Boogie on the Boulevard

Streets are the biggest public space in New York City. Nevertheless, these are mostly use for vehicular traffic.

Boogie on the Boulevard re-imagines how a street in this case, Grand Concourse in The Bronx, can be transformed into a different kind of public space for pedestrians, people on wheels, and community.  This project began as an artist project by Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and grew into something bigger.

Boogie on the Boulevard has been organized by a community advisory council comprise of grassroots community organizations, city agencies, artists, community members, including  the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, BronxWorks, BxArts Factory, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, among many others.

Photos by Lauren Click, Elizabeth Hamby, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín


Timeline

1909, Grand Concourse is inaugurated

The Grand Concourse was designed by the architect Louis Risse, modeled on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It was intended to provide a quick route from the increasingly developed Manhattan to the rural calm of the Bronx.


1991, Car Free Sundays on the Grand Concourse begins

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer introduces “Car-free Sundays on the Grand Concourse.” From May-November, the center lanes of the entire four-mile stretch of the roadway were closed to cars every Sunday. Neighbors could bike, walk, skate, and spend time together using the roadway as a paved park.


1996, Car free Sundays shut down by NYC Mayor

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani insists that the organizers of Car-free Sundays apply for permits to hold the event, and then rejects their application. Political observers suggest the event was cancelled due to enmity between the Mayor and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a potential mayoral challenger. But the Citizens To Restore Concourse Car-Free Sundays, who sent hundreds of postcards to the Mayor, hope Giuliani will see the favorite Sunday institution not simply as a Fernando Ferrer project, but as a major boost to quality of life that Bronx residents support, need and enjoy.


2006, Car Free Sunday on the Grand Concourse by Transportation Alternatives

Transportation Alternatives and a group of neighborhood residents worked together to bring back Car-Free Sundays on a trial basis.

Street films Car free Sundays on the Grand Concourse article


2012, Boogie Down Rides

Boogie Down Rides was established by artists Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín  a bicycling and art project.

Boogie Down Rides is a celebration of bicycling in the Bronx. It includes educational events, community visioning sessions and group rides.

Boogie Down Rides firmly believes in the power of bicycling as a way to promote active transportation, recreation, and exercise. We support and build bridges of existing efforts to expand safe cycling while connecting communities and people in the process.

This project is organized by meta local collaborative, an initiative by artists Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, and includes a broad coalition of individuals and organizations. 

This project started as part of the exhibition This Side of Paradise, presented by No Longer Empty


2012, Campaign to reinstate Car Free Sundays on the Grand Concourse begins

As part of Boogie Down Rides project the artists organized a community advisory group including community members, local activists, city agencies, non profit organizations. Discussions lead to the idea to reinstate Car Free Sundays on the Grand Concourse and a campaign started supported by Transportation Alternatives.

Boogie on the Boulevard Coalition LetterDownload


2014, First Boogie on the Boulevard

2014- Boogie on the Boulevard brought back Car-Free Sundays to the Concourse for three Sundays in August. More than 2,500 people came out to celebrate the street as public space.


Boogie on the Boulevard continues…


(how to) make friends, make a scene, make things happen, and fall in love with your neighborhood

(how to) make friends, make a scene, make things happen, and fall in love with your neighborhood is based on Meta Local’s ongoing project, Boogie Down Rides. Participants are invited to consider the act of riding a bike as a form of performance and community-engaged action.

Download PDF

 

This is part of Meta Local Collaborative’s contribution to Christine Wong Yap’s Make Things Happen Project

 

 

Elizabeth Hamby, Performing Public Space

First published at Performing Public Space

Elizabeth Hamby is an artist and an educator working between the studio, the classroom, and the city. She is a member of Meta Local, an art collective that investigates the dynamics of urban space, and is one of the founders of Boogie Down Rides, a bicycling and art project in the Bronx. Recent projects include Urban Layers, a web-based collaborative platform for urban writing, mapping and media; Process and Progress: Drew Manahan, Meta Local Collaborative, and the Bronx River Alliance, at the Bronx River Art Center; and Mind the Gap-La Brecha as part of the Create Change Artist Residency at the Laundromat Project. Ms. Hamby is currently participating in the Artists as Arts Workers Residency program at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, as well as an unofficial residency at the Museum of the City of New York, where she coordinates the Neighborhood Explorers afterschool program. Elizabeth Hamby holds a BA in Cultural Studies and Philosophy from Eugene Lang College and a BFA in Fine Art from Parsons School of Design. She lives and works in the Bronx.

Street CARTographies

[vimeo 29644855]

“Maps are about relationships among which meanings circulate.”

Denis Wood, Rethinking the Power of Maps

More than half of the world’s population are classified as “urban dwellers,” but their experience is hardly unified. For example, drastic socio-economic disparity and unequal access to resources occur in startling proximity in dense urban areas. Further, the city itself is richly woven with public and private spaces constructed through the collective action of individual citizens. Using a street cart as a vehicle for exploration and dialogue, Street CARTographies will travel across a city, exploring the relationships between people from diverse neighborhoods and communities.

This multi-day participatory urban intervention visits plazas and other public gathering places throughout the city. The cart unfolds to serve as a base for a community map and visitors to the plaza are invited to pin locations in a city that are important to them. Participants  are given a balloon corresponding to the color of the pin, printed with the text, “I am on the map” As they move through the plaza with their balloons, participants effectively turn the plaza itself into a map representing all of the places important to its’ inhabitants.

Following the intervention, the maps, accompanying documentation including photographs and videos, and the street cart itself is installed in an exhibition space in order to further the dialogue and include other participants.

Street CARTographies maps the relationships—both visible and invisible—that shape the meanings of the city for its inhabitants. These maps are not only containers for information but rather bridges between people, ideas and places. By visualizing the relationships at work in public spaces, this project articulates the construction of space in both geographical and human terms.

This project is a collaboration between Hatuey Ramos Fermín and Elizabeth Hamby we are artists and educators working together to investigate the dynamics of urban space; exploring the histories of buildings and neighborhoods, and tracing the flows of people, ideas and products. Combining documentary strategies with performance and fine art, their collaborative practice seeks to articulate concepts of origin, public-ness and private-ness, and the sense of place.

Mind the Gap / La Brecha

Mind the Gap/La Brecha is a temporary art and education hub located at the Blue and White Laundromat on 140st Street in the Bronx. From July-October, 2012, Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín worked with their neighbors to propose new ways of connecting the community to green space along the waterfront within the South Bronx and Randall’s Island. By mapping the relationships–both visible and invisible–that shape the issues affecting our community, Mind the Gap/La Brecha built connections between people and place, bringing new voices to the conversation around the future of our neighborhood–all in the time of a spin cycle.This project was developed in and commissioned by The Laundromat Project’s Create Change Public Artist Residency Program.

 

 

 

For more information visit: here, and  here.

Boogie Down Rides

Boogie Down Rides is a bicycling and art project.

Boogie Down Rides is a celebration of bicycling in the Bronx. It includes educational events, community visioning sessions and group rides.

Boogie Down Rides firmly believes in the power of bicycling as a way to promote active transportation, recreation, and exercise. We support and build bridges of existing efforts to expand safe cycling while connecting communities and people in the process.

This project is organized by meta local collaborative, an initiative by artists Elizabeth Hambyand Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, and includes a broad coalition of individuals and organizations.  Community partners include Bike the BronxBronx River AllianceVelo CityBronx Health REACHNew York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene,Partnership for Parks,  Transportation Alternatives, and New York City Department of Transportation.

This project started as part of the exhibition This Side of Paradise, presented by No Longer Empty.

Bicycling is art.

Boogie Down Rides on Facebook

 

 

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=109615

 

 

 

I.R.T.

For the exhibition, “This Side of Paradise” organized by No Longer Empty at the Andrew Freedman Home, Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín presented IRT, a multi-model installation and public engagement project exploring transportation issues in the Bronx. The project has a variety of interrelated components including a video installation about livery cabs in the Bronx (Transmit – Transit), maps, interviews, and neighborhood tours.

In collaboration with community-based organizations in the Bronx, the artists presented Boogie Down Rides, a month long cycling celebration and public education project. The project ran throughout the month of May and hosted a series of educational events, community visioning sessions and group rides. Visitors and community member learned about ongoing cycling projects in the Bronx including the development of greenways and bike paths. The project was also a place for community engagement and for members of the public to respond to these initiatives through surveys and participatory workshops. By creating a cycling project, Boogie Down Rides aimed to increase awareness of cycling as a mode of transportation and recreation, promote safe cycling and bridge existing efforts to expand cycling in the Bronx.