Wednesday, November 14, 2007

City Wants "Brooklyn Abolitionism Commemoration" Proposals

The Underground Railroad Houses on Duffield Street in Downtown Brooklyn may eventually fall to bulldozers, but it's looking more and more likely that the city is putting up some sort of museum or other commemoration at the site or in another location. The New York City Economic Development Corp., which is in charge of the project at Willoughby Square, has issued an RFP,with responses due on February 1. The EDC's website says it will:
select an existing New York City-based Section 501(c)(3) arts, cultural, educational, or historical organization to develop and manage a commemoration program dedicated to the ‘historical friendships’ among people of different backgrounds created during the 19th century Abolitionist Movement, with particular attention paid to the Underground Railroad and its ties to the Borough of Brooklyn.
Duffield Street Underground, which covers all things related to the Duffield Street project writes:
It's unclear what all this means so soon after the RFP was released. On the one hand it's a great victory that the EDC will allow for a museum on the site of their planned parking lot that until this week would have destroyed the Duffield Abolitionist homes. On the other hand, the RFP does not appear to require a museum, so 227 Duffield is not yet safe.
The RFP itself says a proposal has to:
Provide an interactive, public gathering venue where individuals and groups of all ages can learn about the Abolitionist Movement and the Underground Railroad in
Brooklyn.
The Duffield Street buildings are on land that would be part of a 1.25 acre park which would sit atop a 700-car parking garage.

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