On a breezy Saturday (4/13/13), the Uni deployed to the Rockaways in Queens, an area still recovering from Sandy. We set up a the reading room alongside the MoMA PS1 VW Dome as part of an afternoon coordinated by the Queens Museum of Art. This was our first outing of the season, and we were pushing the weather envelope and trying to create a warm spring day by force of will. And lo, the intrepid residents of the Rockaways were of the same mind—they came out, gathered with us, read books, even as a crew was demolishing the remnants of the boardwalk across the street. Thanks to all who came, and to Uni volunteers Leigh, Emily, Pascale, and Malcolm who made it happen.
There will be many sunny days to come in the Rockaways, and the Uni hopes to return soon. We’re thinking about how the Uni could be deployed on sand…
Uni deployed directly from the Queens Musuem where we’re currently on exhibit.
Uni base plate lands. After consulting with local weather experts, we decide to go for it and set up outside the dome to help draw in more passersby.
Puzzle solved! She asked: “can you take a picture?” Pride. Yes.
MoMA and MoMA PS1 donated a wonderful cube of new books to the Uni. These will travel with us across New York in the years ahead. Cheers MoMA.
Photo: Emily Jacobson.
Solved! I see a trend here. Justin asked for a “harder puzzle” to try next. There we go.
Volunteers Leigh and Emily made it happen today. Thanks!
Photo: Emily Jacobson.
I’ve noticed that kids walk around the Uni, touching it, just like this. Works for me.
We are on a roll, pass it on. Soved!
What’s odd? A library on the street? Two surfers in full wet suits on the sidewalk? In the Rockaways, neither.
When the Uni is closing up, there’s always a couple patrons who don’t head for the exits. Perfect.
New Uni benches debuted in Rockaways. Stackable, they take 1/5 as much space to store and lift with one hand.
I need to move those bins. OK, never mind. Keep on.
Uni volunteers go anywhere for books and learning. Thanks Pascale, Leigh, and Emily. Also Malcolm (not shown, loading truck).
Here’s a time-lapse of our strike at the end of the day, interrupted first by a little girl named Josephine and then by a member of the clean-up crew who picked up our camera to take it to lost and found!
We're getting a "new" name... Street Lab.
The Uni Project is the work of Street Lab, a nonprofit launched in 2006 in Boston, where we created community-oriented programs for public space. In 2011, we migrated Street Lab to New York City and launched the Uni Project. The Uni began as a single, portable reading room and has since grown into a city-wide initiative offering more than 600 days of pop-up programming in 150+ public spaces across the city. In 2019, we are re-introducing our original name Street Lab to tie all this work together going forward, with much more to come.
For now, details about our programs are available here on the Uni Project web site. Soon, that content will move to www.streetlab.org. Thanks for sticking with us!