AHNY friend and former Writing New York TA Spence Keralis passes on a link to a wonderful, continuously expanding site sponsored in part by New York Public Library: Abecedarium:NYC.
The project’s blog describes the site this way:
is an interactive online exhibition that reflects on the history,
geography, and culture — both above and below ground — of New York City
through 26 unusual words. Using original video, animation, photography
and sound, Abecedarium:NYC constructs
visual relationships between these select words and specific locations
in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
Each word — whether it’s A for audile or Z for zenana — leads to a different short video and a location in the city that you may never have experienced before. In selenography (the study of the moon), amateur astronomers celebrate the wonders of the night sky at Staten Island’s Great Kills State Park. In open city (a metropolis without defense), the ruins of military installations throughout the five boroughs decay with time. Chatty teenagers in a Flushing, Queens cafe drink bubble tea in xenogenesis (the phenomenon of children markedly different from their parents). In diglot
(a bilingual person), a Chinese accountant, Albanian baker, Palestinian
falafel maker, Argentine film archivist and Cuban cigar maker speak
candidly about their daily routines. In mofette (an opening in the earth from which carbon monoxide escapes) mysterious gases flow from gaps in the streets of Manhattan.
The experience of visiting Abecedarium:NYC
is more than watching, listening and learning. Visitors to the project
are invited to respond to existing content as well as to share their
own experience of New York City by contributing original videos,
soundscapes, photos or texts to the project blog. As more users
contribute, the project grows in size, scope and experience, and
transforms into a destination for sharing and learning about every
facet of the city.
The blog itself is a little odd: if you want to see posts in chronological order, you’ll have to search under the “dates” tab at the head of the welcome page. The whole thing seems designed to lead you down the path of hours spent exploring.
The perfect site for people who love words as much as they love New York.