May 2014 Named Inagural 'Lower East Side History' Month

May 2014 Named Inagural 'Lower East Side History' Month

This May, more than thirty Lower East Side-based cultural and community groups are collaborating to launch Lower East Side (LES) History Month, an annual celebration of the rich, diverse history of New York City's Lower East Side.

During May 2014, dozens of public events, exhibits, tours, and learning opportunities will take place at more than thirty sites, all within in the historical definition of the Lower East Side-which includes the East Village, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Alphabet City.

Conceived and launched by LES-based cultural and community groups, LES History Month aims to connect our present to our past, exploring how our history can inform and inspire our future.

Special kickoff activities will include a community picnic at Pier 42 with performances and activities for all ages on Sunday, May 4; and 'Chalk LES', an interactive project running from Friday May 2nd through Sunday May 4th, encouraging anyone and everyone to share memories and images of the Lower East Side on the city's pavements.

Following these two kickoff events, there will be dozens of ways to engage with the history of the LES. Sample events include:

  • 'THE NEWS,' an outdoors music-theater work performed by teens from Downtown Art at multiple sites in the LES, based on a dozen neighborhood newspaper articles from 1914.
  • Presentations by both Good Ole Lower East Side (GOLES) and the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on the history of activism in the Lower East Side.
  • Walking tours by the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, Lower East Side History Project, Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, and The Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
  • FABLES, a mural series produced by Fourth Arts Block, exploring the Lower East Side's living cultural heritage, rich history, and current issues in storytelling through public art.
  • Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant's Illyria/Loisaida, a modern language take on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, presented as theatrical and historical walking tour of the LES, led by characters from the play and featuring visits to local establishments and iconic locations.
  • Weekly Television and Livestream broadcasts of 28-minute biographies from the best of the The Lower East Side Biography Project.
  • Henry Street Street Settlement's block party to celebrate their founder, Lillian Wald's 147th birthday with food, a birthday cake contest, DJ, Zumba, and tours of Henry Street's historic headquarters.

A calendar of events, upcoming news and a list of participating groups will be available at the Lower East Side History Month website: Interested individuals and organizations are welcome to participate. Please send your inquiry at

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