single-Story Project prompts us to pause and consider the value of these places before they are all gone.