Culture Narrative/storytelling

404: Forget Me Not

404: Forget Me Not is a curated web based archive of stories from New York City’s long serving small businesses that have either disappeared or are struggling to keep afloat due to rise in rent and gentrification.


Kristina You


Simone Salvo


Being in a place like New York City feels like you are witnessing history happen- things come, things go, things happen, things become forgotten. In the blink of an eye. In a place like this, we are often inundated with problems of the now and it is difficult for us to slow down and take time to remember and honor past human connections and stories. Some small businesses that have served neighborhoods for upwards of a century will disappear to be replaced by chain restaurants and branded coffee shops- but where do the stories and human connections from the historic institutions go? This project aims to create a space for these stories to exist on the web to live on, even if they are gone from the real world. From the owners’ life stories to the unique and endearing typographic characteristics of their store signs, all traces of what once impacted the daily lives of the people of this city.


This project started with an interest in focusing on the typography of the signs in New York City with an idea to create a generative typography tool to manipulate them to create various outputs. After conducting copious research for specific small businesses to focus on, I came to realize that the human stories spoke louder than the typographic qualities of the signs and found myself digging deeper into finding narrative pieces. Of course the signs were unique and representative of the stores’ histories, but I decided to pivot my project to place the main focus on the stories themselves and also highlight the signs in their own way as well. Key Sources: James and Karla Murray, ‘Storefront: The Disappearing Face of New York’ Thomas Rinaldi, ‘New York Neon’ Dia.TV Space Type Generator

Technical Details

Design and prototyping with Figma. Programmed in HTML/CSS/JS and p5.js