Reminiscing about your neighborhood can be a fun way for older and newer generations to bond and celebrate their history.
Especially with the rapid changes occurring in Queens due to development, increased population, immigration and socio-economic shifts, it is important to keep a record of where neighborhoods started and how they’ve grown since.
To preserve that history, the Queens Library has partnered with Historypin — a nonprofit project that enables communities to collaborate around local history — to organize “Queens: Neighborhood Stories.”
The project, made possible through funding from the Metropolitan New York Library Council, allows Queens residents both old and new to share their photos, video clips, audio recordings, stories and memories online.
“Metro has a rich recent history of helping libraries provide access to collections through digitization and we’re extremely pleased to fund this partnership between Queens Library and Historypin that will even further facilitate this work,” Anne Karle-Zenith, the digital services manager at Metro New York Library, said in an announcement.
The materials posted on the website can be mapped, dated and overlaid in an online Street View, allowing visitors to scroll through decades of history and explore the changes areas like Main Street in Flushing and Onderdonk Avenue in Ridgewood have undergone.
As many of the photos, audio and video clips are old, the Queens Library is assisting those who have not digitized their records and will upload them to the website for free.
The project has just begun to pick up steam and the library is looking to help local organizations to run community activities similar to the first one, which is being held in Long Island City, in their own neighborhoods.
Residents who participate in these community activities will also be able to take home a thumb drive with digital copies of their materials.
“We are interested in partnering with small organizations like the Bayside Historical Society that can benefit from our digitization resources, and whose valuable holdings can enrich our digital collections,” Kelvin Watson, Queens Library’s vice president of digital service and strategy, said in a written statement.
All materials collected and digitized through community activities will be added to a webpage on historypin.com to enable discovery and public enrichment. They will also enter the Queens Library’s permanent archival collections.