New York City is a place that many people have lifelong memories of. Whether you were born here, moved, or came for a visit, you’ll certainly document moments that will last forever. People never forget where they came from. The neighborhood you grow up in plays a significant role in your upbringing and culture. Everything learned growing up comes from the neighborhood you grew up in. The good, the bad, and everything in between.
The neighborhoods that played a role in my upbringing were Parkchester and Co-op City. I’ve lived in the Parkchester section of the Bronx for 20 years. I’ve made countless friends, gone to school, and adapted to the culture of the neighborhood. In Co-op City, I landed my first internship with the community newspaper. I’ve spent time here with countless family members and created memories that I will never forget. They are two locations in the Bronx that are close to each other and places where most of my time has been spent in my life. My job in this project is to enlighten my peers of the significance of these two neighborhoods in the Bronx. I want to tell a story that will resonate with my peers and in turn, make them reflect on the neighborhoods they grew up in.
The project is done in Esri Story Maps. Instagram was my second option, but I never planned on using the app to complete the assignment. There was a bit of a learning getting used to story maps. Tutorials on the web helped me complete the project and get familiar with the tools they offer. I used the cascade format in story maps, which allows you to present a story with immersive features by just scrolling down the page. I’ve added pictures and videos to some of the entries to highlight important places in those neighborhoods. The design comes default from the cascade format, so there isn’t much done other than that. I added context to the videos and images being displayed in the background. I think this does a great job providing information to those that may not know what is going on while the media is being shown. The colors in the project come from the media that is shown. There wasn’t anything added to enhance the features that are already there.
The video featured displaying Co-op City shows off the housing development, nature, parks, and schools in the community. I wanted to find something that would pay homage to the largest cooperative housing development in the world, and I think the video was successful in doing that. The drone captures a wide aerial angle of the whole community. Before Co-op City got its name, it was once known as Freedomland U.S.A. This was an amusement park that opened in 1960. It carried the slogan “The World’s Largest Entertainment Center”. The park had several themed areas representing a specific United States location at some point in history. “Little Old New York”, Chicago, The Great Plains, and The Old Southwest were popular sections that were featured in the amusement park. They all took place in the 1800s and showcased bars, restaurants, and famous streets that were significant to the respective areas. In 1964, the park filed for bankruptcy and later shut down. Freedomland U.S.A later became known as Co-op City.
A picture of Metropolitan Oval is featured in one of the entries in story maps. The location is sometimes called “The Oval” and it’s a prominent location in the neighborhood. Everyone in the neighborhood knows where the oval is, and those that aren’t familiar with area often use the area as a reference point when they’re in the area. The oval follows the trend of the intricate patterns and sculptures that are seen in Parkchester. The oval has been used for many events and functions. Mostly, it serves as a relaxation spot for residents to hang out with their families during warm weather. The oval hosts concerts, skits, and other performances throughout the summer. There have been flea markets where all kinds of items can be bought. Many politicians have also had speeches during campaigns at the oval.
The map in the following entry just provides a perspective of the oval and the surrounding areas. It shows the oval and other popular spots that are in Parkchester. Schools and parks can also been seen in the map. These places have been part of Parkchester for as long as I can remember.
The aforementioned information were found through various sources as I was completing my project. I acquired them from articles, videos, and archived newspapers from the Co-op City Times. The newspapers were easy to obtain since I currently interning at the publication. The needed citations are posted in the presentations. Some of the information comes from my own prior knowledge from living in the area so long.
As stated before, I hope my peers will take this presentation and later reflect on the neighborhoods that they grew up in. Like my Co-op City entry, my peers could look into the rich history that they may not have known before. The Parkchester entry features a hub that people in the area are familiar with. I hope my appreciation for the area leads them to look into landmarks and hubs in their community. We tend to overlook and take for granted the beauty that we walk past everyday and seeks gratification from elsewhere.
This project was a learning experience for me. I learned how to use Esri Story Maps, a tool that I may have never used if it weren’t for this class. I learned so much more about the neighborhoods I’ve been in for the last 20 years. I thought I knew it all about Parkchester and Co-op City. This project enlightened me to rich history that I didn’t know before. I think the biggest challenge was getting used to story maps. It’s something that I was completely foreign to before the class. Another challenge I faced was which locations should I focus on in the project. After doing research, I realized that there were a lot more history than I anticipated.