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Festival of Ideas for the New City StreetFest

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Public Programs

Festival of Ideas for the New City StreetFest

May 7 2011

The Festival of Ideas for the New City StreetFest was a one-day event that took place as part of the Festival of Ideas for the New City. An innovative, minimal-waste, outdoor festival, the StreetFest took place along the Bowery adjacent to the New Museum with branches on Stanton and Rivington Streets, and the north end of the Sarah D. Roosevelt Park, between Houston and Rivington, Chrystie and Forsyth Streets. Of paramount importance was the creation of a new model for street fairs, including an innovative footprint working with underused urban spaces, artist-and-architect-designed street tenting, urban-themed educational activities, interactive visitor experiences—all with minimal environmental impact. 

The 115 exhibitors and vendors offered an enormous range of experiences including valet bicycle parking, rooftop gardening classes, oral history projects, a zero-waste garbage center, an indigenous seed library, a portable campground, innovative playground demonstrations, and sustainable, locally grown food options, cooking demonstrations by urban farmers, as well as homebuyer and foreclosure- prevention training. Architecturally-innovative interventions included environmentally-inspired tenting modules to house many
of the displays, new tenting modules for urban camping, and an inflatable meeting place for community organizations. Some
highlights include artist Anne Apparu’s invitation to children to
select, prepare, and feast on local ingredients and share their experiences on film in “There Are No Recipes,” and Cabinet Magazine’s University-on-the-Bowery where visitors were able to engage in one-on-one conversations with leading scholars about their field of expertise. The Lower East Side / Chinatown Biking Coalition hosted a bike tour led by local youth, highlighting the resilience and struggle of the longtime community by visiting historical sites, and the MoS
Collective created personalized maps connecting visitors to neighbors who provide healthy self-care, local goods and services, as well as environmental stewardship. Between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., the StreetFest drew 43,000 attendees.