Uni returns to Ozone Park and creates evening reading room

Uni Ozone ParkOn Thursday, August 7, we returned to a plaza that straddles the border of Queens and Brooklyn to create an evening reading room with the Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services Corporation. We augmented our collection with Bengali children’s books curated by Kelley Hanahan from Queens Library at Ozone Park.

Our benches filled right up as families gathered. Several kids volunteered to wear a lanyard and help out, speaking Bengali and English, straightening our shelves, and showing other kids how to use the microscope. Parents told us how much they want books because the nearest library branches are far to walk. Civic leaders told us that free public events are rare in Ozone Park, and we quickly drew a crowd of curious onlookers.

As the sun set, the Uni seemed at home, sitting in the heart of this diverse crowd, silently offering up books. On older man ran his hand along the double-curved side panel, examining a subtle but extraordinary feature of the cart that many ignore. As we folded up the cart, I told him we were headed to the Bronx. He nodded and gave the closed Uni a little pat on top. Onward.

Thanks to new volunteer, Phillip Soler. Our participation was made possible by funds granted by the Charles H. Revson Foundation through the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

Uni Ozone Park

An well-organized truck is our secret sauce.

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

A shelf curated by our partner Queens Library.

A shelf curated by our partner Queens Library.

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Leslie demonstrates a 3D book

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

This boy wanted to show us a superhero character he was drawing:”Fly Guy.”

Uni Ozone Park

Learning how to create a rubbing from a leaf.

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Leslie asked what these two were reading—they were actually collaborating on a graphic novel and shared a draft.

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

This man liked “Bengali Harlem,” a title we recently added to the Uni.

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Raffle time—Leslie was asked to pull the numbers out of the basket.

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

With Misba Abdin, one of our hosts.

Uni Ozone Park

Uni Ozone Park

Thanks Ozone Park. We’ll be back in September!

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