Transhistoria by SO – IL

In the northwest section of the New York City borough of Queens, Jackson Heights was founded as a “garden community” in the first half of the 20th century. The neighborhood was a leader in developing utopian ideals of high-density housing in direct contrast with the traditional, over-crowded, and noisy New York apartment buildings common during the time. Over the past decades the neighborhood’s housing stock has risen dramatically, making it one of the more densely populated areas of the city. Jackson Heights counts 138 languages spoken among its many global communities and is also one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in the United States.

For Transhistoria, the third edition of stillspotting nyc, the architects at Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL) explore how one finds calm and inner peace in a bustling environment such as Jackson Heights. How do its residents, who often have roots elsewhere, achieve a sense of home and familiarity in a post-national living situation? And what urged them to leave their old households and countries in the first place?

Official histories on migration tend to stress economic or political motives for relocation without giving much attention to individual and cultural narratives. One important but largely ignored aspect, however, remains the flight from problematic domestic situations. Think of a young woman who leaves to escape her strict mother, a transgender individual who feels underappreciated by town elders, or a man who never returns home to his family after stepping out for a pack of cigarettes. These types of everyday stories open up a different enquiry in the search for identity and home away from home.

In Transhistoria, SO – IL dives deeper into transformative personal narratives through a series of stories commissioned from Queens-affiliated writers, including authors such as Roger Sedarat, René Georg Vasicek, Maria Terrone, Erik Baard, Premilla Nadasen, Nicole Steinberg, Alan Briceland, and rappers such as Himanshu Suri & Ashok Kondabolu of Das Racist. Each will create a story about personal transition and finding home in Jackson Heights. During these four weekends in April and May, Jackson Heights storytellers will recount these stories around six neighborhood stillspots as varied as residential, commercial, and public spaces.


In two-hour self-guided tours starting from the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Ave. station, Transhistoria visitors will encounter four of these personal transhistories, selected from a series of around six indoor and outdoor spaces that frame the special experiences of these stories of migration, displacement, and finding familiarity and identity in a new place.

A ticket to Transhistoria grants access to four of six possible locations for readings in Jackson Heights, Queens, initiating from a stillspotting ticket kiosk just south of the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Ave transit hub at 40-40 75th Street. View a map of the stillspotting ticketing kiosk.

Hours are Saturdays and Sundays, April 14–15, 21–22, 28–29, and May 5–6, 11am–7pm with the last tour starting at 5pm. Visitors will receive a map, directions for a self-guided tour, and a wristband for access to four sites that they may choose from the six sites open daily. A full visit to four sites takes approximately two hours, and visitors may customize their route or make other stops along the way as there is no suggested itinerary.

Discounted rates are available for groups of ten or more. Advanced registration is strongly suggested. A program for families will be offered as part of Transhistoria on Saturdays April 21 and May 5 from 12–3pm with a story written expressly for families performed in a public space in Jackson Heights.

Stillspotting nyc is organized by David van der Leer, Assistant Curator, Architecture and Urban Studies, with Sarah Malaika, Stillspotting Project Associate, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.


Event Details:

  • When: 

    Saturday, May 5, 2012
    11 a.m. (last tour at 5 p.m.)

  • Where: 

    a stillspotting ticket kiosk just south of the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Ave transit hub
    40-40 75th Street.
    Queens, NY

  • More information: 

    Event website.

Submit your event to The Architect's Newspaper!
Read The Architect's Newspaper!

Copyright © 2014 | The Architect's Newspaper, LLC | AN Blog Admin Log in. The Architect's Newspaper LLC, 21 Murray Street 5th Floor | New York, New York 10007 | tel. 212.966.0630
Creative Commons License