- The discussion at Duare Square just might be the start of something “crate.” Last Thursday, crates had been set up to create the “TALK” sign in front of the large white tent at Duarte Square. Photos by Lincoln Anderson
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | The talking at the Talking Transition tent at Duarte Square, at Canal St. and Sixth Ave., is set to begin Sat., Nov. 9, at 9 a.m., when the mysterious “think tent” officially opens for a two-week run.
With Bill de Blasio set to take office in January after Mayor Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure, the program is designed as a way to engage the public in the first-ever “open” mayoral transition. The tent will stay open every day through Sat., Nov. 23, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. All of the programs are interactive.
At 1:30 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 9, the tent will host a discussion called “Budget 360.” Senior city budget officials and watchdogs, led by Mindy Tarlow, executive director of Center for Employment Opportunities, will hold an interactive conversation about the state of the city’s budget and budgetary challenges facing the upcoming administration.
At 6 p.m., there will be a panel discussion focusing on Brooklyn’s “innovation economy” — with entrepreneurs in fields from robotics to distilleries — with an after-party to follow.
On Sun., Nov. 10, at 11 a.m., work will begin on a large, ongoing mural inside the tent that will be led by the Groundswell public-art organization. With suggestions and input from participants, Groundswell teen artists will illustrate how arts and culture can create a more just and equitable city for all New Yorkers.
At 6 p.m. Sunday, there will be a communal dinner with comfort food, talking about food and inequality in the city. Due to a limited quantity of food, an RSVP is required: Go to http://www.talkingtransitionnyc.com/ to sign up for the dinner.
Talking Transition is a joint effort by hedge-fund billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Revson Foundation, New York Women’s Foundation, New York Community Trust, New York Foundation, North Star Fund, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Brooklyn Community Foundation.
Trinity Church provided space for the tent on the lot. Trinity eventually hopes to develop the site with a new residential tower, with a public school in its base.
“This election — and this transition — in particular are a signal moment in New York City’s fortunes,” said Christopher Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations. “We are taking the opportunity to keep the energy and engagement alive after the voting is done.”
“This is a 21st-century soapbox,” said Cecilia Clarke, president and C.E.O. of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “As a community foundation, we’re confident that Talking Transition will help inform the new administration’s agenda by bringing seldom-heard community voices to the table and providing the best solutions for problems facing Brooklyn, as well as the entire city.”
“Digital engagement” will be play a key role during and after the initiative, according to a press release. Participants will be encouraged to tweet their ideas, questions and concerns to the unique handle, @TalkNYC2013 and to use #TalkingTransition. The initiative’s Web site,www.TalkingTransitionNYC.com, will be used to survey New Yorkers and subsequently display the results.
The digital engagement tool gives New Yorkers the ability to weigh in on crucial issues in city governance, including how good or bad city services currently are in neighborhoods, and how much better or worse they have been getting recently. At the end of the initiative, this data will be opened to all New Yorkers and presented with “compelling graphics” of the issues New Yorkers are talking about most.
Talking Transition team staffers getting ready last Thursday for Saturday’s opening.