project leader
Jennifer R
Southern Boulevard and 174th Street
The Bronx (Morrisania)
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the project

In 2013, WHEDco was selected to work in collaboration with the Design Trust for Public Space in the city-wide initiative, “Under the Elevated,” which engages community leaders, planners, and cultural organizations to develop strategies to improve space underneath elevated trains, in partnership with the Department of Transportation.

What do YOU want under the elevated? Over several months, we asked this question of people in the Bronx: on the street under the elevated 2/5 subway tracks that run over Southern Boulevard; at public meetings; at local events; at community design workshops; and anywhere people wanted to share their thoughts. The most common responses? “Better lighting;” “trees/art/beautification;” “more/different businesses;” “benches… while waiting for the bus;” “hip-hop… salsa.” The low and loud 2/5 trains create a noisy, dim environment under the tracks, and the comments show that residents are eager for a more pleasant environment.

Design Trust Fellow Chat Travieso worked closely with WHEDco, considered these challenges, incorporated community feedback, and created the Bronx Boogie Down Booth: a seating area with localized speakers that play Bronx music curated by the Bronx Music Heritage Center, and uses solar power to add lighting—a solution that addresses beautification, safety, convenience, and community pride.

the steps

Once the money is raised, the designer will tweak the Booth design to respond to a new site, incorporating what we've learned from the first booth to improve impact. The Bronx Music Heritage Center will develop a Bronx music playlist by curating a selection of music; seeking permissions from artists, releases, and licensing; securing suitable recordings; and programming the playlist. Once approved, we will build the new design and launch with a rousing community celebration, anticipated for early Spring 2015.

why we're doing it

This project serves several key purposes in an area that regularly struggles with challenges in physical environment. The immediate atmosphere under the elevated trains is noisy and dim—the Boogie Down Booth addresses these issues through using Bronx music to dampen the train, and lighting to illuminate the otherwise dark places. By creating a positive identity for the neighborhood, it better communicates the deep connection between the area and its influential—but often overlooked—music and cultural history to visitors, while affirming pride for the legacy of the Bronx. The pervasive image of the Bronx as burning, ravaged, and abandoned is no longer an apt description of the place or the people who live and work here. The booths have additional short term goals, including: increased vibrancy and foot traffic along the Boulevard; area residents and employees attracted to shop local; safety issues addressed through visual enhancements and lighting on booths as well as more activity; and promotion of the entire corridor to the benefit of all merchants and businesses. 


iPod Nano $150.00
Music licensing/fees - 20 songs @ $135/each (estimates) $2,700.00
Recording/editing fees (local merchants record spots) $150.00

SUBTOTAL = $3,000
ioby Platform Fee  $35
3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $90

RAISED = $157.00
ioby Platform Fee  waived
3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $4.57



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