80 Wooster Street and the Evolution of SoHo




Published by the Jonas Mekas Foundation

Authors Roslyn Bernstein and Shael Shapiro


Roslyn Bernstein

Roslyn Bernstein is a professor of journalism and creative writing at Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY). She is the director of the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program at Baruch College. Her book, Boardwalk Stories, a collection of 14 linked fictional tales spanning the decades 1950 to 1970, appeared in 2009. She has lived in Lower Manhattan since 1964 and in SoHo since 1979. As a journalist, Bernstein has published news and feature articles, catalogue essays and opinion pieces on education, neighborhood development, media, culture and the arts. She has reported from the United States, Eastern Europe, Israel, and China for such publications as theNew York Times, Newsday, theVillage Voice, New York Magazine, Parents, Contemporanea, American Banker, Artnews, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Buzzine (

Shael Shapiro

Shael Shapiro was an early resident of 80 Wooster Street and continues to live on the street today.  He was a pioneer in SoHo and was personally involved in many of the events covered in this book.  George Maciunas consulted with him about architectural matters for 80 Wooster Street and other buildings. In 1971 at the height of the Fluxus movement, Shapiro assisted Maciunas in the production of a Yoko Ono/John Lennon museum show, and he then worked for Lennon and Ono for over a year. Shapiro specializes in the adaptive reuse of buildings and has guided the conversion of hundreds of loft buildings to residential use. Shapiro was the architect for the PS1 artist studios and museum in Queens, which opened in 1976. The Downtown Collection of the Fales Library at New York University has acquired Shapiro’s personal papers relating to the development of SoHo and the conversion of loft buildings.