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Stoop Stories: City Kids

Photograph by Marj KleinmanLaunched during lockdown, Stoop Stories is a documentary storytelling project that shares the personal experiences of New Yorkers through imagery and first-person narratives, straight from their stoops.

As COVID-19 surged in New York City, Marj Kleinman photographed and interviewed her Brooklyn brownstone neighbors. Lara Weinberg soon joined as her writer/editor. The duo co-produce Stoop Stories, with the goal of helping New Yorkers feel seen and heard during this unprecedented time, and beyond. Since April 2020, they have created and curated hundreds of features from New York City families, essential workers, small business owners, and activists.

Stoop Stories has been profiled by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Out New York, PIX11 News, and News12 Brooklyn. Their work has been exhibited at the International Center for Photography, Arts Gowanus ArtWalk, Papergirl BK, and Art on the Ave NYC.

In May 2021, Stoop Stories opened a solo show at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum—the oldest children’s museum in the world. The exhibit is designed to engage children and caregivers, and invite them to tell their own Stoop Stories. As an extension to this experience, we are proud to present this companion exhibit for Photoville—a celebration of city kids and stoop play!

PRESENTED BY

with additional support fromPhotography: Marj Kleinman

Editorial: Lara Weinberg

Coloring pages are designed by local artist @Drawingabriela.Marj Kleinman is a visual storyteller and the creator of Stoop Stories. A lifelong Brooklynite, residing in her childhood brownstone, she has years of stoop-sitting under her belt. This symbol of Brooklyn culture became both her refuge and muse, especially in times of crisis. Before focusing on photography, Kleinman was a children’s educational media producer, creating award-winning games and activities for kids, families, and teachers at PBS Kids, Sesame Workshop, Scholastic, and Noggin. She was also a contributing writer/photographer for Toca Boca Magazine, exploring the power of play and creativity in childhood. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Time Out New York, PIX11, PBS Parents, and Scary Mommy. Kleinman holds an M.A. in educational psychology from New York University and a B.S. in theater management from Emerson College.

Lara Weinberg is the co-producer and editorial director of Stoop Stories. She is a pun-loving wordsmith and communications consultant with eclectic experience in entertainment, marketing, and media. Born and bred in New York City, Weinberg studied literature and rhetoric at SUNY-Binghamton and went on to associate produce “The Writing Code”a critically acclaimed, three-part PBS series on the origin, history, and art of writing. She is the former managing director of MGTN, a nonprofit leadership and career transition organization, and was the director of sales and business development for ShadowTV. In May 2020, despite being stoop-less in the city, this ground-floor apartment dweller was enlisted to create content for and co-produce Stoop Stories. Channeling her COVID-19 blues into heartfelt storytelling, Weinberg is proud to edit prose, contribute original pieces, and craft stories that honor her fellow New Yorkers.The stoops of New York City have always been the place to meet up, catch up, and build community. During lockdown, our stoops became our sanity and our solidarity. We gathered there to bang pots for essential workers, to socialize from a safe distance, to dine al fresco, and to work and learn remotely. Some days, our stoops were our only connection to the outside world.

Stoop Stories is a documentary storytelling platform born in Brooklyn at the height of COVID-19. Our mission is to connect, support, and celebrate our New York City neighbors—especially those hardest hit by the pandemic and systemic inequities. Our project honors fellow natives and offers outsiders an authentic and unique slice of NYC life.

We see connection and collaboration as an antidote to isolation and a catalyst for change. Stoop Stories is evolving into a participatory, community project that empowers individuals to have full agency over their own stories. We are excited to collaborate with New Yorkers and build out our network of guest photographers, artists, and storytellers to produce innovative, community-created content that helps reinvigorate the city. There are so many more New York stories to tell!

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