It’s no secret that women’s accomplishments since time immemorial have often been systematically ignored or neglected. But a new project conceived by a Greenpoint local just might change that.
The All Along project hopes to serve as a necessary corrective to the lack of honored women in local public spaces. Jane Pool, a Greenpoint resident of almost twenty-five years involved with various activist causes, is one of the brains behind the campaign.
“During #MeToo, I got kind of stirred up. Seeing that my kids didn’t learn much [about] women’s history – it was kind of a footnote during Women’s History Month, where they’d be given a “Read five paragraphs and answer three short questions!” about a woman every week. There wasn’t much context to it,” Pool told Greenpointers over Zoom. “I grew up and learned ‘Betsy Ross sewed the flag.’ That was women’s history when I was growing up.”
Pool considered the lack of women’s representation not just in textbooks, but in the physical places that we inhabit. “What if we went to each [community board] district in New York City and helped people establish committees and find women who have been impactful or historically significant in their communities?” Pool recalled.
Instead of the huge undertaking of renaming preexisting buildings and monuments, Pool’s idea was to find a prominent path in each of the fifty-nine community board districts that could display bricks with a QR code. You can scan the code and learn more about a woman in your community. Ideally, this could be coupled with an online database to help users sort through women from around the city.
Pool brought the idea to the attention of her friend Jane Lea, an architect with her own firm. Alongside a tech-savvy employee, the team hopes to present the concept to more community boards soon.
“Currently only 1.9% of the 3,893 public parks, playgrounds, and monuments in NYC honor women,” states a concept package from LEA Architecture. “There are currently 592 POPS [Privately Owned Public Spaces] and more than 2,500 Greenstreets and almost all are unnamed or dedicated. If we used every single one of those as a potential site, we could change that percentage to 47.2%.”
There are, in fact, only five statues of women in New York City public spaces.
Pool mentioned further women’s history-centered events coming up in the weeks ahead through her group National Congress of Neighborhood Women. Stay updated here.