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Viewfinder | Marlis Momber

For more than three decades, Marlis Momber has chronicled the changes that have occurred in the East Village and the Lower East Side – Loisaida. She reflects on 30 years of observing a community in transition.

1986 This Land is Ours

“I hope we will learn from this having lost against gentrification, but it was inevitable,” said Ms. Momber in her East Fourth Street apartment as she sorted through photos, such as this image from 1986. “There’s this sense now that we must reconnect — preserve and continue — or all the earlier stuff will be for naught.”
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Loisaida Through The Lens

Marlis Momber, a German-born photographer, has documented the dramatic evolution of Loisaida, her home, for decades.

South of 14th Street and north of Houston, east of Avenue A to the East River, Loisaida is all but unknown to some late-coming East Villagers. Though time and gentrification have transformed the neighborhood, Loisaida’s streets still reflect its distinct culture and history.

Many of the murals that are a signature of Ms. Momber’s photographs have faded, but her body of work helps explain the Loisaida we see today.

During a walk through Loisaida, Ms. Momber describes a community that is more than a sign tacked onto Avenue C; Loisaida — a community, a culture, a past not forgotten.

NYU Journalism’s Molly O’Toole reports.