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'Whose Streets, Our Streets,' New Walking Tour Web App, Documents Queer Resistance In New York City

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WHOSE STREETS OUR STREETS APP
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UPDATE on December 1, 2013: It appears the website for "Whose Streets, Our Streets" is not working at this time.

"Whose Streets, Our Streets" is a smart phone-enabled walking tour that features sites of queer resistance in New York City. The new web application was created by Wesley Flash and Anne Goodfriend, New York University and Eugene Lang graduates, who were inspired by LGBTQ narratives, mobile technologies and public art.

Using QR codes, curious participants perusing the neighborhoods of New York City can learn about the streets that they're traveling on. While walking through a physical space and scanning a code via a phone or tablet, users can follow the digital markers to simultaneously review photos, videos and historic information about a specific spot in the city in real time.

Locations currently featured on the app include Christopher Park, near the Stonewall Inn, and the site of the East Village's STAR House, which was a site for transgender and queer people of color who were often homeless.

The application's name was chosen to specifically pay homage to activists who rioted at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969 and chanted, "Whose Streets? Our Streets!"

Gay NYC videographer of the 1980s, Nelson Sullivan, whose work is featured in "Who's Streets, Our Streets," also inspired Flash and Goodfriend.

"I knew I wanted to start the project in New York because I was thinking a lot about a couple of things: Nelson Sullivan's archives and gentrification, layers of history in urban spaces (like the quick turnover of stores), and ghosts (as in what kinds of energies are still around us under all the layers of urban renewal). Then I saw a video of Sylvia Rivera at Washington Square in 1973, which we feature and had a gut reaction of what if you could watch this video in the exact place she's standing? Flash told HuffPost Gay Voices.

"That felt so powerful to me. Nelson's work speaks to me that way too. We walk around these streets all the time and don't know their histories so I was interested in mapping that out. When I learned that Nelson's house is now a restaurant and cocktail bar and Star House is an expensive apartment building, I knew I wanted to honor these histories being forgotten in the face of constant urban renewal. Anne and I also have personal connections to the city and specifically the Village. We also wanted to mark our own queerness in these sites in some way."

Among others who are featured in the project is RuPaul. "We feature a few from Nelson's cast of characters like RuPaul, especially. Theres an amazing video of her hanging out with Nelson before a pride event on the 20th anniversary of Stonewall in 1989. At the end they all greet a parade of drag queens in Judy Garland drag outside the Stonewall. It's mesmerizing," Flash said.

On March 29, Flash and Goodfriend won the "Best of Show" award at the 2013 Urban Exposure: Out In Public arts contest presented by NYU Wagner's Stonewall Policy Alliance, Urban Planning Student Association, and Student Network Exploring Arts and Culture.

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