“I’d been considering doing a 1920’s New York Project for a long time, wanted to make sure I had the time and resources for a project this big,” Jogi Schultz (yogijo) – “Mr. S” to the folk in his neighbourhood – told me as we emerged from the subway station into the world of New York in the mid-1920s, as modelled by his 1920s New York Project.As we stood at the roadside, a few cars parked at the kerb, he continued, “New York City has been my favourite city since I was a kid. There is so much history here, even in the buildings themselves. And it’s so diverse in what it has to offer.”I’d first come across the project via Annie Brightstar. Her article was enough to pique my curiosity and encourage me to hop over to take a look – and that encouraged me to contact Jogi to find out more.
1920s New York Project: the landing point, model on the Detention Hall, Ellis Island, complete with the Stairway of Separation (and the real thing, inset)“I started back in September,” he told me as we stood chatting. “I’m doing everything by hand; none of the builds are intended for sale to others. It’s all for the project.” And by ‘everything’, he means just that: buildings, roads, sidewalks, street lamps, the elevated rail line, the ornate iron subway stair copulas – even the period cars parked at the kerb side – everything has come from Jogi’s research, and been carefully designed and constructed. “We’re at a quarter region now, and I’m just starting on the next quarter, in time the project will extend over a full.
”The work completed so far is impressive. Jogi has taken extraordinary care to recreate buildings from the period which actually existed (some of which still do today) along streets such as Pearl St and Water St in lower Manhattan. At street level, stores and boutiques line the sidewalks, with brick-faced and concrete apartment blocks rising 3, 4 or 5 stories above them, fronts often hung with the wrought iron railings and stairs of fire escapes, great ladders ready to drop to street level should they ever be needed.
Nor are these simply empty structures. “The aim here is authentic role-play,” Jogi told me. “We have around 50 rentals in total. Already all the available apartments have been rented, and the stores are filling up. When we formally open, a dress code will be in place, and visitors will be encouraged to dress the part on arriving. We’ll be requesting all open chat is kept in character, and everything else, questions and things, are kept to IM.”
As if to echo this, one of the local tenants came by, a bonnet protecting her head and hair from the cold, heavy coat falling to her knees. “afternoon Mistah S,” she greeted, with a nod and a smile to Jogi.“Afternoon, Matilde,” Jogi replied, lifting a finger to touch the brim of his fedora in a polite salute.
Visitors to 1920’s New York Project arrive below a subway station in a large hall, on one side of which is a broad stairway leading up to the station’s platform. “It is actually modelled on the detention area at Ellis Island, New York”, Jogi told me. “And the stairs are the Stairs of Separation. When immigrants came to New York by ship, they’d arrive at Ellis island and checked. Some would be detained due to illness or other concerns, and get directed down the stairs to the detention area, where they might face deportation…..”