Explore NYC’s Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts

Explore NYC’s Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts

Some cultural districts are planned as part of initiatives from institutions and cities, while others spring up more organically in the context of their neighborhoods. “Naturally occurring cultural districts” are self-organized through community action, and cultivated by a diverse range of artists, participants and audiences over time. Tapping into and strengthening community assets, local cultural clusters stimulate social, civic, and economic benefits within communities and across them.

Join OHNY and Fourth Arts Block and tour three different neighborhoods with local artists and organizations that have helped shape these distinct cultural communities. And get a discount on tickets when you attend all three!



Fourth Arts Block, East Village
Saturday April 30 at 1pm

Fourth Arts Block (FAB) is rooted in the Lower East Side’s long history of hosting community and cultural spaces that served marginalized immigrants, artists, and activists. In the 1960s and 70s, East 4th Street coalesced as a center for experimental theater and film.

Four decades later, the block’s cultural groups founded FAB to preserve and develop these historic arts spaces. Tour East 4th Street theaters and learn how FAB weaves the arts with neighboring small businesses to strengthen a distinctive East Village cultural and community identity.

Buy tickets here.



Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (Greenpoint)
Saturday May 21 at 1pm
The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center’s (GMDC) flagship project is a 300,000 square foot complex of buildings built between 1868 and 1910 for the textile industry. When the City wanted to close the building in the 1980s after taking it in tax foreclosure, a group of industrial business and artist tenants came together with community organizations and elected officials to shape a redevelopment plan that would convert the property into an arts and industry center, managed by the non-profit GMDC.

Today, the Manhattan Avenue complex has 75 small business and artisan tenants, and 350 employees from adjacent communities work here. Come tour the building and meet some of the artisanal businesses that call GMDC home.

Buy tickets here.

El Puente, South Williamsburg/Los Sures
Saturday June 18 at 1pm
El Puente is a community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness & environmental action. As a place-based organization with deep roots in the neighborhood, El Puente’s six sites have grown into hubs of community action in multiple areas—in line with El Puente’s principle of Holistic learning.

Walk Los Sures (The Southside of Williamsburg) with us to experience the rich history of indigenous arts and culture that springs forth from self-determination. We honor the history and vibrancy of artists and artisans living & working in North Brooklyn by visiting local landmarks such as the beautiful outdoor murals of Los Muralsitas, our local community garden Espiritu Tierra, and the favorite haunts of El Puente CADRE (Community Artists’ Development & Resource Exchange) members.

Buy tickets here.

Download the report on Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts.

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