Community Event Seeks to “Knit Together Old and New” on Former SPURA Site


A new Trader Joe’s, Target and hundreds of new apartments (some luxury, some below-market rate) are the most obvious signs that the Lower East Side is undergoing dramatic change. But two community organizations are about to remind  us that long before Essex Crossing came along, there was SPURA — the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Imagining the LES: Creating Community is coming up Saturday, Nov. 3. Here’s more from the organizers, the Seward Park Area Redevelopment Coalition (SPARC) and Below the Grid lab:

On Saturday, November 3rd from 2:00 to 5:00pm, SPARC and Below the Grid Lab will host Imagining the LES: Creating Community, a day of activities to celebrate the past, present, and future of the SPURA community (now officially renamed Essex Crossing). Fifty (50) years ago a vibrant community of multi-racial/ethnic residents and the tenement buildings they inhabited was destroyed by Urban Renewal. Now a new community of mixed income buildings–including 500 affordable apartments–is rising from these empty lots. Today’s event attempts to begin to knit together the old and new and imagine a strong vision of a more equitable and just neighborhood..

Imagining the LES: Creating Community, will take place on Saturday November 3rd from  2-5pm in the 4th floor Community Center of the Frances Goldin Senior Building: entrance to the event is through the GrandLo Café at 168 Broome St. Suffolk St, between Grand St & Broome St. There will be food and music and activities to include: painting of banners, oral history interviews of residents, and performances from local arts groups. Neighborhood organizations will have tables announcing their programming. A survey will be distributed for attendees to voice their future neighborhood priorities and interests. We intend to bring together old and new residents to enjoy the activities, meet each other and engage in conversation: “How do we honor the past with a more just future?” “How do we bring together the old and the new?,” and “How do we imagine a truly equal city?”

This exciting and vibrant day is the official launch of the SPURA Living History Project, an initiative of SPARC and Below the Grid Lab to raise the profile of this complex history, inspire a new integrated present and future, and with it a new generation of activists and organizers who will carry the legacy of the Lower East Side into the next fifty years!

Here’s the Facebook invite.