Uni helps inaugurate plaza in one of city’s most diverse neighborhoods

On Saturday, the Uni created a reading room on the new Liberty Ave Plaza in Ozone Park. This summer, at the invitation of the Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services Corp (BACDYS), Leslie attended community meetings about pedestrianizing the area. We were privileged to see this process unfold, and honored to be included in the ribbon-cutting for this remarkable new public space in New York City.

The word “diverse” gets tossed around, and it doesn’t quite do justice to the intense mix of cultures, religions, races, and ways of life in this neighborhood on the border of Queens and Brooklyn. The new plaza will draw the community together. As Leslie said in her remarks, plazas are more than physical spaces, they are symbolic centers. They are places where residents can express shared values, like a love of reading and education.

Thanks to Misba Abdin of BACDYS, and Emily Weidenhof, NYC DOT Plaza Program Director. Also thanks to Uni Volunteers Juhi and Amit. As I told several residents, this place reminds me why I love working in New York City. We’ll be back.

Uni Ozone

Within minutes of landing on the plaza, residents immediately talked about the symbolic significance of putting reading and learning at the center of the community. We were speaking the same language.

Uni Ozone

Uni Ozone

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Uni Ozone

Several kids told us that they could read one of our board books in Arabic. Pride.

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Uni Ozone

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Uni Ozone

Uni Ozone

Teamwork.

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Solved!

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Uni Ozone

Uni Ozone

Uni Ozone

As the crowd dispersed, discussion turned to how soon we could return. Stay tuned. Thank you Ozone Park.

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