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Building Publics 2022: 34th Ave Story Circle: Reflecting on the Past and Future of Urban Streets

Public Humanities, Building Publics

dateMay 4, 2022 timeWednesday, 12:00pm EDT location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
34th Ave Open Streets volunteer in hi-vis vest speaking to a crowd

Building Publics showcases how our Public Humanities Graduate Fellows bridge humanistic thinking with civic engagement and social justice, scholarly research with public building and communication in order to unleash new, more critical modes of scholarly imaginations.


Bridget Bartolini, Public Humanities Fellow and MA Candidate in Oral History

Jim Burke, Co-Founder, 34th Ave Open Streets Coalition

Esthi Zipori, PhD Candidate, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Join us for a participatory workshop centered on urban streets and oral history. Public Humanities Fellow Bridget Bartolini's project 34th Avenue Oral History is documenting the 34th Avenue Open Street in Jackson Heights, Queens. Each morning, a 1.3-mile stretch of the avenue closes to vehicular traffic, allowing local residents to jog, stroll, ride bikes, socialize, and in some cases sustain their livelihoods. While it has been praised as the gold standard of the citywide Open Streets program, 34th Avenue is also the site of a battle over the future of city streets. Bridget will present 34th Avenue Oral History, and project participants Jim Burke and Esthi Zipori will speak on the history and future of urban streets and their activism around reimagining post-pandemic New York City. Attendees are invited to share their own experiences in a story circle workshop and join a facilitated discussion around city streets and street life.