Our Favorite Quotes about City Lore & City Lore in the Pages of The New York Times and other Major Publications

“What I love about City Lore is that you’re such wise renegades.”
          –Sonnet Takahisa, City Lore member

“City Lore takes on the practical sides of a utopian endeavor.”
          –Marc Kaminsky, Writer and poet

“I hate to see people throwing good things out just to keep up with modern times. That’s why City Lore is so important.”
         –Khadijah ShaheedCommunity liaison

Evaluation by Dr. William Westerman commissioned by the Artography initiative of LINC, funded by the Ford Foundation:

It’s hard to understand what City Lore does in terms of art-making without first understanding how folklorists think of the concept of art.   It is as if in Western society what is seen as the arts is equivalent to the visible light in the spectrum, whereas folklorists see the art across the whole spectrum, from ultraviolet to infrared.  That full range of creative expression is what concerns the mission of City Lore, and it includes history and memory, language and religion, food and gardens, lace and place. 

The difference between City Lore and other arts programs is not simply that the arts presented are folk and traditional arts, but that City Lore’s arts are traditional and modern, and a great deal of the artmaking takes place in the collaborations of different cultural organizations and artists, and in the ties between the traditional and the way that contemporary New Yorkers use and adapt their traditions in their current work, whether they are professionals or schoolchildren.  In this way, musical and poetic forms that build on traditional genres – including hip-hop, mambo, spoken word and written poetry – are part of a continuum of artistic practice that recognizes and builds upon deep genealogical connections to the past without being bound by them.  It is in this way that City Lore’s work gets far beyond nostalgia, because the thrust is always forward-looking, not referring to what once was and could never be again, but building creatively with respect for the cultural foundations that exist.

City Lore in the Pages of The New York Times and other Press

Selected Articles, 2011-2021

“New Play Looks at ‘Bonacker’ Fishermen of Long Island”
Rooted in Long Island Folklore, Salt Water People by Jake Barton was produced in the City Lore Gallery and reviewed in The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2019. Read it here.  

“Place Matters: Rooting Conservation in Community”.
The Journal of American Folklore, 2019, 132 (526): 412–430. 

“Coney Island Of Memory”
A review by Violet Baron of the City Lore exhibit, Boardwalk Renaissance: How the Arts Saved Coney Island in Penn Gazzette, April 28, 2016. Read it here.

Selected Articles, The New York Times,  2005-2011

“Where Stories are Remembered.” October 6, 2011.
A portrait of Kewulay Kamara who is recreating and documenting an epic handed down in his family in Sierra Leone in collaboration with City Lore. Read it Here

“Looking South, Not East into New York’s Past.” September 16, 2010.
A review by Edward Rothstein of the exhibition Nueva York at El Museo del Barrio curated by City Lore. Read it Here

“Seeing the City through the Memories of Others.” June 8, 2008.
A review of City Lore new www.cityofmemory.org web site. Read it Here

“The Charms of Yiddish Theater.” November 26, 2006. 
A review of City Lore’s volume Hidden New York by Steve Zeitlin and Marci Reaven. Read it Here

“Mambo and Hip Hop: Two Sounds, One Sense of Dignity.” September 14, 2006.
A review of City Lore’s documentary film, From Mambo to Hip Hop.  Read it Here

“Break-Dancing Women Battle Bloodlessly.” August 12, 2006.
A review of the We B*Girls break dance performance. Read it Here

“Found in Translation: Endangered Languages.” April 21, 2006.
Discusses the inclusion of endangered languages in the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

Selected Articles,The New York Times, 2000-2004

“With Few Luxuries, an Artist Sticks to It.” December 12, 2004.
Article about Jim Power and the People’s Hall of Fame. Read it Here

“A Subway Philosopher Who Was Homeless but Far From Friendless.” April 20, 2004.
Article about Tony Butler and City Lore. Read it Here

“The Ballad of the Ballad, Poetry’s Bearer of Bad News.” April 11, 2003.
Article by Billy Collins about the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“Honoring Alan Lomax, Folk-Music Crusader.” April 14, 2003.
Article about the Alan Lomax Tribute, mentions City Lore and the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“His Incessant Racket Coaxes Steel Drums to Sing.” November 1, 2002.
Article about Rudy King and the People’s Hall of Fame. Read it Here

“Vessels of a City’s Grief.” March 8, 2002.
Article about the “Missing: Streetscape of a City in Mourning” exhibit and the New York Historical Society. Read it Here

“Filipino Rap Debates City Life, Pro and Con.” April 15, 2001.
Article about balagtasan. Read it Here

“Spare Times.” March 30, 2001.
Description of the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“Pop and Jazz Guide.” March 30, 2001.
Announcement of Patti Smith’s performance at the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“The History That’s Not in Books.” March 18, 2001.
Overview of the City Lore website. Read it Here

“Poetry for the People In Downtown New York.” March 18, 2001.
Description of the People’s Poetry Project. Read it Here

“A Poet, Barred at the Gate.” March 25, 2001.
Article about Saba Kidane and the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“In the Footsteps of Mambo Kings.” September 8, 2000.
Description of the South Bronx Latin Music Project. Read it Here

“A Beer Garden in Astoria Shelters a Lost Era.” November 2, 2000.
Article about Place Matters and the Bohemian Beer Garden. Read it Here

Selected Articles, The New York Times, 1995 – 1999

“Oral Traditions Converge as Poets Go Out for a Drink.” April 12, 1999.
Article about the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“Poets Will Converge Upon Manhattan.” March 14, 1999.
Description of the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“Underground, Creative Rap Is Thriving.” April 7, 1999.
Article about the Braggin Rites competition and the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“Storyteller Tries to Lift Up a Ravaged Land.” April 7, 1999.
Article about Kewulay Kamara and the People’s Poetry Gathering. Read it Here

“Candy and a Taste of Home.” November 29, 1998.
Article of People’s Hall of Fame Inductee Tariq Hamid. Read it Here“Strangling Culture with a Copyright Law.” April 25, 1998.
Steve Zeitlin’s Op Ed piece on folklore and copyright law. Read it Here

“Overdue Fame For Preserving That Rhythm.” May 7, 1997.
Article on People’s Hall of Fame inductees the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band.” Read it Here“The Asphalt Diamond.” May 25, 1997.
Article on People’s Hall of Fame inductees the Bronx Old-Timers Stickball Team. Read it Here “The Land of Stories and Memories.” August 9, 1997.
Article by Steve Zeitlin on Coney Island. “Art Guide.” September 26, 1997. Review of “The Weavings of War.” Read it Here

Life’s Thread Stiched Into Quilts.” April 4, 1996.

Article on African-American “An Urban Folk Hero, Captive to the Drums.” November 17, 1998. Article on People’s Hall of Fame Inductee Frisner Augustin. Read it Here

“Disturbing the Peace.” April 28, 1996.

“Gospel Roots Reaching the Heart and the Soul.” October 3, 1995.
Article about the film “We Love You Like A Rock.” Read it Here

Selected Articles, The New York Times, 1985 – 1994

“End of the One-Liners on the IRT.” August 27, 1993.
Article on Harry Nugent. Read it Here

“At the Meals on Reels Film Festival, Chicken Soup and a Tasty Frenchman.” March 18, 1992.
Article on the Meals on Reels film festival. Read it Here

“A Musical Journey on the ‘Downhome Corner.” June 19, 1992.
Article on the Somos Boricua festival. Read it Here

“Toe-to-Toe Over a Checkerboard.” December 7, 1991.
Article on the Brooklyn Elite Pool Checker Club with a quote from Steve Zeitlin. Read it Here

“The City as Game Board.” December 9, 1990.
Review of “City Play.” Read it Here

“Sounds Around Town.” June 22, 1990.
Announcement of “City Lore ’90, the New New Yorkers.” Read it Here

Street Life: Keeping ‘Beloved Places.’” March 28, 1988.
Article on the Endangered Places project. Read it Here

“Studying New York Children at Play.” September 18, 1985.
Article about City Lore’s street play initiative. Read it Here