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!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dennis's First Post

Hello! This is Dennis Chen reporting from the workshop of Hester Street Collaborative. I am a Brooklyn Tech graduate and currently, I am attending Binghamton University this fall. This is the second week that I am working here and it is been a blast working for Hester Street Collaborative. We started with a little bit of summer cleaning and it was interesting. There was no dust to be found at the workshop per se but instead there was a lot of sawdust (there was construction going on down here). Cleaning was hard since there was sawdust everywhere but it was bearable because there were a lot of people helping me.

Then the next day, Dylan introduced us to silk screening. At first it looked a little complex but it turns out that it was really simple. Basically, silk screening is just creating art by using stencils. The stencils create the silhouette of image. Then you place the stencil onto a porous polyester material. You tape up the rest of the mesh so that the paint will not pass through and the frame is now set.

Then you attach the frame onto the table via a hinge and then you are ready to print. First you place a generous amount of paint above the stencil and you use the squeegee to move the paint over the stencil. The place where there is an opening, the paint will bleed through and transfer itself onto the material that is below it. It is pretty fun. It is almost like finger painting, almost. For the demonstration of silk screening, we did a since landscape picture of a sun, a blue sky and white cloud. We each had a turn to move the paint across the stencil with the squeegee and it was an interesting experience.

Besides silk screening we also tend the garden. It is also pretty enjoyable. Dylan showed us how the garden looked like and now the garden is more class friendly and the school that is adjacent to the garden will finally be able to utilize it in its school curriculum. There are many types of flora present at the garden. Such as cabbage, corn, sunflowers, oregano, tomato, peach and many more. Even though I just started to work at the garden, it has always been a work in progress. Now it is my turn to carry the torch and take care of the garden. This summer we’ll been doing a summer camp in which kids will be able to create stepping-stones for the garden. I am looking forward to that project.

Speaking of projects, we are also required to do a research project at Hester Street Collaborative. We were given a wide range of choices to do our project on, such as PlaNYC 2030, blog research, and product design. Since everyone showed extreme interest in the product design everyone will be working on that one and then another project independently. So far, for my project, I am leaning towards doing research on PlaNYC. PlaNYC is a project that was started by Mayor Bloomberg in an effort to develop NYC more carefully by addressing some of the problems that is happening right now. One such problem that he plans to address is the housing crisis in which New Yorkers are forced to pay higher rent just because there are not enough housing for everyone. To make matters worse. We predict that by 2030, the population will increase to nine million residents. Well this is enough about me. Until next week, stay cool.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mindy's First Week

Hey everyone! This is Mindy Tom (People call me Mindy Tomboy), a summer intern from LaGuardia High School, class of 2008. Woot Woot! I first learned about this internship through the LEARN program from school, a program that introduces students to the real world, similar to the Summer Youth Employment Program. I grew an interest to HSC because the work is very hands-on and tactile.

I just started working since last week and so far, everything has been very fun and new. Dylan taught us how to silk screen and garden (things I do not usually do). Silk screening was an interesting process. We started designing our own stencils to practice silk screening. I made three different stencils, for three different color layers just to complete my design. I had to plan out the color applications carefully since overlapping one color on another made a different color. I am still in the process of completing my design. I hope it will come out right!

Once, while waiting for the screen to dry to silkscreen, us interns got silly and started playing with contact paper cutouts. I made myself a Pringle mustache. It was very foolish looking and hilarious. So far the work is very laid back, but it still wasn’t all fun and games. Then again, we had a lot of fun doing all of this stuff.

One time, we were attacked by a flock of pigeons while walking to the garden. They just swooshed right above our heads! Thank goodness we knelt down. If we didn’t, the pigeons would have rammed into our heads.

Under 90+-degree weather, our hard work and constant sweating paid off. We made the garden nice and tidy. The strawberry bushes, cabbages, cherry trees, apple trees, carrots, lavenders, and other plants were all watered and rehydrated. Tree barks, and loose garbage were all picked up and thrown away. I even found a plastic superhero toy under the soil!

Well it is about time to get back to work! See you guys later!