The Uni is home

The Uni arrived in New York tonight. It is now staged a block away from the New Amsterdam Market where it will be put into service for the first time tomorrow on Sep. 11 from 11AM-4PM.

On the ride downtown tonight, at the third and final NYPD checkpoint, I hoisted the roll-up door on the Penske to reveal again the columns of shelves, books, bright yellow cones, and a Yoko Ono Wish Tree. One of the officers, flashlight held at his head said, “Sarge, come take a look at this one.”

They were silent as I answered the very same questions I’ve been answering for over a year, “what is it? a kind of portable reading room, books and learning things, for kids but yeah for adults too. It can go outside.” I was really tired at this point and rambling.

More silence and poking at the yellow benches. I waited. The sky was illuminated with two familiar beams of light, so close now, they merged in the clouds above.

“You’re doing this book room tomorrow morning?” His light hit on a open box of children’s picture books. “And kids can come?”

“Yes, anyone in the neighborhood really, if they want.”

“Well, that’s decent. Good luck. Carry on. LET HIM THROUGH!”

Driving the last few blocks on completely deserted streets where I once lived, I felt something welling up in me, and not just exhaustion.

We don’t say it so much, but I think, to Leslie and me, the Uni is a project ten years in the making, as of tomorrow morning.

However you choose to spend tomorrow, for whatever reason and in whatever memory, make it meaningful. That’s about the best anyone can do with the days we have.

Uni night before

6 Responses to The Uni is home

  1. Ehschmidt September 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Inspiring post, Sam! Eric, Silver, Asher and I will be there
    this afternoon. Thank you for giving us the perfect
    outing for this day.

  2. papu September 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    And something wells up in me as well. You know the proud source.
    PBD

  3. LD September 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    And I too am welling up at the books-not-bombs image. Proud of your vision, wish I could be there.

  4. Ken Gordon September 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Welcome back. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day today, and with all of our children there, too. Glad we were together, now and then.

    Love you guys.

  5. Jared September 12, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    A truly lovely and stirring post, as befits this beautiful project. Thinking about the subtle power of bringing this project to lower Manhattan was how I chose to reflect on this day. Thank you for offering a better way—wish I could have been there to share the afternoon with you.

    JG

  6. Casey September 13, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    the guerrilla library has arrived.

The Uni is a project of Street Lab, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.