Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Steph's Last Day! Again?

Today is officially my last day at Hester Street Collaborative, so I will sum up my experiences here. I discovered HSC through the Summer Youth Employment Program at CPC last summer. Alex, our supervisor, assigned us (the interns) three different projects: build a work table, find ways to improve the playground at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, and help reconstruct the P.S. 134 community garden. While doing such hard work on our projects, I learned how to use many tools in the workshop and some design programs on the computer. By the end of August 2006, we finished the table, gathered plenty of research/data on SDR Park, and began work on the garden. I had such a great time working at HSC that I wanted to come back during the school year as a volunteer.

In September, Jennifer and I came back to see Annie with some recruits. Our first project was to continue the research on SDR Park. We extended that research to other parks around the city, allowing us to compare them to SDR. Instead of doing boring data charts like we did that past summer, Fiona came up with the brilliant idea of filming the parks and creating a documentary. By the end of November, our project was complete and presented to the New York City Parks Department. That didn’t leave me feeling as accomplished as building a table, but it came very close.

During the next five months or so, we mastered the art of silk screening (thanks to Dylan) and made t-shirts to fundraise for the P.S. 134 garden. Using Winnie’s design of “cartoony” vegetables, we made over $300. When Spring came around, it was time to go back to work at the garden. There was a lot of cleaning up to do. Since then, the garden has taken an entirely new form. Some of the plant beds were rearranged; new plants were growing; and a new, bigger shed was built. (Actually, two new sheds were built since last summer, but a second one was built because we needed a bigger shed.)

At the beginning of this summer, new interns from SYEP and LaGuardia began working here. They learned how to silkscreen like pros in a matter of days! …Well, maybe weeks. They worked on the design camp and individual research projects (see previous posts). Now, everyone’s gone =(. This has been an awesome fourteen months at Hester Street Collaborative. I hope all the other interns had as great a time as I did, if not better. Enjoy the rest of the summer, everyone!

- Steph

Monday, August 20, 2007

Amanda's Research Project

In my research project, I connected three factors of the Chinatown community: history, social issues, and the usefulness of open spaces. I did this by internet research primarily based on the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative website, an interview with Chinatown Progressive Associate member, other websites containing information on Chinatown environmental issues, and a memoir of Chinatown history called Tea that Burns. I wanted to learn more about the history of Chinatown because I felt it would benefit my understanding of Chinatown and the effect of history on present day. Chinatown has an interesting history; for example, when Chinese men first arrived many married and had children with Irish women because both were seen as an unwanted class in American culture. Many were also opium addicts. In relation to its history, Chinatown has, in many ways, remained unassimilated due to the need to survive in a community that has denied acceptance towards Chinese cultural practices.
There really has been no need to change; everything anyone needs to live is available in relation to Chinese culture. With these problems come problems with health and the environment. Obviously, Chinatown has poor sanitation and smells funny, traffic is congested, and the air is polluted. In a survey done by the CPA, “a five person household, already has at least one member with asthma.” Living conditions are extremely cramped. These are issues that can be changed through developing opening spaces such as the East River Waterfront, an area used for parking and garbage. This project incorporates different parts of Chinatown that if changed, could relieve pollution, traffic, and make use of public land. I visited the East River Waterfront. It was a long walk, the back of my shirt was filled with sweat, and everything basically looked the same. It is a desolate area that the occasional pedestrian passed by, and the constant silence was broken up by the sounds of moving cars up on the FDR. Basically, it is not a place people consider to hang out.
The East River Waterfront development will incorporate that area and the areas that directly influence it most, such as Pike Slip, Montgomery Slip, and Catherine Slip. These areas are important to connecting the Waterfront to the Chinatown area. There are plans to beautify these areas, decongest traffic, and increase parking in the project. The influence of green spaces towards decreasing pollution rates is undeniable and will positively affect the Chinatown problem with pollution. Trees cool down areas by blocking out the sun, filter pollution from traffic, soot and dirt, cleaning the air. It will benefit the community by bringing people together in an unassuming public area.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Where it's "AT" one last time

Good morning for the last time this summer, because this is Annie and it’s my last day here at HSC as a “citizen design” intern. This will be my last blog in this HSC weblog, and I guess it really hasn’t hit me yet. I’m going to miss working here, coming downstairs and chillin’ (sigh) with my coworkers, and doing the relatively easy work we interns do.

Anyways, as a last day thing, we all presented our research projects that we’ve been working on since the beginning. I collected a lot of information and went to about ten gardens, so you can imagine how much work I had ahead of me. I worked hard on my presentation, and messed with the animation features a lot in my very first Powerpoint presentation (shocking, seeing as I’ve been in school for twelve years and never touched Powerpoint). I am proud of my work on community gardens in New York City, particularly in the Lower East Side, which I reported on so diligently. After doing my research, looking at the huge amount of history of community gardens, costs (real-estate space) and benefits (which are countless), and looking at different gardens, I concluded that the gardens are worth being in the city because they preserve the humanity of the communities they reside in. It was a long presentation, though: it took me an hour and ten minutes to finish presenting, much, much longer than everyone else. It was exhausting, but in a good way, as Dylan said haha. Although Dennis, Eric, and pretty much all my coworkers say it was too long, I know it was good.

Working so hard on the project is getting me back into the school mood, which I will definitely need for Columbia. It’s a good end to this job, which I have been working at for the past six weeks. From the silkscreening (and making t-shirts for myself) to the exhaustive design camp to the weekly blog entries (which I’m used to because I have my own blog somewhere haha) to the laughing with coworkers to saying “Good morning!” everyday and generally being enthusiastic, I am going to miss this job. It’s been a great summer with you all, and it successfully completed my goal for the summer before college: to have a fun, lazy summer with friends and earn some money at the same time. Thanks to everyone, Dylan and Anne, to all my coworkers, Dennis, Eric, a-Mindy-ah!, Carmen, Ming, Amanda, the Brooklyn Tech (!) interns we occasionally worked with, and just to everyone and everything for my wonderfully laid-back and even educational summer. Till whenever, this has been where it’s AT. (get it now? A.T.? Annie Tan? Gosh, I’m corny haha).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Good Bye HSC, hope to see you soon!!

This is Ming here, writing my last blog of the summer for the HSC blog. Today is also the last for the CPC SYEP interns, including me. A series of presentations by each of the HSC interns, also took place today. First up was Dennis, who talked about the facts on energy usage, and also steps people can take to save energy use. After Dennis was Mindy, she presented on an organization known as CYI, the Chinatown Youth Initiative. In her presentation, she mentioned the history of CYI, its projects, challenges it faces, her interview with the former board executive, and her suggestions on how they can improve CYI. As soon as she had finished we rushed out to lunch, as we get ready for Annie’s 27 pages PowerPoint presentation. Annie who did her research on community gardens in the downtown area had an extremely long but detailed presentation. In her presentation she mentioned the history behind the existence of community gardens in NYC, along with descriptions of different gardens she visited. Even though it was an interesting topic, we were still glad when we finally finished. After a dew minute break, Eric did his presentation on Teardrop Park. And what a odd and funny presentation it was. In his presentation he mentioned the history of the park and described the different parts of the park. Also he mentioned how the park users felt about the park and how they used it, all according to the result he got from his survey. Last but not least was Carmen, who presented about the Van Cortlandt Park. Using the park handbook that she made, she described the history of the park and the different facilities that the park offers to the park users. Also she mentioned 2 group/organizations that help keep the park in shape. Then she finished up the map of the park that I thought should have been in the front.
After hearing all the presentations, I would say that my favorite presentations were Annie’s and Dennis’s. I like Annie’s because I though the history of how community gardens in NYC came to be was really interesting. Her presentation was also really organized especially the yearly timeline of the events that happen through out times. Also I though the many different types of effects that community gardens have on people was really interesting. However I also liked Dennis’s presentation, one was because the way he presented it. The presentation demonstrates humor and it was short and straight to the point, which I liked. Also the topic he presented on was quite amusing, the little notices that he gives really made me want to do something about this problem. Like how when too much rain falls in to the sewer, all the sewer water would be pushed out into the sea, instead of the filtering plants.
As we each finish up our final blog entry, we cherish out last chance to hang out at HSC’s basement workshop. Some would be coming back to work soon, other would be going off to college. Even though we can still meet up sometime we would still miss each other. We will miss all the good times we shared and all the bad times we push through together. So I here by say good bye to everyone and HSC for the summer, and hopefully I can come back and work here again, soon

^In memory of al the good times we had....

Again, Eric is my name..

Hi, my name is Eric Yuan. This is my last week working at Hester Street Collaborative and I will miss the workers at Hester Street Collaborative. During these workdays I have learned a lot such as silk-screening that was really fun and how to take care of the garden. I have to give my thanks to Dylan House.
Today we presented our research project. It is my first time presenting and I was a little shy. I did not make eye contact while I was speaking; I was looking at the paper so I messed up my first presentation. The other workers keep giving me tips that I need to know so the next time when I do my presentation I will rock it! Well the best presentation I think was the best today was Annie Tan and Dennis Chen because of their great work and a great way to present their research project with power point. For my project I did some hardcore research. I made some surveys for the people in the park to fill out and I found out that most of the users love the park.It’s free time for me now. I will be chilling with my friends and doing what a teen is suppose to be doing and I hope I will get picked next year so I can come back and work. Bye Dylan and Annie and all the good workers that helped me out.

Hello everyone out there!

This is Carmen speaking. This will be my last post on the Hester Street Collaborative blog. I have finally presented my research project on Van Cortlandt Park. Through all the researching and surveying, I gained a great deal of knowledge. Because the Van Cortlandts donated their property to NYC to be used as a public park, we now have numerous recreational facilities available to us. This public park has been around for years and continues to develop today. We are very fortunate to have many different organizations such as the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, Van Cortlandt Nature Center and The Fellowship Group to maintain and enhance this park. They also offer various programs to educate the public about local environmental issues and gain sense of park stewardship. There are some problems in Van Cortlandt Park that the public and I thought should be taken into concern. We thought that there should be more bathrooms, lights, and trash cans scattered throughout the park. These things are pretty important in places where a lot of people attend. The park’s visitors will always need to use bathrooms. Lights will help them find their way and trash cans will remind people not to litter. Hopefully we will see some beneficial changes in the future.

As an intern at Hester Street Collaborative, I learned many new skills such as silk screening, gardening and working with kids. I also learned about product design which is something that I have great interest in. I plan to further explore this area in the future. If it is possible, I would like to come back to Hester Street Collaborative during the fall. I looked forward to coming into work everyday this summer. This program was not only a terrific working experience, but was also very enjoyable. Let’s hope that I will be back soon so until then, good bye my friends! Go out and do something good for your community!

Woh! This is going to be my last blog entry

Today was a pretty long and productive day. Today we presented all of our individual presentations. My internet died yesterday so I had to finish putting the final touches on my presentation in the morning. Soon it was eleven and it was show time.

Being the lucky person that I am, I was selected to present first. But presenting first wasn't so bad for I got it over with and the feeling was pretty liberating. Anyway, my presentation was about how the individual can make a difference in conserving energy. As well all know, global warming is real and it is happening. People think that the individual cannot make a difference but on the contrary, individuals add up together and a big difference can be achieved.
During my presentation, I just told the group simple and effective ways in which we can save energy, whether it is saving water, electricity, or gas there are tips for conserving everything. My presentation was about 10-15 minutes long and I felt that it was pretty decent. After my presentation was over, Dylan gave me a review about my presentation and the criticism was pretty constructive.

The other members of the work group also presented their projects and their projects were pretty successful as well. Some presentation were oral, and others were on powerpoint. No matter what method was used, each one of them was able to convey their ideas effectively. There was also a q and a session after each presentation as well.
Overall the internship here at Hester Street Collaborative was pretty successful. From the silk screening project to the design camp, everything ran ever so smooth. This is all because of the endless efforts of Annie and Dylan. Their support and help was great and none of this would have happened if they didn't do a partnership with Summer Youth Employment Program. Even though I'll be leaving this establishment, I will be taking good memories from it. All in all. This internship is worth doing. If you are ever accepted into SYEP or if you are looking for a place to volunteer your time, Hester Street is the place to be.

Guess what? Mindy is back!!

Sorry I lied about my last post on my last entry. I will continue posting. Hope you guys didn’t miss me too much! Well today I presented my research project on Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI) to my fellow co-workers. Basically, CYI is a non-profit volunteer-ran organization. It serves as a guide for high school students to develop skills to articulate needs of local communities through community projects. Volunteers are all high school to college students who are from different parts of NYC (such as Chinatown, Long Island, and Coney Island). On August 12, I participated in CYI’s Chinatown Beautification Day. Chinatown Beautification Day is an ongoing clean up event that takes place every once a year. About one-hundred teenagers volunteer each year to clean up the streets of Chinatown using brooms, dustpans, tongs, gloves, and garbage cans. Two volunteers counted the number of cigarette butts they picked up and resulted with at least ninety butts each. Do people smoke a lot or what?! I also interviewed the former executive director of CYI, Jennifer Chang. The interview provided much personal understanding of CYI than online research.

Interesting things I learned from the interview were:
- 1999, CYI was found by Gloria Chan who wanted to promote realization and improvement of the ‘forgotten parts’ of the community.
- CYI is named after Chinatown because Chinatown is used as a lab for young people to practice leadership and community work skills.
- CYI does not have a permanent office space, therefore it is difficult for CYI to stay organized and put.
- All projects are based on ideas of the youth participants. (Chinatown Literacy Project, Interschool Film Forum, and Chinatown Beautification Day)
- Advertisements were mainly through the word of mouth but also through by handing out flyers, and sending emails.
So besides my research project, this will be my last post on this blog for this summer. I had a great working experience here at HSC. Met a group of wonderful people and learned useful skills that would definitely help me in the future. Now I know how to silkscreen, use Illustrator, garden and work with young kids. Hopefully I would keep in touch with the people I’ve met here and develop more skills. Well it’s almost time to end work. Tata! I will be back soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

AYUDA for the Art

Ming here, and yesterday when I was surfing the web, I founded the AYUDA for the art site. The AYUDA for the art is an organization that is dedicated to helping the creative young minds from the urban neighborhoods. The mission of AYUDA for the art is to not only help the artistic ones that need help, but to increase the public interest in the art field in general. By offering scholarships to future artists who have financial difficulties for their college education, AYUDA for the art give those with artistic talent, the opportunity to have a brighter future. These scholarships of course are targeted for high school senior and full time undergraduate students, who majors in art and design in a U.S college or institute. Applicants must also be a New York City resident, and a U.S citizen or a legal permanent resident. In addition, applicants must demonstrate financial needs and have a grade point average of 85(B or 3.0 out of 4.0) or higher. I myself am looking forward in taking up this scholarship, since I am looking to major in the communication design field. AYUDA for the art also offer mentoring program for the scholarship recipients, giving them the opportunity with work with professionals already working in the field that the student are interested in. AYUDA for the art feels that it is important to have mentors, because the mentor serves as positive role models.

To apply for this scholarship program, applicants must have been accepted into a college program and majoring in one of the following disciplines:

  • Fashion Design
  • Interior Design
  • Jewelry Design
  • Advertising Illustration
  • Theatrical Set Design
  • Special Events/Show Production
  • Visual Arts
  • Culinary Arts
  • Music
  • Painting and Sculpture
  • Dance
  • Drama and other performance arts
  • Graphic Design (emphasis on electronic media - television, video, or computers)

AYUDA for the art has hosted many great events that gather together many influential designers together in one place, such as the Fashion Show in 2003. Also 5 fundraising events took place in the last four years to help AYUDA for the art in their mission. AYUDA for the art would be hosting it's 6th fundraising event this fall, on Monday, November 12. This event is known as “A Fashionable Taste of New York”, which would take place at Cipariani, 200 Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 24th street. Twenty of NY’s top restaurant will be providing their signature dishes for this event, also auctions and casinos would also take place in this event. For more information visit the AYUDA for the art site, provided for your under the link section to the left of the page.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"The Product Design Research Mission"

Hey, Ming here and lately we interns have been all working on to our product design research. Hester Street Collaborative is looking to create a product, or a line of products that would create extra income. And the product that HSC would produce, would have to serve the purpose of what HSC is doing. We as interns were to first do research on different products, their cost, how they packaged, and so on. And our mission on this trip was to profile products that we think would help inspire us in creating our product.

Early morning Tuesday we set out on our research mission, but before we left we split up in to two groups. One group is to visit various shops in the downtown area, while the other group visited various shops midtown. I was in the group that visited the downtown shops, and our group consisted of Dylan, Dennis, Annie, Amanda, and me. The first shop we visited was the Moma design shop; there we saw many cool products. Most of the product there are over price, but I still bought this little voodoo doll thing, which cost 10 dollar. Also at the Moma store, I found this product call the staple free stapler, a stapler that can stitch up to 5 pieces of papers together without the need of staples.
Then we continue on to the scholastic store near by where I found this cool book on how to build a solar car. The price is high but it is really interesting for little kid to see how solar car works.

As we press on, we stopped by the center for architecture on our way to a store call mxyplyzk. When we finally got to mxyplzk, we found ourselves wondering in this small crowed store. Despite the sized of the shop, the amount of items there are overwhelming. We found this set of cups with pictures of a variety of noses on them. The purpose of the pictures is for when the cups are used, the nose picture would overlap the drinker’s nose making it look like the nose is the drinker's.

The next stop was Flight 101, a store that sells packaged items for mainly travel use purposes. But before we visit the store we stopped by for lunch at a hot dog store, where I got 2 hot dogs and a soda for $3.50, not bad… Anyway moving on, Flight 101 like mxyplyzk was a small store. However the products in there make up for the size of the store. It is at this store where I found my favorite product of the day. The Survival Kit in a can, a small can that contain all the tools you would need to survive for when you get lost or something. The can looks like a canned food can, and it’s packaged again with a plastic bag with air sucked out of it to make it easy to pack in to all places.

Then after that we visited the Books of Wonder, a huge library like book store. After looking at all the expensive books and paintings in the store I found myself on line, buying an ice cream from a restaurant inside the book store. Then all of a sudden, camera flashes started to hit my face from the right. As I turn right toward the entrance, I see some cameramen, taking pictures of this lady as she walks in to this book store. As the cameramen continue to flash at her, she lined up behind me, emotionless as she waits for her turn. After I got my ice cream I sat down with the rest of the interns, watching as the lady got her ice creams and left. As we exited the store, Annie couldn’t resist wondering who the lady was. So she went up to one of a cameraman, who told her that the lady was Mischa Barton. WHO?!......I still didn’t know who she was, but she turned out to be this star who was in the show the OC.

Anyway the last store we hit was a toy store call Kidding Around. As we entered the store I immediately walked toward the pile of hand puppets we saw. As the others looked around for products, Dennis and I picked up puppets with play with. But we moved on, and walk toward the back of the store. There we found board games, costumes, musical toys, etc. There as so many things in there, I didn’t know what to choose for our research. After playing around with more toys and finding the staple free stapler at a lower price then the Moma store in this store, I finally found this kit on painting you own tile. I thought of the stepping stone we made in the design camp, that is this pretty similar. After profiling this product, we got ready to leave. As we wait for Dylan to buy the things he wanted to buy, we played with the puppet some more.

Our mission is finally complete, now we can go back. As we walk, tired and out of breath, we came to the near by train station. We got in the train station, and waited for the train to come. And when the train finally came we got on and went back to the office. The next day we had a discussion on the products that we profiled on our product research mission, and what a discussion it was. Each of us took turn talking and describing about the various products we found. Even though everyone seemed to be bored, the ideas that we’ve produced was quite interesting. Like how the product we were going to make should target urban environment, in helping to improve the environment. Also we had an idea like how the packaging of the product can be a product as well, that way there would be less trash.

Aside from our product research project, I’ve been working on this blog as the blog master. My responsibility is to expand the blog, and making contact with the online communities. To improve the blog, I first started to create links with other sites and blogs that serves a similar purpose to our organization.

This is Dennis signing on!

Ah yes, week six was an interesting week as well. I guess we can sum it up as product design week. On the first day, we split up into two groups and took Manhattan by storm. I working with Dylan, Ming, Amanda, and Annie.

The first stop we went to visit, was the MoMA store. At the MoMA store, I found some very nice dolls. Yes, I still play with dolls, but theses dolls were different in the sense that the doll was made from one piece of continuous string. The continuous string makes this doll unique and it gave me an idea for what product that we can do. And the first thing that came to my mind, was that we can use it for our design camp. The campers would be given a metal skeleton and then we would give them string and let them wrap it around the frame. After they are done with wrapping the string around the frame, they can paint their new doll.

The next store that we went to was the Scholastic store. At the Scholastic store, we found a lot of do-it-yourself kits. I found a window art kit in which we use a type of paint that we paint on a plastic sheet and then after the artwork dried, we can peel it and then paste it on the wall. I feel that this is also an excellent product for the design camp as well because it allows the campers to create any design they want.

After a few hundred blocks and then some, we went to Mxyplyzyk. The store is very similar to the MoMA store and it is just as expensive. We didn't really find anything interesting at the store, so we moved on. The last store that visited was the Kidding Around store. As the store implies, we kid around a lot. We all took turns to play with hand puppets and explore the store. Dylan found a garden tool tote bag and it was very cute. All of the tools were miniature and design especially for kids. This would be a valuable product for the design camp. It would make gardening much more friendly for the campers.

After a long and tiring day, we went back to HSC and called it a day. The next day we came back to the office and we had a conference about all of the products that we selected. It was very productive.

Now we are working on our individual projects. Lately I have been working slowly on it because I was sick all week long. It was hard to focus and I was very tired all the time. I'm feeling a bit better now. Time to finish my project! This is Dennis signing off!

The "Where It's AT" Finale

Good morning once again from the always (of course) graceful Annie! This week was much more relaxing than last week, which was the exhausting but fun design camp with the kids. On Monday we had a post-design camp discussion, and I, the “secretary” for the day, took a lot of helpful notes about how to improve the design camp next year.

After that on Tuesday we went to do a product design study, which meant “discreetly” going to different stores and looking at products that we could possibly get ideas from to make a HSC line of products. I seemed to gravitate toward “DIY” stuff, like these cool cardboard speakers that came in a pretty flat plastic bag; you would have to fold the cardboard and follow the instructions in order to make the speakers. I also found a cool little “How to make your own little book” in the Scholastic store, which consisted of a spiral-bound book, foam pieces that you could use to form different shapes, and a gluestick. I think what would be perfect for
HSC would be something “DIY”-like that could educate kids and that came in economical packaging.

And today, as in Thursday, I, Carmen, and Eric, went off to different destinations to do our research projects. I explored the Lower East Side and, using a map I found online, found a total of ten different community gardens in the neighborhood and was able to acquire four in-depth interviews about four different gardens. It was a very enlightening experience: from what I could see, the gardens were not built necessarily for the environment, but to improve the community around them. I think I’m going to have an awesome project to show next week.
Next week is my last week here at HSC. I can’t believe how quickly the summer passed, and a little more than two weeks from now I’ll be at college, wow. For now I’ll try to enjoy what little time I have left here, hanging out with my awesome coworkers, perhaps making some t-shirts for myself before I leave, and just learning some more. Until my last entry, this, as always, has been where it’s AT.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"The Design Camp"

Hey this is Ming, I’ve been away these few days, but now I’m back. Last week we’ve been working at the design camp, which took place in the garden we’ve been maintaining for the past few weeks. At this design camp, we’ve met 10 wonderful campers between the age of 7 and 10, Jonah, Eoin, Eamon, Shea, William, Jack, Abby, Maia, Ethan, and Elan.

In this camp we’ve helped them in creating their own designs for their T-shirt prints and stepping stones. They would also be working on their note book sometimes, filling it up with their beautiful experiences and memories of this camp. When they are not working on their design projects, they are helping us around with the garden. They got to plant flowers, pull the weeds, pick the beans, and other garden maintenance.

And when they weren’t doing any work, they get to have free time to play. They would play in the sprinkler, or the mud to keep cool from the heat. We interns would have to look after them as they played in the sun. However besides from doing that, we also joined them in their activities. We hosted baseball games, badminton, and water fights. During lunch time we would join the kids as they swallowed down food that they’ve been longing for all day. We had all kinds of food in this camp, we had pizza, egg rolls and dumplings, sandwiches, and so on.

On the third day of the week we went on a field trip where we visited the Noguchi Museum, where the kids got to explore and find their favorite sculptures. After seeing all the artistic creations by Noguchi, we took a break and had lunch at the Socrates Sculpture park. We played tag, capture the flag, chased Eric around, and all kind of fun games.

On the last day of design camp, I along with all the interns came to the park early in the morning to prepare water ballon for our revenge on the kids. Later in the day we waited patiently for the right time to attack the kids, as the kids were finishing up their stepping stone. When the time came, we took all the kids out to the park and blasted each and everyone of them with water ballons. Surprised, the kids attacked back and we had the water fight of the century. As day approached night, we get ready to leave for the day. After saying goodbye to the kids, we walked out of the park and never looked back.
...Leaving behind an experience that we will all cherish, forever. ^^

Where it's "still" at...

Hey, this is Annie, and you’re returning to “where it’s AT!” (a sad smile on my face emerges now haha.) For the past week the Hester Street Collaborative held its first (ever!) Design Camp for kids. It was a greatly tiring and fun week for us interns, who basically watched and played with the ten kids. We took care of a lot of business this week: making concrete stepping stones to be put into the ground in the garden, silk-screening with the kids (and making t-shirts and book covers), taking care of the garden, painting, making models of the garden, and, most of all, cleaning! And on Wednesday, we went to the Noguchi museum where we saw a lot of sculptures and designing, and then to Socrates Sculpture Park nearby.

Besides all the work, though, I think I really enjoyed the camp, mostly because I was able to have fun with the kids, and the kids were able to roam around and explore their imaginations. (And the food and cold drinks weren’t too bad, either.) We even had bottle fights with water. On Friday, to get back at the kids for all their “evil” efforts at getting us interns soaking wet, we came in early in the morning to make water balloons, and we proceeded to give them their “present” later on in the day (imagine some evil laughter right now). I think the best part of the week for me was when I got Maia to eat part of a turkey sandwich, even though she originally turned down my generous offer. I guess part of me wants to realize that I DO have the potential to become a teacher one day, and I feel I have those instincts, to “manipulate” kids into eating and having fun while learning at the same time. (It’s also nice to know that after taking a career test the other day for CPC orientation that teaching would probably be the best career for me haha).

Last week was great; I’m going to miss making the kids laugh at my super-duper corny jokes (because they’re the only ones that will), playing in the mud pit, and generally having fun as a kid again (now that I’m 18, those days will soon be over, and I’m quite sad about that). There are definite things that we discussed today that can be changed about the design camp, mostly changes in the organization and structuring of the camp, but overall it went really well for the first camp ever. And this week, although we are finished with design camp and feeling TAN-tastic, we still have a lot of work to do, and onward we move! So until my next blog entry, this has been where it’s AT.

Hey everyone!!!

This is Carmen speaking again. I am exhausting from last week’s design/build boot camp, but it was a great experience and a lot of fun. Each day was filled with creative activities and noisy children covered in mud. Every morning, the campers would start their day by watering the plants and pulling out weeds. Then they would start on their projects such as texture rubbing, silk screening, scavenger hunting, t-shirt making, stepping stone making, and model building. After lunch, the campers had several hours of free time. Guess what took place during this period? WATER FIGHT!!! Yes, all the campers attacked the interns so we decide to get them back. We purposely arrived early on the last day to fill up water balloons. In the end, the interns went against each other.

In this past week, we also spent a day at the Noguchi Museum and the Socrates Sculpture Park. The kids found their favorite sculptures and drew them. At the park, all the kids chased Eric around until his shirt and book bag were torn. Poor Eric! Anyways, I had a great time with these adorable, energetic kids. I look forward to working with others in the future.

This week is my last week at Hester Street Collaborative. I hope to accomplish as much as I can in this short period of time so I must get working. I’ll be back before you know it.

See you later!

Ahhh yes, Design Camp…

If there was one word that can describe that week, it would be crazy. It was organized chaos in a sense because there were so many things going on at once. At one point it was pretty hard to keep track of the campers. Even though they were a handful, every moment was worth it.
We had many activities that we did to carry us through the day. We did silk screening, painting, water fights, and stepping stones. And on top of all of those activities, we also had to maintain the garden. All in all, it was a week well spent.
On the first day that I was there (Tuesday), I was working with the kids to silk screen their t-shirt. They came up with extremely good designs. Some of them were snakes, worms, bears, etc. Considering the fact that they were silk screening for the first time, their prints came out pretty well. Even their t-shirts look professional. They really did a good job. The only thing that would’ve been better was if there was more room so that more people can do the silk screen at the same time. The tables were too small to support a lot of people at once.

Besides the silk screens, we also did some relief drawings by rubbing the piece of paper on some leaves and when we were at the Socrates Sculpture Garden, we did a rubbing on the shark fin. Speaking of the garden, we had a lot of fun there. We played freeze tag, capture the flag, and watched Eric getting beat up. I think they took a liking to Eric because that would explain why they kept on beating him up. While we were at the park, the kids also did a sketch of their favorite sculpture at the park.
While the rest of the interns are describing their week at the design camp, I on the other hand feel that is important to talk about how we are going to improve the design camp. The camp went very well considering the face that this was the first time that we were doing it.

At the meeting that we had today, we discuss some of the ways in which we can improve the design camps. Some of the ideas that we came up were that we should be more organized, more activities. We said that we have to be more organized because there were a few days in which we were confused in what we were suppose to do. To fix that, we are planning to hold a meeting each day after the design camp ends to plan for the next day. Even the design camp was successful this year, we feel that there should be more activities because that would give the children more options on what they would like to do.

Now that the design camp is over, it will never be forgotten because of all of the great times we do. For now, we are resuming our own individual projects that we later are going to present to each other. Currently, I am doing a photo essay/book on how the individual household owner can live a life that is environmentally friendly.
See you next week!

Mindy's Last Post

Mindy is here again! This will be the last week working for this summer. Work at HSC has been a blast and a great learning experience. Just from a few weeks, I learned how to silkscreen, work on Illustrator, basic gardening, work with kids, create stepping stones, and so much more. Time sure flies by! Hopefully I will be able to work here during this fall!

We helped supervise a Design Camp last week. The cute little campers were all from ages of six to ten-years-old. They were adorable small designers, architects, and artists. The creative campers built a ‘river’ in the mud pit, getting mud all over their bodies. They basically took a mud bath! Besides building a ‘river’, they dug for worms. There were at least seventy worms found. How often do you find a mud pit in NYC? Pretty awesome for the Design Camp to have a mud pit for the kids. I would have loved to play in one if I were younger.
Well time to return to work!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I’m working, learning and “sparkle”-ing haha.

Good morning from the office; this is Annie again! Soo this week we’ve been getting ready for our design camp with the kids from P.S. 134. We’ve been getting supplies from a huge number of places so we’re ready for the kids on Monday. We also got ready to make stepping stones with the kids by learning how to make them on our own. We made our own mold of a dragonfly out of precut pieces of wood, and on Tuesday we put in cement mix so we could start learning how to do it.
For me though, this week was predominantly about finishing up my silk-screening process with my Mr. Sparkle design from “The Simpsons.” I was the last one to go, and it took me two days to finish because of all the different colors. Each stencil looked somewhat misplaced (like shifted puzzle pieces), but it looks like it was meant to be that way, so it worked out perfectly haha. It looks a lot better and greater than I thought it could become. I even put my design on a gray t-shirt; I can’t wait to wear my shirt tomorrow when I go watch “The Simpsons Movie.” Yay! And making t-shirts for the kids at P.S. 134 for their gym uniforms should be a snap now.
We also heard a presentation on Tuesday from a volunteer here, Emily, about urban development in some places she visited for her study abroad program. We learned about the javelas in Rio De Janeiro, the huge amount of racism in the society of Cape Town, and the battles of the indigenous peoples of Auckland, New Zealand. It was a very interesting presentation; I didn’t know that kind of stuff was still happening around the world.
Today we’re going to continue our design camp preparation; we’re going to go to the garden, check out our concrete stepping stone mold and put in some mosaic tiles. And next week will be busy work with the kids, but design camp should be fun. With the kids, we’ll be silk-screening shirts and book covers, making stepping stones, playing some scavenger hunt games, etc. Till my next entry, all, this has been where it’s at. (Get it? A.T.? Annie Tan? =D)

Eric's preview for upcoming week

Hey, this is Eric Yuan. Today I am going to give you a sneak peek on what we are going to be doing next week. We are going to be baby-sitting little kids for this year’s camp at P.S.134. We are learning how to make stepping-stones so when we teach the kids it will be as easy as making cake, if that is how it goes.
Dennis and I went on a little trip to pick up five silk-screens and five squeegees for the camp at P.S.134. We will be making t-shirts for the kids. The camp will be starting next week on Monday so we are preparing. We all came up with our own designs for the stepping-stone, and then we had to pick one out of all the designs. We chose the dragonfly. We brought the design to the garden to mold it, but we didn’t want the cement to stick to the side of the box, so we put Vaseline all over the box. It was a little nasty; it was stuck on my hand even when I washed it down. When we were at the garden we saw that the peach tree was still sick; slime was coming out from the trunk, so we cleaned the slime off the tree and are hoping that it will heal.
Do not go away; I will be back next week, so remember to tune in on my next blog, or you can check out the other blogs the workers have written. Next week it will be a little crazy with the kids; I will be telling you what crazy things we have been doing, so again, remember to tune in on my blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Carmen Speaking!!! Shhh

Hello! This is Carmen speaking. It is my 3rd week at Hester Street Collaborative and we interns are busier than ever. Next week, the design/build boot camp will begin so this week we are making preparations.
Yesterday, Dylan showed us how to make a stepping-stone. This is a project that all the kids will be working on. It is actually quite interesting. First, we had to create a design using wooden geometric shapes. This took a while since everyone was so indecisive. When we finally decided to use a dragonfly design, we glued it onto a wooden board and placed it into a small wooden box. At the garden, Eric and Ming put Vaseline on the inner surface of the box. This will help us remove the cement, which we poured into the box, after the concrete mix completely dries. Drying will take about two days so until then we will be working on other preparations.
This week, I helped sand down the wooden geometric shapes that the kids will be using to make their design. I also gathered more information for my research project. I spent many hours researching and thinking of how to present my project. My final decision is to create a magazine concerning Van Cortlandt Park. It will consist a brief history of this park, public’s opinions, descriptions of the park, information about groups that help maintain the park, details about current projects, a map and many photos. Also, as a group, we spent time in the garden cleaning the diseased peach tree that has been oozing out a sticky substance.

Eric found a rather large yellow caterpillar while cleaning. This was the 3rd caterpillar we spotted this week. Caterpillars, they just LOVE us! JToday we will be picking up supplies that will be needed for the design/build boot camp. Yes, that is the aim for today. Okay, it is time for me to go sand down more wooden geometric shapes. See you next week!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dennis here, yet again...

Hey! This is Dennis here! And yet again, I am reporting from the workshop again. One week has passed and there is much to explain. If you can recall to last week’s post, I said that I was going to start a project on PlaNYC 2030. But unfortunately, that is not the case anymore. Now, I’m planning to start a project in a photo guidebook to how individuals can make lifestyle changes that is more environmental friendly. So far that idea is brewing in my head and it appears to be more interesting that PlaNYC.
Besides changing my project, the week was pretty eventful because there is always something to do at Hester Street Collaborative. Next week we are about to start the design camp for the young kids and to prepare for the design camp we were instructed to create boxes that will be used in the stepping stone project. The boxes will be used to hold the design and the concrete mixture until it is dry. We also cut out geometric shapes and sand it down so the kids are able to us it to create a creature that they found in the garden. There is a lot of sawdust down here from all of the sanding. I have a feeling that we are about to clean the workshop again.
And when we are not preparing for the design camp, we are at the garden as usual, tending to the many plants that inhabit it. We were removing the weeds from the vegetables and then we were cleaning up the peach tree. It turns out that the peach tree is infected with a type of fungus and so we were removing the stuff that was oozing out from the tree. It was pretty fun. That is all that I have time to write about, so until next time have fun without me.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mindy is back...

Hey this is Mindy again. This will be my third week working at HSC. I just finished my first silkscreen. It came out the way I wanted it to. I like the strong contrast in color and the use of only primary colors.
Last week, I worked on Illustrator for the first time, which I had always wanted to do. I learned how to use the pen, smoothing and anchor tools. It was easy to catch on. I also started researching on Chinatown Youth Initiatives, a non-profit organization that helps the local community through community projects similar to HSC’s.
At the garden, I helped take out the goo from the peach tree. A lot of ants were crawling all over it. Poor tree. Now we need to go buy fungicide to help save it. I also picked out the dead leaves off the sunflowers. Hope those sunflowers will bloom brighter!
We are up to our next project, to create a stepping-stone as a group for the garden. It is hard deciding which design to use. We’re all contemplating whether to use a tree, a bee, a squirrel, a chick, or a spider as our design. This project will be very fun. We get to work with cement! Time to get messy!

Friday, July 20, 2007


Hello my name is Amanda Wong. I am seventeen years old and am an art major at LaGuardia High School. Things I enjoy doing include eating, painting, going to the beach, procrastinating my research project work, and crowdsurfing. I have been interning through the LEARN program at Hester Street Collaborative for two weeks; it has been my 7th job this year (something I take pride in). I am glad to have the opportunity to have such hands-on and involved work, and that my jobs no longer involve licking hundreds of envelopes or serving overpriced ice cream while singing for a little extra cash. During my time spent at HSC, I have already learned how to: silkscreen, think carefully before acting, sand down baby pieces of wood, and write a research project.

Now that everything important is known about me, I will discuss my research project and the difficulties of doing a research project. I have done two research projects before: one was a twenty page paper about slavery done with four other people and the other was a six page paper trying to convince my Republican U.S history teacher that George W. Bush’s War on Iraq was an unjustified decision. My current research project will discuss how cultural and lingual differences affect the Chinatown community and the importance of new open space projects such as the East River Waterfront, the Allen and Pike Street Initiatives, and HSC’s work in the Hester Street Playground in Sara Roosevelt Park. Such developments are important in creating places for the community to freely exist and for its people to enjoy open spaces. By bringing people together in a specific area, solidarity will inevitably follow. Community existence through open space is important in a place like Chinatown, where many people are living and working in mainly overpopulated cramped conditions and cultural and lingual differences cause socially restrained interactions. It has the ability to ignore the hardships and differences faced in a community and bring everyone together.

Obviously there will be many challenging parts of my research project. First of all, I am procrastinating and will honestly do whatever I can to not do to the work. Secondly, I feel finding the information and statistics related to my project will need to be accurate and detailed, and I will have to do much work finding somewhat esoteric information (it will be difficult finding information relative to the social and cultural critique with my work). However, this will probably be made easier through the internet, and I just like to complain much. Another problem I am facing at this moment is hunger. I am also nervous that I will not be able to prove my point and will end up with a horrible boring and useless paper no one will read. Wish me luck. Also the photo up there is my first ever silk screen and I think its cute.

Ming's Blog Entry Volume 1

Hello this is Ming here, being isolated in the soundless office, force to write a blog entry for the HSC web log. Yeah just kidding about the “force” thing, but I am writing a blog entry as you can clearly see. Anyway, I am one of the last interns that will be introducing ourselves through the web log. I first learned about this organization through a SYEP job fair hosted by CPC. After roaming the crowed fair, for a while I came to find Dylan and Annie waiting patiently for people who are interested in their job offer. I eventually approached them and got my summer job.

For the past few days we’ve been working on our silk screen project. Our supervisor, Dylan has taught us how these delightful pieces of arts are forged. I was the first one to start the silk screening experience. The silk screening process was really painful, due to the high temperature outside. However I was able to defeat the heat with a few laughers and “JAZZ”. When I finally finished I was so relieved, but I was also disappointed because my silk screen picture turned out really ugly. Even though my silk screen picture wasn’t as nice as others, I though it was still a really cool experience. Being able to learn hands on, how these colorful designs can be form within a short period of time, and without complicated machines.

I’ve also learn how to use adobe illustrator, that which I used to make animal name tags for our design camp that we are about start in a few week. I used this pen tool that make tracing an image on the computer, simple and hassle free. (The image on the right is an example of the Name Tag)

Did I mention about the garden that we have been managing? Well it’s a really cool garden, especially the stepping stones all over the garden, I thought was really cute. This garden has all kinds of things, from tomatoes to peaches, to roses. The lists goes on and on, just trying to and name everything. You can almost smell the fragrance of all these plants in the polluted city air. Also it is really rare to see such a diversity of plants in an isolated area, within the city. This garden in a way reminds me of a book I read before, call “Seed Folk”. This book talks about how a neighborhood built a garden out of an empty lot, which improved their neighborhood. That is kind of similar to what we and the many supporters out there are doing for our neighborhood, and it is what we should be doing. Because who will make conditions better for us then ourselves. Exactly!!

Anyway I’ve wrote too much, its time for me to go home anyway. Do mine the small mistakes; I just scribbled this with a limited time I’ve got on my hand. So I here by say good bye to the fellow views out there, and wishing all a good day.

P.S: I was stung by the rose thorn in the back, because I wasn’t paying attention, and it was really painful. Just though I mention it, and to warn people out there to pay attention when you do things and to watch your back.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The beginning of where it's at...

Hi, my name is Annie and this is my first entry in this blog. I’m one of the “Citizen Design Interns” hired from SYEP, and today is the end of my second week working wit h Hester Street Collaborative. I just graduated from Brooklyn Tech, and going on to Columbia in the end of August, baby. And I’m liking this job so far.

Basically, in the past two weeks we, as in us many interns, have been learning about the organization, how it’s trying to help Chinatown represent itself in the city, and how we can help out the local schools and neighbors. In a quick synopsis, we’ve gardened at P.S. 134, cleaned the whole workshop, silkscreened for future t-shirt printings for P.S. 134, drawn, and done a lot of research. All us interns have to do a research project related to HSC’s mission, and over a period of two to three days I’ve been looking at a huge variety of environmental issues and have tried to find a local organization or issue to research and find out more about. After looking at a huge number of sites, like, a site which reports on a wide range of environmental issues,, the site for the largest community gardening program in the country, and a program online called “Freecycle™” where New Yorkers give away and trade items online. (I’m now a member of that haha.) Yesterday I finally narrowed down my topic to the study of community gardens and green roofs in New York City, and if the benefits they reap outweigh the costs.

Today, me, Dylan, and Eric went to the garden once again. Some of the sunflowers are starting to bloom, and we have some pretty cool strawberries growing, but they’re not ripe yet. But the big problem was with the peach tree, which is leaking out sap through certain parts. Dylan and I took pictures of the poor tree and hoping to look for answers. I looked it up online before we went, and I think it’s something called Cytospora Canker, which weakens tree barks and eventually kills peach trees. It could also be something called the “Peach Tree Borer,” but we won’t really know until Dylan’s tree “expert” responds back. I hope our poor tree doesn’t die, but it won’t under our capable interns’ hands.

Next week I get to silkscreen my “Mr. Sparkle” design (from “The Simpsons”). I’m excited! I’m going to bring my own t-shirt to print it on. Also we’ll be working more on prepping for design camp and the garden. Till next week, guys, this has been where it’s at.

My First Blog

Hi, my name is Eric Yuan. This is my first blog. I have been working at Hester Street Collaborative for 2 weeks. I worked at Hester Street Collaborative last year. I am a freshmen from John Dewey High School. We have been learning how to silk screen. I have been working in the garden and found out about the tree that is sick. Before I talk about this, lets begin from the beginning.

The first day at Hester Street Collaborative was a dusty day. We have extreme cleaning going on at the basement: dust was flying everywhere and every one was sneezing, but I thought it was a great day. I have talked to the workers. We talk about ourselves and we have become good working buddies. These one and a half weeks we have been learning how to silk screen. Each of the workers has to come up with a design to use for silk-screening. My design is a tree and 2 fruits on it and the print did not come out as bad as I thought it would. It was really fun I mix different color of paint so I can get the color I needed for my design. I have been at the garden a few times. It has changed a lot since last year. The plants have been moved around and tiles that were made by the kids at P.S.134 are on the floor. Today when me, Dylan and Annie went to the garden we noticed that the peach tree was sick. It has this slime coming out of the trunk, so we took some pictures and some slime back to the office so we could find out how to save the tree from dying. Don’t worry; we will do what we can to save the tree.

I have been doing research on a park named Teardrop Park. It is named Teardrop Park because of the shape of the space. The park was built in 2004. To build the park it took close to 20 times more than other NYC playgrounds to be built. On the research I found out that the park is not really what the people want. Beside sitting there is not much to do. The spot you will find most used by the children is the slide.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

First Week at HSC

Hey everyone! This is Carmen Wong. Like Mindy, I am an intern from Fiorello H. LaGuardia H.S. of Music & Arts and Performing Arts. I discovered HSC through the LEARN program in my school. This program offers students the opportunity to experience what it is like to have a full time job and to enhance our skills and knowledge. When I heard that HSC is a design/build organization that helps communities improve their physical environment, I knew that I wanted to take part in this program.

Within the first week, I learned how to properly tend a garden and create prints by using the silk screening technique. Silk screening is simple and fun, but its process takes a great deal of time. I have already completed my design. I can’t wait to print! In the meantime, I am working on my research project about Van Cortlandt Park. I plan to go up there one day to continue my research. It is the LAST stop on the 1 train, so far away! I chose to investigate this park because I am familiar with it. It has many great facilities and a large forest. It is usually overflowing with many local people and visitors. I am interested in learning what others think of the park, which facilities they use, any problems they find and if the park has any significant meaning to them. I think Van Cortlandt Park is a wonderful place to exercise, relax, spend time with family or hang out with friends. It is also very accessible. Right now, I need to think of a thesis for my project.

In a week or two, HSC will be having a design/build camp for kids from ages 6- 10. The other interns and I will be helping them make stepping-stones. I think it will be fun. This will be different for me since I’ve never really worked with kids before. Anyways, I am looking forward to it. Well, times up. I must go. See you all next week!