At a time when immigration issues and policy are being hotly debated throughout the nation, Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a new America shares the stories, sounds, and images that reveal the human toll of a cold- and post-cold war-world, and pre- and post-9/11 world. Created by documentary artists Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloan, Crossing the BLVD forms a portrait of a paradoxical and ever-shifting America. It intimately portrays the lives of new immigrants and refugees living in Queens, NY, a modern-day Ellis Island where cultures overlap in a choreography of chaotic co-existence. For three years Lehrer/Sloan traveled the world by trekking the streets of their home borough in search of migration stories and a deeper connection to their diverse community. They began their project in 1999 by conducting storytelling workshops in libraries, high schools and community centers throughout Queens. Their journey continued through 2002 via photographic portraits and extended interviews in bodegas, family-owned restaurants, places of worship, public housing projects and private homes. The result is an extraordinary book of photographs and stories, an audio CD, a series of public radio documentaries, a reading/performance tour, a website, and a traveling exhibition of photographic prints, sound stations, and a Mobile Story Booth, allowing one to add one’s own portrait and story to the Crossing repository.
*Winner 2004 Brendan Gill Prize from Municipal Art Society of New York The prize is awarded annually to the creator of a building, book, essay, poem, lyric, song, composition, play, painting, sculpture, landscape or any other work of art which best captures the energy of New York.
* Winner Best of Best Award, Trade Photography, New York Book Show 2004
* Winner 2003 Innovative Use of Archives Award, Archivist Roundtable of New York. "For exploding the paradigms of oral history and reinterpreting them for our multimedia century..."
* Selected One of the Best Books and CDs of Indie Culture 2004, "A one-of-a kind amazingly designed book portraying immigrant Americans today." Utne Reader
* Selected One of the Best Illustrated Books of 2003 "Innovatively brings to life the most diverse county in the country... An arresting, vividly printed mosaic." Publishers Weekly
"Immigrant life in Queens, as told in the intimate, rich, comic, ironic and sad stories so often seen but not heard in America's big cities..." The Washington Post
"An offbeat tour of one of the country’s most ethnically diverse counties... Riveting stories about a new wave of immigrants to America..." The New York Times
“Truth isn't always stranger than fiction, but it can be a lot more interesting. Crossing the BLVD is a rich...varied listening experience, a demonstration of the way you can explore the world without leaving home. BLVD emphasises the rhythmic musicality of everyday speech. You hear laughter, sorrow and many moving tales of hardship, flight, splintered families and the difficulties of assimilation. A turbo-driven Eyewitness guide - and riveting first-person testimonies.” The Guardian, London
"In the new typographical and geographical adventure Crossing the BLVD, immigrants from all over the world tell their harrowing, thrilling, inspiring stories... New Haven Advocate
"An incredible, moving story... Oral history with a twist." The World, BBC / Public Radio International
"This stunningly innovative book goes beyond pathos, into the kaleidoscope of experience that defines real immigrant life, in all its complexity..." City Limits
"Crossing the BLVD boldly carries the tradition of oral history into the 21st Century..." Eve Ensler, Author, The Vagina Monologues
"A book of stunning originality, tremendous visual flair and cinematic depth.."
Alan Berliner, Filmmaker, INTIMATE STRANGER, NOBODY’S BUSINESS
“CROSSING brims over with the energy, heart and spirit that went into creating this important work.”
Dave Isay, Documentary Radio Artist GHETTO LIFE 101, THE SUNSHINE HOTEL
“The significance of this extraordinary volume is that, ready or not it provides a glimpse of the new America which is emerging.” Ron Daniels Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
“BLVD brings alive the most polyglot place on the planet. An outstanding book on the new New York!” John Kuo Wei Tchen, Historian, New York University & Co-founder of the Museum of Chinese in the Americas
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