The Five Boro Story Project, created by artist and educator Bridget Bartolini, produces live events to showcase stories and art inspired by the neighborhoods of New York City. Our free, hyper-localized public programs create opportunities for New Yorkers to connect to our neighborhoods and our neighbors through stories, song, poetry, dance, film, and discussion about the places where we live. The programs aim to strengthen community connections, preserve personal histories, challenge negative perceptions of the outer boroughs and marginalized areas, and celebrate the diverse neighborhoods of NYC.
FBSP creator Bridget Bartolini grew up hearing her grandparents’ stories of living in the bustling tenements of the Upper East Side, where people raised pigs in their apartments and lit bonfires in the street, until the rising cost of living drove them to one of the furthest corners of the city: South Richmond Hill, Queens – “the boonies,” where the quiet kept them up at night. Her family has stayed there till this day, and seen enormous changes in the neighborhood and the city. Growing up in South Richmond Hill, an area that’s culturally rich but deprived of public resources, Bridget learned that “making it” meant getting out. Achieving success, and even having fun, was oriented towards Manhattan. But why?
Inspired by family stories of the old neighborhoods and her love of New York City, frustrated by negative stereotypes about the outer boroughs and the inequitable distribution of resources in the city, and motivated by her belief in the power of storytelling to connect people, Bridget began organizing community events under the Five Boro Story Project to create a platform for neighbors to come together and document unheard stories of the city.
What We Do
We travel throughout the five boroughs producing community storytelling events that spotlight different neighborhoods; curate performances by local artists who have strong pieces about the neighborhood; and invite community members to share their own stories and art through open mics and story circles. We have been lucky to partner with incredible people and organizations that are deeply rooted in each neighborhood where FBSP events take place, and make these programs possible.
Since launching in April 2013, the Five Boro Story Project has brought New Yorkers together for neighborhood celebrations in Flushing, Gowanus, Harlem, Jamaica, the Lower East Side, Park Slope, Stapleton, the South Bronx, Washington Heights, and more. We hope to come soon to a neighborhood near you!
If you have a story you’d like to share in one of our future programs, let us know! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org