2014-02-21 / Letters

Your Stories Sought

Dear Rockaway,

Perhaps we’ve already met? I am one of six designers who, over the last five months, has been consulting with local community leaders to explore ways in which expertise in visual communications might contribute to making Rockaway more connected (both literally and figuratively).

As part of a larger initiative by AIGA/NY that is funded by ArtPlace, my group is one of three “Design /Relief” teams assembled, each working within a waterfront community in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, to strengthen recovery efforts and restore vibrancy in Rockaway, Red Hook and South Street Seaport neighborhoods.

Our team —”TeamRock” as I like to say — found common ground among Rockaway’s community organizations in their desire for greater connectivity across the peninsula, especially in times of crisis. In response to this demand for social resiliency, TeamRock partnered with The Wave to develop “Dear Rockaway,” a guerrilla-style campaign based on an oral history process that aims to reconnect neighbors and, from Far Rock to Breezy, and deepen their sense of place and belonging.

Over the next few months, we will be working closely with neighborhood ambassadors to conduct interviews and to create a living archive for Rockaway’s evolving history. It is our hope that by gathering and making visible individual accounts of life on the Rock, a collective identity will naturally blossom and continue to grow. We consider a successful project to be one that broadens the discussion and possibilities for Rockaway’s future while, in the meantime, facilitating meaningful interactions between locals within public spaces.

Interviews are scheduled to begin Friday, February 21st and will be held on the first floor of The Wave at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, from 2-4 p.m. with additional dates and locations to follow.

TeamRock wishes to thank those who have already shared with us their thoughts and welcomed us into town. And, to those whom we have yet to meet, we look forward to getting acquainted as “Dear Rockaway,” gets underway.

Stay tuned!

CAROLYN LOUTH, AIGA/NY

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