On Thursday, May 9, the Uni deployed to a playground adjacent to MS 223 and Clark Junior High School in the South Bronx (Third Ave and E144th St). We chose a paved area just outside the playground where we could catch the eye of the students after school and also attract people waiting at the bus stop, or walking to The Hub, a major shopping and transit center nearby. The sidewalk location was also very much in the spirit of MS 223’s Community Reads Night, a weekly event designed to encourage everybody in the community to read, not only students.
The Uni was warmly welcomed and quickly drew a crowd. Patron numbers peaked at 4:30 pm, after kids leaving school had a chance to decompress in the playground first. One older girl told me, “I just read in school!” and she moved on down the street with her friends. But many more stayed with us and read. One man told me, “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 next week. 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. Photos below, captions by Sam.