CAAAV: Take Back Chinatown Event

Take Back Chinatown! Community Education Event, 8/2

When: Sunday, August 2 from 2PM – 5PM

Where: Sara D. Roosevelt Park (Hester St. between Chrystie St. & Forsyth St.)


“Chinatown has lost 15,000 units of affordable housing in the last 10 years. This number is increasing every year, with thousands of units converted into luxury apartments, art galleries, and storefronts for artisanal coffee.

Join CAAAV on Sunday, August 2 for our Community Education Event in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Hester Street. We will engage the community on efforts to take back Chinatown, to make affordable housing truly affordable. Activities include a community speak-out from the residents themselves, an interactive map of Chinatown, trivia on Chinatown’s history of activism, and a gentrification tour!”take back chinatown community education event 7.31.15

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Job Expo Tomorrow Night

Job Expo Thursday Night July 30th at 4pm – 7pm

80 Pitt Street

Entrance on Rivington

From GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) website:

Job Training Expo (Lower East Side Employment Network)

When: Thu. July 30, 4pm – 7pm
Where: 80 Pitt St, New York, NY 10002, USA (map)
Description: Jump star your career on the Lower East Side. Connect with training and employment opportunities in building maintenance, construction, healthcare, retail, hospitality/hotels and other industries.

LES Employment Network

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FABnyc Load out


Load OUT!

Bi-annual Reuse & Repurposing Riot

Saturday, September 12th
11 E. 3rd Street
11 am – 2 pm

Helping artists recycle since 2011 

Join FABnyc for their 9th Load OUT! event! All arts and cultural groups, non-profits, and community members are invited to donate sets, costumes, props and office equipment they no longer need, to be made available to other artists & students.

Admission: FREE for artists, students, or with usable pairs of shoes. $5 for general public.

They will be collecting your gently used materials (including, clothing, props, costumes, vintage lunch boxes, etc.) on Friday, September 11th BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. For larger donations, please contact Anna Adler at to schedule a drop-off time.

They will also be taking smaller donations on September 12th between 10 am and 11 am. For more information!


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Chair of NYC Council parks committee wants Trump contracts terminated

Donald Trump is the owner of four concessions in New York City parks-including both ice rinks in Central Park and a high-end golf course in the Bronx.  The chair of the City Council Parks Committee Mark Levine said:

“Our parks are public spaces where everyone should feel welcome and an association with Mr. Trump directly contradicts this spirit.”

“Trump’s racist remarks about Mexicans and immigrants were outrageous … and he ignores the facts: evidence shows that there’s no correlation between immigrants and violent crime...

Our parks are for everyone. Trump’s continued ownership of parks concessions runs directly contrary to that spirit. Sign our petition to add your name to those demanding that our city immediately end its association with Trump’s businesses.”

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Citizen’s for NYC brings Ralph Lauren volunteers to the Garden

It was a very dramatic shift in the M’Finda Kalunga Garden after volunteers from Ralph Lauren came to add their weight to the Garden’s extensive  history of stewarding this beautiful oasis.

We are very thankful to the individuals who came with their hands, hearts and minds ready to help out. Each person was a gem.

And many thanks to M’Finda Kalunga Gardener’s Larry and Steve who helped K supervise for the Garden.

Some before photos:


And some during and after photos:


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And some good news re: stopping privatization of public lands and parks

The State Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court ruled that Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in Queens could not be sold off for a mall…yet.

Because it is parkland, the Court ruled last week that it ” could not be taken as a development site  for a one-million-square-foot shopping mall simply because the administration of former Mayor… Bloomberg said it could.

The court’s decision brings a halt — at least temporarily — to what has seemed like the relentless commercial appropriation of public land in New York City, often under the rationale that private profit is the only way the people can have nice things.”

See full NYTimes article:

De Blasio’s Dilemma: Fight for a Mall Near Citi Field or Disavow It

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Driving Out Manhattan’s Only Riding Facility for poor children?

Hi all,

Please read about this issue re: the NY Riding Academy which is operated free of charge for all children but particularly available to give an opportunity to the children of limited financial means in Harlem and East Harlem. Dr. Blair is African American retiree who cleared this area thirty years ago and operates this out of his own pocket- but is apparently being pushed out to make way for a playground and bike station on Randall’s Island.

Could DNAinfo have gotten it wrong (article below)…?

Because I cannot imagine in this first year of the UN’s Decade for People of African Descent and given all that has been in the news vis a vis the outright targeting of African Heritage children that this lovely gift to all children, but in particular to African Heritage children, would be targeted for removal.

Most children do not have homes in the country where horseback riding nearby is an option, don’t have the money to take lessons in private stables. Why destroy the chance for any child to have this unique experience – especially, especially when it costs the city nothing? Especially when the person driving this for 30 years has been a  powerful role model of generosity and caring for all communities. Especially when it serves a children who are struggling against the odds.

Feel free to write to Parks Department expressing your views – I’m still holding out that this must be an error in reporting. 


Baladine's B'day Ponyrides 2004 - 6Pony rides in SDR Park (long ago!)

“Dr. Blair was furious that the Parks Department would take over land used to provide free services to children in order to store bike rentals that local children can’t afford and the park profits from, he said.”

from the article (see website for full story)

By Gustavo Solis | July 9, 2015 8:31am @journogoose

RANDALLS ISLAND — The man who created Harlem’s Black Rodeo is squaring off against the Parks Department in a land dispute that may shut down Manhattan’s only horseback riding facility. Dr. George Blair, 83, who started the New York Riding Academy in 1988, claims he is being pushed out of his stables on Randall’s Island by the Parks Department, which has appropriated part of the land he uses and plans to build a playground there. He has been allowed to use that land as part of a government agreement dating back to Gov. Mario Cuomo to promote horse riding in underserved communities and offer free lessons to kids from Harlem and East Harlem, Blair said.

“It was a complete dump,” he said, “There were cars, glass, trash, everything that you’d see in a junk yard. We agreed to clean the dump and turn it into a place where children for Harlem and East Harlem can learn to ride for free.”

It took him and his wife about five years and several hundred thousand dollars to clear the space just north of the 103rd Street footbridge and convert it into a stable. For the last 30 years he has kept up his end of the agreement with New York by offering free lessons to local children….

…Dr. Blair has been promoting horses since the 1970’s, when he organized the Black Rodeo on 150th Street and Seventh Avenue. The event inspired a documentary featuring Muhammad Ali and Black Rodeos across the country. Mayor Ed Koch called it “one of the two most outstanding outdoor events in New York City,” second only to the marathon, Sports Illustrated wrote in 1988.

In Randall’s Island they have Governor’s Ball, the FarmBorough Country Music Festival, and Frieze Art Fair. They also have a golf course and tennis centers that are not free to the public. Even the softball and soccer fields require a permit, he said.

“Most of these kids would probably never ride a horse,” Ann Blair said. “They would probably never see a horse this close again in their life.”

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DOE free summer meals for ALL children starts today in Sara Roosevelt Park

Free lunch for children up to 18 years old…Rivington playground entrance.

Download flyers from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s Office:


Summer Meals: The Summer Meals program provides free, healthy breakfast and lunch to all children—regardless of New York City residency—ages 18 and under at hundreds of locations around the City. Children do not need to register or show any kind of documentation or ID to enjoy a delicious meal. The Summer Meals program begins this Saturday, June 27, and will be available up until the first day of the 2015-16 school year.

Find a list of all Summer Meals locations by visiting, texting “NYCMEALS” to 877-877, or calling 311. You can also download a free SchoolFood Feed Your Mind App (for both Apple and Android phones), which provides locations for Summer Meals locations. Find the app by searching “Feed Your Mind” in the app store. Please note that Summer Meals locations are subject to change: new locations will be added through the summer, and others may be removed. Location information will be updated regularly.


Read MoreDOE free summer meals for ALL children starts today in Sara Roosevelt Park
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