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ABC No Rio

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Center for volunteerism, art & activism

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Lower East Side
Theater, Gathering Place

Place Matters Profile

Written by Molly Garfinkel

One block north of the hustling, bustling, horn-honking, take-your-life-into-your-own-hands fracas that is Delancey Street at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, the intersection of Suffolk and Rivington Streets provides residents and passers-by with the slow motion refuge of overlapping one-way streets. For those who are inclined to look up or even stop, the crossroad also offers a lesson in Lower Manhattan’s cultural history. Streits’ Matzos, the venerable, fourth generation, family-owned matzo factory and storefront anchors the northeast corner in four converted tenements. On the southwest side stands the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center, a trailblazing, multi-cultural arts incubator and performance space housed in an elegant CBJ Snyder-designed school building. A ubiquitous corner deli holds down the southeast edge, while kitty corner, students show off their skills in a paved schoolyard. With representation from the realms of housing, recreation, education, manufacturing, fine arts and small...

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ABC No Rio


Anonymous Nominator

It features a gallery space, a zine library, a darkroom, a silkscreening studio, and public computer lab. In addition, ABC No Rio plays host to a number of radical projects in New York City, including weekly hardcore punk matinees and the NYC Food Not Bombs collective. ABC No Rio seeks to be a community center for the Lower East Side, sponsoring projects and benefts for the community, as well as a center of radical activism in New York City, promoting "do it yourself volunteerism, art and activism, without giving-in or selling-out to corporate sponsors."

DIY spaces are incredibly important, and are becoming fewer and farther inbetween. Moreover, ABC No Rio is trying to expand to be entirely self-sustaining in terms of solar energy and growing food, which is an incredible step forward which sets an excellent example which others should follow.

The graffiti and overall grungy appearance add a great amount of character to the space. While ultimately these things are not permanent and will someday change, the space has an instrinsic connection to underground art that will always be present.(March 2009)

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