Uni deploys to empty lot in Queens to help envision new public space

Corona Plaza, 2012

Corona Plaza, 2013

A year ago, the Uni created an open air reading room on a strip of sidewalk at 104th St under the 7 train in Corona. Today, that same space is a NYC DOT pedestrian plaza that hosts cultural festivals (and the Uni) on a regular basis in partnership with Queens Museum.

This weekend, we created a reading room on a similar strip at 90th St under the 7. Could this space be a thriving plaza someday as well? We think this would be a great outcome for New York.

Uni 90th St

Thank you to our host the 82nd St Partnership and to new Uni volunteers Jennifer and Steve. This deployment reminded me of the early days of the Uni—lots of curious stares, questions, and smiles. It also reminded me why we do this work: the Uni can be a catalyst for inspiring readers, and it can also be a powerful tool for improving public space. We want the Uni to help make Elmhurst residents feel like their public space is safe, inviting, and world-class. And if that space begins to reflect shared values of education and learning, then things will really get interesting for New York.

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

82nd St Partnership held a visioning session, asking residents what they wanted from their public spaces.

90thst182

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

Solved!

Uni 90th St

Cheryl Tse and Seth Talyor of 82nd St Partnership with a relevant title from the Uni collection.

Uni 90th St

Leslie with Beatriz Gil of Hibridos Collective

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

(Photo by Cheryl Tse.)

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

Uni 90th St

For the record, I lost this chess game. But it had been a long weekend by that point. Thanks Elmhurst. we’ll be back!

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The Uni Project is the operating name (DBA) of Street Lab, a 501c3 nonprofit.