More on the “Festival of Ideas for the New City”

Posted on: April 1st, 2011 at 12:59 pm by

Bowery Boogie correspondent Andrew Cohen attended the official briefing of the Festival yesterday, and filed the following report.

Downtown Manhattan will be home to the first ever Festival of Ideas for the New City.  The five-day inaugural festival will take place from May4th-8th in sites around Downtown Manhattan, from the Lower East Side and Chinatown to Soho and the East Village.  There will be something for everyone at these locations.

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The idea for this festival commenced three years ago by the New Museum on the Bowery, because of its ongoing commitment to public education and civic outreach.  The eleven organizing partners of the festival include The Architectural League, Bowery Poetry Club, C-Lab/Columbia University, Center for Architecture, The Cooper Union, The Drawing Center, New Museum (Founding Partner), NYU Wagner, PARC Foundation, Storefront for Art and Architecture and the Swiss Institute.

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The Festival of Ideas for the New City will focus on three central programs.  The first is three days of symposia, lectures and workshops.  This program will include everybody from visionaries and leaders to mayors and architects.  Some mayors scheduled to be on hand include the mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter and John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania.  Mayor Fetterman has gained national recognition for helping transform a rust-belt town just outside of Pittsburgh into a vibrant community.  These events will be held at The Cooper Union, New York University and The New Museum from Wednesday-Saturday May4-7.

The second program is a minimal-waste outdoor StreetFest that will take place along the Bowery.  More than seventy-five local grassroots organizations, small businesses and non-profit organizations will present model products and practices.  Cooking demonstrations and bike tours will be held.   A variety of local food options will be available.  This event will take place on Saturday May 7th from 11am-7pm, rain or shine.

And the third program is a mixture of projects, exhibitions and performances at different downtown venues.   Some projects include a solar powered mobile art studio, projections of poems in different languages on Lower East Side buildings and a marathon event where architects will present their ideas about reconfiguring public space in a rapid fire format.   These events will open Saturday evening May 7th and Sunday May 8th.

Bob Holman of the Bowery Poetry Club says this festival will be unlike any New York street festival.  “You are going to walk the Bowery like you have never walked it before,” said Mr. Holman.  “It is not a street fair for tube socks and sandwiches.”

Organizers hope the festival will attract thousands of New Yorkers as well as tourists.

For more information on the event, check out the website here.

Check out additional coverage over at EV Grieve and Curbed.

Written by Andrew Cohen

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