It’s no surprise that Midtown is perhaps the wildest area of New York. Call it the heart of the city, kingdom of flashy high-tech ads, or a capsule of time: Midtown Manhattan has been the center of the world for many years. By 1894, journalism found its home when the New York Herald moved offices to 34th and Broadway (which is to say nothing of The New York Times today). And by 1895, musicals were a big business when Oscar Hammerstein I, grandfather of the famous lyricist, built the first playhouse above 42nd Street and Broadway.
In person or on television, we’ve all seen the New Years’ Eve hysteria at Times Square. And for those of us who live here, we’ve maybe fantasized about having deep conversations with Patience and Fortitude, the marble lions that protect the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue and 42 Street.
In this Know Your City, we invite you to recognize some Midtown Manhattan organizations that represent the transformations we want for 2019 and beyond.
At 350 5th Avenue, there lies the offices of a group of journalists, lawyers and activists that give the voice to the repressed and silenced all over the world. Human Rights Watch began in 1978 with Helsinki Watch, where citizens throughout the Soviet bloc monitored government compliance with the 1975 Helsinki Accords. Their modus operandi of publicly "naming and shaming" abusive governments through media coverage was a source of their strength. Shortly thereafter, it expanded to the Americas, Asia, Africa and Middle East, and adopted their current name in 1988.
Some notable HRW campaigns are about migration, international justice, refugee rights and health. Like this report about women’s reproductive freedom in Poland.
You can find Amnesty International USA at 5 Pennsylvania Plaza, a human rights organization that believes that writing letters can still saves lives in the 21st Century.
From Friday March 1st to Sunday March 3rd, AI USA will be hosting the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Chicago, Illinois, where activists have the opportunity to come together and learn about each other’s efforts and campaigns, listening and participating in panel discussions. There will surely be many New Yorkers showing up to make their voices heard. Click here to sign up.
On 37th Street and 8th Avenue, stop and say hello to this organization that has been working to rise above the inequalities of the nation’s school system for more than twenty years. Planning to double the number of students that they can support is just the tip of the iceberg; beyond writing, GWN developed partnerships where girls can explore new media and digital storytelling. Enjoy some examples of the Girls Write Now experience.
Picture from girlswritenow.org
On 553 West 51st Street, you’ll find a community with its doors open to dialogue, creation, and learning. “Strengthening cross-cultural partnerships, and preserving the evolving stories and traditions of Irish culture” is their mission, and they do it with an agenda that goes to a deeper place than Broadway ever does. Like Dannielle Tegeder’s exhibition “Drawing Room,” where the artist created a series of abstract drawings as an homage to living Irish poets. The public has an opportunity to engage with Tegeder and her work in two interactive teas that will feature an artist-led discussion and creative writing exercise.
Picture from irishartscenter.org
Explore previous editions of Know Your City to engage with the best organizations in New York:
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