Join Us in Celebrating Union Square's History

Union Square, Then & Now

Thursday Oct 23, 4-7 pm

South end of Union Square Park, NYC

For information about the Draw-A-Thon contact [email protected] or 347-693-8857.

For general information contact [email protected] or 212-987-0565.


see Detailed Information Below for submission details.


Open invitation to the general public – come by to draw!

Participants are also invited to submit drawings will be selected by a jury that consists of:

Martha Wilson – Executive Director of Franklin Furnace

Dara Greenwald – artist, activist, and co-curator of ‘Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures from the 1960’s to Now’ currently on view at Exit Art

Amanda McDonald Crowley – Executive Director of Eyebeam

Drawings produced at the Oct 23rd at the temporary Drawing Station in Union Square’s south end from 4-6 pm will be made into hand held signs to be carried at the rally at 6 pm.

Commissioned Artwork by:

Jesse Goldstein, Steve Lambert, Chris Rubino, Steve Marcus, Carolyn Ryder Cooley, Joan Linder


Kevin Baker, Author

Andrea Williams, New York Society for Acoustic Ecology


Joshua J. Freeman, Historian, CUNY Grad Center

Ed Ott, Executive Director, NYC Central Labor Council AFL-CIO

Denis Hughes, President, NY State AFL-CIO

Deborah Glick, NYS Assembly Member

Richard N. Gottfried, NYS Assembly Member

Donna Schaper, Senior Pastor, Judson Memorial Church

Geoffrey Croft, President, NYC Park Advocates


Rev. Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping

The Approaching Storm Stepper Club & Marching Band


September 12, 2008 marked the 10th anniversary of the dedication of Union Square Park as a National Historic Landmark. It is a designation that includes its historical role as the site of the first Labor Day Parade on September 5, 1882, and the subsequent legislation for a national Labor Day holiday.  Since this day, Union Square’s Pavilion and North Plaza have been primary sites for large public parades and rallies where the principles of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are alive for us as they were for Sacco and Vanzetti, Norman Thomas, Cesar Chavez, Emma Goldman, Paul Robeson, and their like.

We invite you to join a wide spectrum of the public to celebrate this remarkable legacy with a program at Union Square Park on Thursday, October 23, 2008, in the South Plaza, near the statue of George Washington. Activities will take place between 4-7 pm with speakers and performers between 6 and 7 pm. Like the original commemoration in 1998, the program will include a number of stirring speakers from the ranks of labor unions and elected officials as well as a historical perspective by a keynote speaker, musical acts, walking tours, visual representations of historical events, and a Draw-a-Thon, where the public can imagine the future of the pavilion.  It promises to be a memorable occasion.


NYC Central Labor Council AFL-CIO; NY State AFL-CIO; D.C. 37; United Federation of Teachers/AFL-CIO; NY Labor History Association; Historic Districts Council; Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Assembly Member Deborah Glick; NYC Park Advocates; Union Square Community Coalition; Workers Defense League; Rev. Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping; Chelsea Midtown Democrats; A.R.T.I.S.T.; Billionaires for Bush; Citizens for Union Square; Free103Point9; Judson Memorial Church;; Not an Alternative; The “Our” Labrynth Project; Pond: art, activism, and ideas; Radical Homosexual Agenda; Restaurant Opportunity Center, Time’s UP; 250+ Friends of New York City Parks; Union Square Not For Sale; and more.

Parks for People Draw-A-Thon Info & Submission Information:

For over 130 years, the park’s pavilions have served as a playspace for children, bandstand, a reviewing stand, a speakers’ rostrum, and as a focal point for labor rallies and social protests. It is a place rich with the history of public assembly, free speech, and social activism in New York City.  Despite this illustrious history, the Business Improvement District is attempting to turn the pavilion into an upscale restaurant.

Our goal is to invite citizens to consider alternate public uses of the park and let the BID know that the general public will not accept a compromise on their right to public space ­ the public wants PARKS FOR PEOPLE 24/7.

Drawings produced at the Oct 23rd at the temporary Drawing Station in Union Square’s south end from 4-7 pm will be made into hand held signs to be carried at the celebration beginning at 6 pm.

Up to 6 drawings will be used in a calendar entitled ‘Parks for People 24/7′ that illustrates year-round alternate uses of the park’s pavilion.  This calendar will be published at the end of November. At that time, it will be hand delivered to those corporations, the judge who issued the temporary injunction on the pavilion’s reconstruction, and elected officials (including Mayor Bloomberg) currently in charge of Union Square’s privatization. The calendar will also be sold at a low-cost, the proceeds of which contribute to the ongoing campaign to save Union Square Park.

Selected drawing will also be featured on various groups’ websites involved as organizers such as Pond: art, activism, and ideas (, Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping (

 Submission Information

Participants who prefer to send drawings in advance should send work so that it is received by Oct 21st, 12 pm in one of the following formats:

 By email:

[email protected]

File formats: outlined PDF with images embedded, hi resolution JPEG, TIFF, BMP, etc. Digital files should be no more than 4 Mb.

By snail mail:

The Immediate Life, Box 1556, New York, NY 10013

 In person:

from 4-6 pm at the Drawing Station that will be temporarily set up at the South End of Union Square Park

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For information about the Draw-A-Thon contact [email protected] or 347-693-8857

For general information contact [email protected] or 212-987-0565

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