People's LES News

We're Hiring!
Project Coordinator - Immigrant Stories

To more fully represent the experiences of immigrant residents, we are working to expand contributions by immigrant groups, record seniors stories, and increase language access. We are looking for a bilingual or multilingual Project Coordinator (Spanish, Cantonese) to help us with archiving sessions, workshops, and recording interviews with seniors. The position would focus on capturing immigrant stories and helping make them available to the public via the People’s LES website. 10hr/wk, flexible.
Lower East Side Curriculum & Community Hero Stories
with Dipti Desai, Jessica Hamlin and students at The Art, Education, and Community Practice
Program at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

This past Fall, graduate students in Jessica Hamlin's class created creative curriculum around themes of LES history which are relevant to ongoing community issues & students in Professor Dipti Desai's class interviewed LES Community Heroes. The community hero project, which will roll out this spring as we get excited for this year's awards on April 30th, allowed students to learn how to conduct an interview and create stories that not only shed light on the past and present, but more importantly what is possible in the future as the community heroes shared their experiences working to create social change.
Get Ready for Lower East Side History Month!
May 2019

Lower East Side History Month, now in its 6th year, is an annual celebration of the rich and diverse history of the Lower East Side.  Each year in May, Lower East Side cultural and community groups, small businesses and residents create a variety of public events, exhibits, tours, and learning opportunities. All events take place in the historical boundaries of the Lower East Side—which includes the East Village, Chinatown, Two Bridges and Loisaida. Key events include LES Community Hero Awards and LES Stories: Chalk the LES!

Winter Events

Neighborhood Trivia Night! 
Monday, February 11
The Grey Mare, 61 2nd Avenue
More Info

Gather around for some drinks, laughs, and friendly trivia competition, emceed by the colorful Jane Marx, a tour guide, educator, and performer. Covering arts, culture, and the geography between 14th Street and Houston Street, we'll be digging into Village trivia from the elevated train route, to the famous actress who was charged at the Jefferson Market Courthouse on 6th Avenue, to the origin of the "shag" haircut. Prove your knowledge of the Village and learn some fun new facts along the way. Hosted by The Village Alliance, The East Village Independent Merchants Association (EVIMA), the Neighborhood Preservation Center, GVSHP, and The Gray Mare.
Year of Abundance: A Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday, February 16
Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street
More Info

Abrons Arts Center, Wing on Wo’s W.O.W Project, and Yellow Jackets Collective bring in the “Year of the Pig” with a celebration for the Lower East Side community. Join them for live performances, art activities, karaoke, DJ sets and refreshments from local restaurants.
MOCA Audio History Saturdays: Record Your Past with Richard Cheu 
Saturday, February 2
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street
More Info

MOCA invites you to share a 40-minute conversation to tell your personal story or family's history. Audio oral history recordings are yours to keep and we welcome all backgrounds to come share. Time slots are on a first-come basis until filled for that day.
第二十屆新春炮竹文藝大匯演  20th New Year Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival
Tuesday, February 5
Sara D Roosevelt Park at Grand Street
More Info

Unfriendly ghosts should steer clear of Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Feb 5 when Better Chinatown USA lights hundreds of thousands of firecrackers to welcome the Year of the Pig and ward off evil spirits. In addition to the pyrotechnics, there are lion dances and decorations giveaways, plus craft vendors and food booths where you can get your fill of traditional delicacies.
denzel russell: how the Other 1/2 lived 
Through Thursday, February 28
Tuesday-Friday 10am-3pm  
St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, 333 Madison Street
More Info

denzel russell utilizes light as a language to interrogate the history of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church and its “slave galleries.” The installation reflects on marginalization in order to understand the lives of the 19th century Black New Yorkers who were relegated to the galleries, and calls for publics to approach these spaces with reverence and appreciation for the spirits who occupy them.
Free Citizenship Application Help Event
Monday, February 11 
Manny Cantor Center, 197 E Broadway 
More Info

An evening of free Citizenship Application Help at the Manny Cantor Center. Services will be available in English, Chinese, and Spanish, and assistance with the fee waiver or a reduced fee (if applicable) will also be provided. 

Sunday, February 17
Start at Mott Street & Canal Street
More Info

Parade route: Mott & Canal to Chatham Square to East Broadway towards the Manhattan Bridge, completing on Eldridge and Forsyth Streets towards Grand Street next to Sara D. Roosevelt Park.
Thunderbird American Indian Dancers in Concert
Friday, Feb 1 - Sunday, Feb 3
Fri & Sat 8pm, Sat & Sun 3pm
Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
More Info

Theater for the New City will present its 44th annual Thunderbird American Dancers Dance Concert and Pow Wow! The event has become a treasured New York tradition for celebrating our diversity by honoring the culture of our first Americans. A Pow-Wow is more than just a spectator event: it is a joyous reunion for native peoples nationwide and an opportunity for the non-Indian community to voyage into the philosophy and beauty of Native culture.  

Ways to Participate and Get Involved

Link your programming

A walking tour, a story circle, an exhibition... your organization may have something planned we don't know about but would love to promote on our calendar! Let us know if you think your programming ties in to our mission.


Add to The People's LES

Does your organization have a story, oral history project piece of writing, lesson plan or photo archive you'd like to share? Let's add it to

The People's LES is a year-round program which celebrates "a people’s history" of the Lower East Side, an extension of FABnyc and Downtown Art's work together establishing Lower East Side History Month which marks its sixth anniversary this May. Check the project out at
FABnyc's mission is to strengthen the cultural vitality of the Lower East Side. We implement this mission through a range of programs and collaborations with local cultural organizations, independent artists, community-based organizations and neighborhood nonprofits. We work as cultural producers, facilitators, and organizers with an ongoing interest in how arts and culture can advance community health, inclusiveness, and equity.

Downtown Art has a history of working with young artists and community members to create performance, festivals, and other special events. Through our art and collaborations, we seek to build a community of engagement, creativity, and mutual support. We have been resident for more than two decades on East 4th Street in the East Village/Lower East Side. Now that we have opened a new cultural and community center on East 4th Street, we are broadening our mission to build programs which support equity and diversity in the arts, cultural organizing, community and civic engagement
Ryan Gilliam - Executive Director
Kim Golding - Dance Block Associate
Emilio Martinez Poppe - Programs Manager
KT Pe Benito - Dance Block Manager
Dakota Scott - Director of Special Projects, Project Manager for The People's LES
Addison Vawters - Operations Manager
Board: Tomie Arai, Dipti Desai, Winston Estevez, Lee Ann Gullie, Molaundo Jones, Jasmina Sinanovic, Ela Troyano

Ryan Gilliam - Artistic/Executive Director
Antigona Gonzalez - Technical Director
Peter Hansen - Design and Construction Advisor
Michael Hickey - Music Director
Tina Orlandini - Web and Graphics Design
Dakota Scott - Associate Director
Board: Elena Feliciano, Kristin Giantris, Ryan Gilliam, Sam Greenhoe, Michael Hickey, Rosemary Quinn
FABnyc programs are supported in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support  of  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, New York City Small Business Services, City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin, Mellon Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Harkness Foundation, Con Edison, Association for Neighborhood Housing and Development, La Vida Feliz Foundation, the Beacon Group, and CNY Arts.
Downtown Art programs are supported in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support  of  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The NYU Community Fund, Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts / NY, the van Itallie Foundation, and the Joseph V. Melillo Charitable Fund.
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Fourth Arts Block · 61 East 4th Street · New York, NY 10003 · USA