Wed, May 29: Clement Clarke Moore Park, Chelsea, Manhattan, 2pm-7pm.
The Uni will add books and learning to this historic, well-loved park in the heart of West Chelsea. This deployment of the Uni has been planned in partnership with students at the nearby Avenues: The World School, and it will involve the participation of many other Chelsea organizations and institutions, including nearby PS 11, the Guardian Angel School, Hudson Guild, and the High Line. (Map.)
Thu, May 30: 1117 Eastern Parkway near corner of Utica Avenue, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, 11am – 5pm, hosted by Banco Popular.
The Uni will go to this busy crossroads in front of Banco Popular in Crown Heights to add books and learning to the landscape. Our partners in this location are Banco Popular and the nearby St. John’s Place Family Center, a family residence with day care, infant care, and other services developed in 1990 by the Settlement Housing Fund as an alternative to welfare hotels. St. John’s place will visit the Uni with kids from their program, and also play host to kids from nearby PS 191. (Map.)
Sat, Jun 1: Penn South Playground, between W25th and W26th St near 8th Avenue.
The Uni will go to this heavily used playground adjacent to the Penn South Cooperative houses.This is the second of two deployements planned in partnership with students at the nearby Avenues: The World School, and it will again involve the participation of many other Chelsea organizations and institutions that will have an opportunity to meet at the Uni. (Map.)
Thu, Jun 6: Outside the Boys and Girls High School, 1700 Fulton St @ Schenectady Av, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, 5pm-8:30pm.
The Uni will provide a place to sit, read, and learn at the Seventh Annual “Discover Your Neighborhood Resource and Safety Expo” organized by the Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth, Education and Safety Task Force. Last year a record 800 plus residents attended. With many organizations participating, there will also be a home-grown food court, a health pavilion, and a farmers’ market. This event is co-sponsored by a number of different organizations in Community Board 3, including the Bridge St Development Corporation. (Map.)
Sat, Jun 15: Corona Plaza, Corona, Queens, 12-5pm, with Queens Museum of Art.
The Uni will return to Corona Plaza, Queens, for the sixth time, to continue to have give books and learning presence in this important emerging community space. Take a look back at Corona deployments in May 2013, and summer 2012. (Map.)
Wed, July 10: The Hub, Roberto Clemente Plaza, South Bronx, Bronx, 2pm-7pm, hosted by the South Bronx Overall Economic Dev. Corp.
The Uni will land at this busy, temporary plaza right in the middle of The Hub of the South Bronx, to help carve out space for books and learning. This plaza is slated for further improvements from NYC DOT later this year. Starting in July, the plaza is home to a weekly farmers’ market run by youth of GrowNYC. (Map).
July – August: East Harlem, West Harlem, Mott Haven-Bronx
In July and August, the Uni will deploy six times in three different locations to support play streets run by the nonprofit organization Harvest Home, which also runs weekly farmers’ markets. In 2010, Harvest Home piloted play streets in partnership with the NYC Strategic Alliance for Health and Transportation Alternatives. The results were overwhelmingly positive (Report PDF, Flickr photos), and Harvest Home has continued the effort to provide areas for play and activity in conjunction with their markets. The Uni will add books and learning to the mix!
Tue Jul 23 + Tue Aug 13, 10am – 4pm, West Harlem, Manhattan. 137th St and Broadway.
Wed Jul 24 + Wed Aug 14, 10am – 4pm, Mott Haven, Bronx. Forest Ave b/w 156th St and Westchester Ave.
Thu Jul 25 + Thu Aug 15, 10am – 4pm, East Harlem, Manhattan. 104th St and 3rd Avenue.
Photos: Transportation Alternatives.
Look where we’ve been already in 2013…
May 11, 2013: Corona Plaza, Queens with Queens Museum of Art
The Uni returned to Corona Plaza, Queens, another plaza newly pedestrianized by NYC DOT. Our host was the amazing Queens Museum, which has been trailblazing in its energetic efforts to engage the community outside their walls and, years ago, identified Corona Plaza as an important community space with great potential. (Read more about the museum’s approach to community and efforts in Corona Plaza in this interview with QMA Director of Programs, Prerana Reddy.) A big thanks to our new volunteer, Xavier Williams, graduate student in the Theories of Urban Practice program at Parsons Design school.
This was our fifth deployment to Corona, and it’s a location where we’ve initiated partnerships with local institutions like the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Take a look back at Corona deployments from 2012 summer.
May 10, 2013: Putnam Triangle, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, with FAB Alliance.
The Uni deployed to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, in support of the Fulton Area Business Alliance’s “FAB Fridays.” Our location was Putnam Triangle Plaza, a newly pedestrianized plaza created by NYC DOT in partnership with local community groups. We had a lot of little kids out for the evening with their parents, kids waiting on their mothers having their hair done at the nearby beauty parlor, and other folks who lived on the surrounding streets. We were joined again by biologist Andrew Collins, who collected ants (and leaves) to look at under the microscope with kids. Thanks to FAB Alliance and volunteer librarians Meghan and Leigh for their help!
May 9, 2013: Clark Playground, South Bronx.
The Uni deployed to a playground adjacent to MS 223 and Clark Junior High School in the South Bronx (Third Ave and E144th St) in support of MS 223′s Community Reads Night, a weekly event designed to encourage everybody in the community to read. We chose a paved area just outside the playground where we could catch the eye of the students after school and also attract people on the busy street. The Uni was warmly welcomed and quickly drew a crowd. One man reported, “I’ve lived here 25 years and never have I seen anything like this. This is great.” We’re looking forward to returning to this neighborhood on 5/23/13. Thanks to volunteer librarian Emily, and to Literacy Coach Heather Burns and Principal Ramón Gonzales of MS 223, for spreading the word about the Uni in the community!
May 4, 2013: Uni at IDEAS CITY StreetFest, 11am-6pm.
The Uni deployed to a closed-off street on the Lower East Side on a lovely spring day as part of the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY StreetFest, a festival filled with all kinds of inspiring grassroots organizations and ideas for improving the city. In line with the festival’s theme of Untapped Capital, we did what we always do—used the Uni to enlist available street-level space in the effort to foster a stronger, more prominent culture of learning. See more photos.
April 13, 2013: MoMA PS1 VW Dome 2, Rockaways, Queens.
The Uni deployed to the Rockaways in Queens, an area still recovering from Sandy. We set up alongside the cool-looking temporary programming space set up by MoMA PS1, called the “VW Dome 2” as part of an afternoon coordinated by the Queens Museum of Art. The Uni ran from 2pm – 6pm in the parking lot between Beach 94th and Beach 95th streets, Rockaways, Queens (map). Read more here.
April 12, 2013: Fowler Square, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
The Uni will land at Fowler Square Plaza to support a recently pedestrianized plaza and help kick-off the season of “FAB Fridays,” a series of events organized by the Fulton Area Business Alliance. Along with the Uni, there will be arts, crafts, games, and themed activities for kids (4-6pm) and a concert (6-8pm). The Uni will run from 2:30pm – 7:30pm at Fulton St & Lafayette Ave (map). Fowler Square Plaza on Facebook. (Postponed-rain. New date coming soon!)
Photo: NYC DOT.
Feb – May, 2013: Uni at Queens Museum of Art.
The Uni is now on display right now in the Queens Museum of Art! We’ve deployed a mini-tower and benches as part of the exhibit Arte Útil Lab, giving a sample of what we offer on the street. Museum visitors are encouraged to sit down, browse the books, and read right there in the gallery. (See a fun time lapse of the gallery load-in and more photos.)
We’re honored to be partnering once again with QMA, our host at Corona Plaza in 2012.
Look back at 2012…
November 2012: Red Hook, Brooklyn.
The Uni went to Coffey Park in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to serve a waterfront community still struggling after Hurricane Sandy. We set up between FEMA and the food trucks, across the street from a mobile clinic. And we went in partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library—BPL staff did the advance work for our visit as part of their own efforts to serve Red Hook via their branches and bookmobiles. The hero of the day was Robert Berkman, a math educator who created a street math cube for the Uni—he came for the entire afternoon and dazzled us with math games. Thanks to Uni volunteer Leigh Hurwitz, Eleanor and Malcolm Davol, and some outstanding, local kids who donned librarian lanyards and helped strike the Uni in the evening. Photos here.
November 2012: Corona, Queens.
The Uni went back to Corona Plaza (4th time!) for a community storm relief event hosted by the Queens Museum of Art. We offered a place for folks to gather, read, and also donate books to those affected by the storm. Special thanks to Urban Librarians Unite for working on donations. Also thanks to José Serrano at QMA, Uni Volunteers Anna Robinson and Ken Gordon, installer Nelson DeJesus, and Eleanor and Malcolm Davol. Photos here.
(Fall 2012: Venice, Italy.)
The Uni was included in the U.S. Pavillion at the 13th Architectural Exhibition at the Venice Bienniale, Aug 29-Nov 25. Complete coverage Architect Magazine and Twitter.
October 2012: Corona, Queens.
We returned to Corona in October to keep putting books and learning at street level. This was a return visit for the Uni, and it helped continue the discussion about the future of this newly pedestrianized plaza right under the 7 train. We had to cut things short due to rain—thanks for coming out in the morning. Thanks to Uni Volunteer Librarian Leigh Hurwitz, the Queens Museum, and Alex Garcia. Special thanks to Eleanor and Malcolm Davol. Photos here.
September 2012: Hunters Point, Long Island City.
On Sept. 22 the Uni partnered with the Queens Library and a local Friends group announce a new library branch coming to Hunters Point, Long Island City. Hunters Point is an emerging neighborhood eager for places to gather around books and learning. We set up the Uni at Gantry State Park (Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue) right near the site of a future library branch that will have a view of the UN across the river. Thank you to Uni Volunteer Librarians Meghan Dowell, Leigh Hurwitz, Kelleen Maluski, and Gabriella Radujko.Thanks to Camille Barrett, Community Relations Manager of Queens Library, and all of the members of the Friends of the Hunters Point Library. It was great to see City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who dropped in as well. Special thanks to Malcolm Davol, Eleanor Davol, and Uni Installer Nelson DeJesus. See photos here.
August 2012: Corona, Queens.
Back in July, we squeezed a reading room onto a narrow strip of sidewalk alongside traffic and parked trucks at Corona Plaza. Here’s a guest post we wrote for the Queens Museum blog about the Plaza. In August, we returned as part of a community event coordinated by the Queens Museum. This time, we had room to spread our wings because the pedestrianization of the plaza was underway, and we joined other groups led by the Queens Museum of Art and the Queens Economic Development Council. Corona is a great place to show what can be done with books and learning once cars are removed from the picture. Thank you to Uni Librarians Stephanie Yee and Anna Robinson, and installer Nelson DeJesus. Thank you to our hosts, especially José Serrano at the Queens Museum. Photos here.
August 2012: Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The Uni came out on August 5th in Williamsburg on the dead end of Cook Street between Graham Ave and Humbolt Street. Our host was the Graham Avenue Business Improvement District, which is working to foster a farmers’ market and “play street” for local residents on the closed off street. Thank you Uni volunteers: Leigh Hurwitz, Kelleen Maluski, Meghan Dowell, Anna Robinson, Marilyn Kahn. Thank you installers: Evan Bender and Nelson DeJesus. Photos here.
July 2012: Corona, Queens.
The Uni went to Corona on July 29 and transformed a part of Corona Plaza near the 7 train’s 103rd St station into a reading room all day. We were invited here by the Queens Museum of Art to support the New York City Department of Transportation and other local organizations in transforming the area into a vibrant open space for residents as part of NYC DOT’s Plaza Program. Thank you to today’s special partners: Queens Library and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Thank you Uni volunteers: Allie Janvey, Meghan Dowell, Stephanie Yee, and Christine O’Heron. Thank you installers: Evan Bender and Nelson DeJesus. Photos here.
July 2012: East New York, Brooklyn.
The Uni went to market on Saturday, Jul 28 on Schenck Avenue between New Lots and Livonia Avenues. Our host was East New York Farms!, a project of United Community Centers which hosts a twice-weekly farmers’ market from Jun – Nov. Thank you Uni volunteer: Kelleen Maluski. Thank you installers: Evan Bender and Nelson DeJesus. Photos here.
June 2012: Waterfront at Boston Children’s Museum.
The newly-fabricated, second Uni was tested in public space on the Boston Waterfront before being shipped to Almaty Kazakhstan to create a roving library there. Photos here of the Uni with lighted cubes in front of the museum. Shortly after, it was packed up and shipped abroad to become the second ever Uni in operation in a collaboration between the US Consulate in Almaty and the Children’s Library of Almaty.
April 2012: Lower East Side, with Jumpstart.
The Uni came out on Saturday, April 28 at Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side in New York City. We were there as part of a kid-oriented “Read-A- Palooza” festival sponsored by the early education and literacy organization, Jumpstart. Lots of books to read and fun activities. Thanks Jumpstart! More photos here.
December 2011: Biblioball 2011!
The Uni went out on the town on Saturday, Dec. 3. Learn more about Biblioball here. This year’s event benefited Literacy for Incarcerated Teens. Librarians who brought a book for public space and donated it to the Uni received a complimentary raffle ticket.
September 2011: Brooklyn Book Festival, with Brooklyn Public Library.
On Sunday, the Brooklyn Public Library and The Uni Project joined together to create a children’s reading room on Borough Hall Plaza at the 2011 Brooklyn Book Festival. The Uni took on a new form, or forms actually. The Brooklyn Public Library added BPL books which could be browsed on-site and even checked out by BPL patrons.
September 2011: Seaport, Lower Manhattan.
The Uni was put into service for the first time on Sunday, Sep. 11 at the New Amsterdam Market on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Read more about our decision to launch a reading room at this location.
Here are examples of what we offered in the Uni when we launched on Sept. 11, 2011:
- a selection of children’s picture books,
- curated book cubes from 826NYC, New York Bound Books, Furnace Press, and others.
- a set of book cubes selected specifically for the location, focusing on themes suggested by Market founder Robert LaValva and others: urban waterfronts, markets, Lower Manhattan history, small business, and urban living.
YOKO ONO WISH TREE
Yoko Ono’s WISH TREE project began in 1981 and was inspired by her childhood memory of going to a temple in Japan where the trees were filled with people’s wishes written on pieces of paper and knotted around tree branches. The specific tree that appeared in the Uni on Sep. 11, 2011, was originally used for Ono’s retrospective exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in 2001. Visitors were invited to write a wish and attach it to the tree.
Artist and educator Deb Putnoi created an interactive exhibit called The Drawing Lab, which was installed across four Uni cubes. The exhibit provided an opportunity to draw, and it featured a working Zoetrope where visitors created their own hand-powered animation.
I AM A CAMERA—Flash Fiction Cube
A Uni activity cube created by Jared Green. Flash fiction is a very short story, usually no more than 1,000 words, that captures a little piece of life “in a flash.” Flash fiction can be funny, serious, sad, exciting, or anything else you want—but it has to be short. Visitors were invited to pick up a clipboard, walk around the market, and write.
DONATE A BOOK FOR PUBLIC SPACE
There was no ribbon cutting or ceremony to mark the launch of the Uni. Instead, we invited people to drop by the market and donate a favorite book for public space, which Uni Librarians shelved right then and there.
Thanks for joining us on the waterfront that Sunday.