Our People


Steve Zeitlin
Founding Director

(steve@citylore.org, 212-529-1955 x11)
PhD, Folklore, University of Pennsylvania
Roles: Fundraising for City Lore initiatives, developing innovative new programs, managing day to day operations.
Interests: Family stories, children’s rhymes, subway stories, ancient cosmologies, oral poetry traditions from around the world, and the poetry of everyday life.

Martha Cooper
Director of Photography
(kodakgirl@rcn.com , 212-222-5146)
B.A. Oxford University        
Photographer for City Lore programs since our inception in l986.
Interests: Urban vernacular art and neighborhood life, graffiti, hip hop, New York City, Baltimore

Amanda Dargan
Education Program Director

(adargan@citylore.org, 212-529-1955 x14)
PhD, Folklore, University of Pennsylvania
Roles: Direct and develop education components for all City Lore public programs and publications; Co-Editor CARTS Magazine; manage professional development programs in arts and history education.
Interests: Urban culture;  occupational culture; family folklore; folk arts-in-education; regional U.S. cultures;  children’s folklore and games; verbal arts, world poetry contests

Molly Garfinkel
Place Matters Director

(molly@citylore.org, 212-529-1955 x17)
MA, Architectural History, University of Virginia

Duties: Directs the Place Matters program at City Lore; board relations.
Interests: cultural conservation, urban history, historic preservation, Western and non-Western building traditions, East African political history.

Hiroko Kazama
Office/Store Manager

(hkazama@citylore.org, 212-529-1955 x15)
Diploma, Berklee College of Music
Manage all aspects of sales and marketing for City Lore Store, which offers  hard-to-find multi-media resources in folklore, history, culture, and the arts; Office Manager.
Teaching and talking about Japanese cultures, traditions, and language to young children; teaching piano to young children.

Elena Martínez

(emartinez@citylore.org, 212-529-1955 x16)
MA, Anthropology, MA Folklore, University of Oregon
Duties: Develop public programs; fieldwork, research, writing, and public outreach for City Lore programs, including Place Matters; People’s Poetry Gathering Coordinator; Membership Coordinator; Archives Manager.
Interests: Urban folklore; material culture; Puerto Rican culture and folklore; foodways; Latin music.

Abby Ronner
Gallery Director/Accounts Manager
(aronner@citylore.org, 212-529-1955 x13)
BA, Global Studies & Psychology, University of Tennessee

Duties: Coordinate and program City Lore Gallery, manage marketing and publicity; Manage all accounts and assist with development.
Interests: Languages, photography, creative writing, Puerto Rican culture and history, grassroots politics, and the environment.

Roberta Singer

PhD, Ethnomusicology and Folklore, University of Indiana
Duties: Oversee and conduct research, writing, and public programs on jazz and Latin music in NYC; national/international festival and film events; City Lore events coordination.
Interests: Puerto Rican and Cuban traditional and popular music; Puerto Rican bomba and plena traditions; ethnicity; event production.


Beth Higgins • Design & Development (beth@bhiggins.com)
Paco Levine • Design & Development (paco@pacoarts.com)
Elaine Norman • Backdrop Art (thenormanconquest@earthlink.net)
Media Folk • Web Management (projects@mediafolk.org)

Board of Directors

Rohit Acharya, CFA, is the Chief Data Scientist at First Access, a financial social enterprise focused on using data analytics to predict risk and make financial products more affordable in the developing world.  His group builds and implements credit models, develops data-driven insights about banking operations, and advises financial institutions on both business strategy and product development.  Before joining First Access, Rohit worked as a portfolio manager at Bridgewater Associates, a leading hedge fund, and as a consultant at Oliver Wyman specializing in the financial sector.

As a researcher, Rohit has applied analytical rigor to a spectrum of topics inside and outside the financial world. His research includes developing models articulating the relationship of fiscal-monetary policy and social welfare and uncovering relationships between education and dowry payments in rural India. Having lived extensively abroad, Rohit brings his passion for analytical solutions to the emerging markets where data-driven solutions are sorely needed. He also founded the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective to improve sports strategies using statistical and mathematical techniques; the group has partnered with several professional sports organizations in the United States and their research has received acclaim from publications such as ESPN, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.  He is also an advisor to Workhorse Rye, a whiskey and bitters producer based in San Francisco. Rohit holds a BA with honors in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Ray Allen has been affiliated with the Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College since 1993. He teaches survey courses in the music of the United States and New York City, and directs Brooklyn College’s American Studies program, an interdisciplinary program that specializes in American music and cultural studies. He has co-produced a number of the Institute’s festivals, including a tribute to Alan Lomax and the early folk music revival (in partnership with City Lore and the Alan Lomax Archive/Association for Cultural Equity, 2003).

Ann Banks is a journalist and writer living in New York. She edited two anthologies of oral histories from theFederal Writers Project, First-Person America and Harlem Document, and co-produced “Voices fromthe Thirties,” a radio series for National Public Radio onthe same subject.  She also is onthe board ofthe Coney Island History Project.

Joshua Brown is the executive director of the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning and professor of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He received his B.A. from the City College of New York and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is author of Beyond the Lines: The Pictorial Press, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America (2002), co-author (with Eric Foner) of Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction (2005), and co-editor of History from South Africa: Alternative Visions and Practices (1991), and has written numerous essays and reviews on the history of U.S. visual culture. He is the visual editor of the American Social History Project¹s noted social history textbook Who Built America? Working People and the Nation¹s History (1989, 1992, 2000, 2008), and also co-authored and directed the accompanying CD-ROMs and documentary series.  He has served as executive producer on many award-winning digital and Web projects, including Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution, History Matters: The U.S. History Survey on the Web, The Lost Museum: Exploring Antebellum Life and Culture, The September 11 Digital Archive, and Picturing U.S. History: An Online Resource for Teaching with Visual Evidence. A former fabric designer and free-lance mural painter, Brown¹s cartoons and illustrations appear regularly in academic and popular publications, in print and digital form—including an online graphic historical novel, Ithaca, currently serialized on the Common-place website, and his online graphic commentary, Life during Wartime. Brown was awarded a 2010 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for his current book project, Studies in the Visual Culture of the American Civil War.

Raquel Cepeda is the director, writer and co-producer of “Bling: A Planet Rock,” an 87 minute documentary about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds—“blinging”—and all its social trappings, and how this infatuation correlated with the ten-year conflict in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The film follows three rappers—Paul Wall, Tego Calderon, and Raekwon—as they trek to the country to meet the survivors, perpetrators and diamond miners in the country. The film also features Kanye West, Juelz Santana, Jadakiss and former child soldier/author Ishmael Beah. Cepeda co-produced the documentary with VH1, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A modified version for television of “Bling…” premiered under the title “Bling’d: Blood, Diamonds and Hip-Hop” on VH1 on February 22, 2007 (3.3 million viewers).  She is the author of And It Don’t Stop: The Best American HipHop Journalism of the Last 25 Years. New York: Faber & Faber Inc., 2004.

Henry Chalfant is best known for his photography and film documentation urban youth culture.  His photographs record hundreds of ephemeral, original art works that have long since vanished. Exhibits of his photos begin with the O.K. Harris Gallery, 1980, the landmark ‘New York-New Wave’ show at P.S. l in 1981, and continue to include Born in the Streets at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, 2010 and Art in the Streets at MOCA in Los Angeles in 2011.  He has co-authored the definitive account of New York graffiti art, Subway Art (Holt Rinehart Winston, N.Y. 1984) and a sequel on the art form’s world-wide diffusion, Spray Can Art (Thames and Hudson Inc. London, 1987).  In 1983, Chalfant co-produced the PBS documentary, Style Wars, the highly considers documentary about Graffiti and Hip Hop culture and directed Flyin’ Cut Sleeves, a documentary on South Bronx gangs in 1993. He produced and directed Visit Palestine: Ten Days on the West Bank in 2002. His film From Mambo to Hip Hop was featured in the Latino Public Broadcasting series, VOCES in 2006-2007, and won an Alma Award for Best Documentary.  Chalfant is a resident of  New York City with his wife Kathleen, an actress.  They have two children, David, a musician and producer, and Andromache, a set designer.  He continues to make documentary films about urban popular culture.

Terry Delis is a field consultant at Pace University working directly with first year teaching fellows assigned to high need public schools in New York City.  Terry has taught elementary and middle school students in NYC public schools for 25 years and supervised two schools, first as an assistant principal at PS 84 in Astoria, Queens, and later as principal of PS 78 in Long Island City, Queens.  Terry initiated collaborations with the New York Philharmonic, Music for the Brain, City Lore, Inc.,  Arts in Education Partnership, the South Street Seaport Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to enhance the educational programs for the students in her schools.

Carrie Harris is a real estate attorney, specializing in landmark preservation, zoning, and government relations. She also “dabbles” in real estate development, focusing on mixed use, community development projects. Carrie is an amateur photographer and a passionate supporter of City Lore.

Bob Holman coproduced the PBS series, The United States of Poetry and is the proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club.  He serves as a visiting professor at both NYU and Columbia. Holman’s work as a poet engages him in the study of the history and lineages of this oral poetry movement – work made difficult because of its transient nature and nonliterary consciousness.  It was his investigation into the roots of Hip Hop poetry that led him to study with the Griots of West Africa. He is currently working on two documentary film projects about the world’s endangered languages.

Argentina Palacios-Zeigler writes for children and is a translator of Spanish to English and English to Spanish. She is also a storyteller and a volunteer.

Bill Pearson is a media and business service consultant with Gallup Hill, LLC. He earned an MBA from Columbia University as well as degrees in ethnomusicology and worked as an ethnomusicologist in the public sector before going into business. He has served as CEO and CFO of a number of media corporations.

Marilyn M. White is professor of Anthropology at Kean University in Union, NJ, where she teaches courses in cultural anthropology and in African American Studies. She has a Master’s and Ph.D. in folklore, and her areas of interest include African American folklore, family folklore, folk narratives, and jokes and humor.

Wendy Wolf is an editor at Viking Penguin, where she specializes in nonfiction, primarily history, science, biography, and politics.

Ex Officio Board Members

Anna Mulé is a professional photographer, multimedia producer and folklorist. She studied folklore/ethnomusicology (M.A.) and journalism (M.A.) at Indiana University and combines these fields to bring ethnographic research to public audiences, focusing on traditional artists and art forms. Anna has collaborated with many folklore organizations to produce multimedia pieces and websites that reflect the voices of the community (see mediafolk.org). She is also the director of digital marketing at Wagner College and lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

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