Whenever I do a MoRUS garden tour I stop at Creative Little Garden on 520 E. 6th Street. Throughout the late 1990s, early 2000s, the garden was an organizing hub for the Lower East Side Collective. In the East Village since 1982, it was long the backyard of garden advocate Francoise Cachelin, who understood what was truly radical about a community garden and why they were threats to the established order, and who passed in October 2003. “Tout alors we all hate these stinking wars,” she helped us chant in protest against the rising wars, six decades after her struggles as part of the French resistance to the Nazis.
The beauty of the garden movement is all the people we come to know through the years, from Michael Shenker, to Aresh, to JK, LA Kauffman, Ariane B, and so many others. Images of all of them churn through my head as I walk through these tours.
We’re hard at work planning our next big event, and it’s one you won’t want to miss.
The Direct Action Fashion Show, which will take place on the evening of Saturday, February 9th, is timed to coincide with Fashion Week here in NYC. Our fashion show will celebrate how activists use costumes, puppets, and props to draw awareness to various environmental, social, and political issues and create positive, sustainable change.
Come see how spectacle can be used for the greater good rather than corporate gain. Explore fashion’s more radical potential! It’s going to be a hell of a good time. More details to follow as they develop. We’ll keep you posted here, and on Twitter and Facebook.
And…just between us? We know that somewhere in the back of your mind, you’ve always harbored the sneaking suspicion that you’d make an excellent protest-fashion model. It’s okay. You can admit it. We’re all friends here. Now is your chance. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be a model in the show or help out in some other way. Remember, we’re entirely volunteer-run. We would love to have your help!
MoRUS sits down with Matt Rosen, The Man Behind the Twitter Accounts
MoRUS had the opportunity to sit down with the man behind Ray Alvarez and Jim Power’s Twitter accounts. Here’s what we learned:
When asked what inspired this project, Matt Rosen told us that he began it with Ray Alvarez. Rosen grew up in the neighborhood, living not too far from Ray’s Candy Store, which was established in 1974. A store that has been around that long is undoubtedly famous among local residents and more so because of Ray Alvarez’s geniality toward these residents and the hard work he puts into his business. It is no surprise that the whole neighborhood rushed out to help Ray raise money when he started struggling to pay his rent. It was around this time that Matt Rosen decided to take on the task of marketing for Ray in order to help his business flourish.
With Jim Power, Rosen suggested that, like Ray, time and age slowly drove him off the grid (though anyone in the East Village will acknowledge Jim’s unceasing drive to beautify the community with his radical street art). As with Ray, Matt’s marketing for Jim was aimed at promoting someone who had given so much to the community, getting his name out there and acknowledging his relentless efforts. Rosen wanted to appreciate these legendary individuals and help them realize their potential.
Rosen continued to describe some of the difficulties he encountered with this volunteerism and how social media affected these individuals. Age was one of the main factors. With Ray, Rosen told us that a lot of his prices had not changed for many years. He needed to realize that is was OK to increase some of his prices in order to make ends meet. Communication with Jim was also – and has continued be – difficult at times because of Jim’s physical impairments.
Rosen said that his early expectations to encounter some of these difficulties allowed him to fully dive into the task and see the project through. He also added that once he had put in a lot of time and effort into helping these men he did not see any point in going back.
The positive effects of Rosen’s projects have also kept him going. Ray’s business has taken off due to the increased marketing, and last year his business was more successful than ever before. More young people are also frequenting the store these days and Jim has been featured in the New York Post and received a grant, something that never happened to him before.
It’s finally all happening! Construction started in the storefront on Monday this week. The crew opened a hole in the floor for a staircase and began building walls in the basement. We’re now planning the basement’s lighting and discussing possibilities for a small film viewing room. On that note, has anybody ever seen this great flick? http://vimeo.com/4762815 It’s a fantastic documentary about squatting in the East Village. We’ll definitely be screening it at the museum soon.
So many things are happening every day. We are getting keys to gardens, speaking with local photographers about printing their incredible pictures, getting closer to making our mosaic storefront sign… please give us a shout at email@example.com to learn more updates and find out how you can get involved in helping to launch this amazing project. And for all you prospective visitors, we should be open and running regular tours in about a month and a half!
Here’s some cool video of MoRUS and Time’s Up! volunteers helping out at La Plaza Cultural community garden today:
Inquiries: (973) 818-8495 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space volunteers have the opportunity to learn about the workings of a history museum and contribute valuable services to a nonprofit organization. We accept applications at all times, and keep those applicants we don’t contact immediately on a waiting list, to be reconsidered when more volunteer positions become available in the future. Please check the volunteering page of our Website for details. Help preserve history and change the world!