The Five Boro Story Project, created by artist and educator Bridget Bartolini, produces live community storytelling events that bring New Yorkers together through sharing stories and art inspired by our neighborhoods. Our free, hyper-localized public programs create opportunities to deeply connect to our neighbors and our neighborhoods through true life stories, song, poetry, dance, film, and discussion about the places where we live. The programs aim to strengthen community connections, preserve personal narratives, challenge negative perceptions of the outer boroughs and marginalized areas, resist erosion of local history and culture, and celebrate the diverse neighborhoods and people 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 define our neighborhoods in our own terms, highlighting all there is to appreciate in the people and places that make up our homes. The Five Boro Story Project is growing and exploring ways to use storytelling to advance social justice and equity across neighborhoods, and love within neighborhoods.
What We Do
We travel throughout the five boroughs producing community storytelling programs that spotlight different neighborhoods; curate performances by local artists and residents who have strong pieces about the neighborhood; and invite community members to share their own stories and art through workshops, open mics, story circles, and other participatory activities. For each program we partner with incredible people and organizations that are deeply rooted in the neighborhood, and make these programs possible.
Since launching in April 2013, the Five Boro Story Project has brought New Yorkers together for celebrations of our neighborhoods from Jackson Heights to Washington Heights, from Sunset Park to Park Slope, from Stapleton to the South Bronx. 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