The Mott Haven Oral History project documents the history of Mott Haven through the voices of people who have lived it.

The Mott Haven Oral History project exists to record, share, and amplify the stories and analysis of Mott Haven residents. We are working with and making meaning from these stories as we record them, doing this work together and in public, initially through our oral history walk and our first listening party. This website is a work in progress, another place to share stories as they are recorded. The first audience for this project is Mott Haven residents.

What is this project about?

People are talking a lot about how Mott Haven is changing these days, wondering if it will be “the next Williamsburg.” But Mott Haven, like any neighborhood, has always been changing. Longtime residents know that the Mott Haven of today, or even of five years ago, is not the same as the Mott Haven of the 1980s or early 1990s.

This project is about how Mott Haven changed over the past century, and especially the last 25-30 years, and how it is continuing to change.  We want to better understand how and why neighborhoods develop in different ways. We think that this knowledge can help people make decisions about development and participate in shaping their neighborhoods.

Right now the project is just getting started. In the first phase of it, we’re doing oral history interviews with people who have lived here for a long time, to find out what they know, what they think, and what they remember about life in Mott Haven over the past 90 years. We welcome ideas about how to do the research, who to talk to, what questions to ask, and ways to partner with other local people and organizations. There are a bunch of different ways to participate in this project, from helping to develop ideas or getting others involved to being interviewed.

Who started this project?

Amy Starecheski is an oral historian and cultural anthropologist who has lived in Mott Haven, as a renter on 139th Street, since 2001. She started conducting oral histories with long-time residents in 2007, and in 2017 began working on this project.



Get involved


There are lots of ways to get involved – suggest someone to be interviewed, volunteer to be interviewed, interview a friend, share your old photos, work on making stories out of the interviews, suggest a way they could be useful, try out the oral history walk. Tell us what you think!

We are especially looking right now for

  • people who have lived here for a long time
  • people who live in public housing
  • people who live in newer row houses built since 1990
  • people who can speak about the work of the Young Lords in Mott Haven