When New York City went bankrupt in the 1970s, many buildings in the Lower East Side were abandoned. They were repossessed by the city, and reclaimed in the 80s by squatters. These individuals made these spaces homes, and with ingenuity and creativity, created a movement.

Prompted by “Welcome to the Occupation: Squatting and Resistance from Berlin to New York,” a panel discussion co-presented by the Deutsches Haus and the Urban Democracy Lab on April 17, 2017, this project investigates the recent history of the Lower East Side squats. After the event, I contacted activist and former squatter Frank Morales with some follow-up questions. He told me the location of the squats from memory and gave an insight into life at that time.