Category Archives: Uncategorized

September 17 – FACE OUT: Nelson A. Denis’s War Against All Puerto Ricans


This season’s FACE OUT series at Word Up kicks off with lifelong Washington Heights resident Nelson A. Denis, author of War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony. The book tells a previously unexplored history, documenting how the US government invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 and, for over a century, quietly but systematically drained the island and its inhabitants through exploitation, repression, and cultural death. Meticulously sourced with over 700 footnotes and dozens of photographs, the book is, in the words of one reviewer, “not just history. It’s history on fire.”

Nelson A. Denis is a former New York state assemblyman and served as the editorial director of El Diario/La Prensa, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in New York. His editorials for El Diario—over 300 of them—won the “Best Editorial Writing” award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

FACE OUT: Nelson A. Denis’s War Against All Puerto Ricans
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165 St.)
New York, NY

July 23 – Washington Heights Youth Gathering/Encuentro de Jóvenes de Washington Heights


What makes the period of youth so special and what can we do in our Washington Heights community to make it a better place? How can we as youth contribute to community building? How do we develop a community of true friendship? This event provides a space for youth who are interested in exploring how to contribute to the betterment of Washington Heights and to develop practical skills that can be used to build community.
We will be meeting on Thu 7/23 :: Thu 7/30 :: Wed 8/5 :: Thu 8/27, 7-9pm.

Porque es tan especial el periodo de la juventud y que podemos hacer en nuestra comunidad de Washington Heights para mejorarla? Como es que podemos contribuir al desarrollo de la comunidad durante nuestra juventud? Como podemos desarrollar una comunidad de verdadera Amistad? Este espacio es para jóvenes a quienes les interesa explorar como contribuir al mejoramiento de Washington Heights y para desarrollar habilidades practicas que se pueden usar para desarrollar nuestra comunidad.
Nos reuniremos jueves 23 de julio :: jueves 30 de julio :: miércoles 5 de agosto :: jueves 27 de agosto, de 7-9pm.

Washington Heights Youth Gathering/Encuentro de jóvenes de Washington Heights
Thursday, July 23 :: Thursday, July 30 :: Wednesday August 5 :: Thursday, August 27
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165 St.)
New York, NY


June 12 – Paper Cuts Reading

Both uptown and downtown zine makers share their latest works at a reading featuring Andria Alefhi, John Affleck, Betsy Housten, and Veronica Liu.
Paper Cuts Reading
Friday, June 12, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165 St.)
New York, NY

June 10 – Intima Presents Life-Writing: An Evening of Readings about Bodies, Illness and Care


Intima: A journal of Narrative Medicine, presents an evening of poetry, fiction and non-fiction as part of a week-long workshop organized by Columbia University’s Program in Narrative Medicine in conjunction with the American Medical Student Association. Contributors to the Spring 2015 issue will present narratives about illness, bodies and care, and students participating in the workshop are encouraged to bring along their own work to share during an open mike session. This is the fifth event of its kind, providing a forum for authors, students and educators committed to “reading the body” and “resurrecting stories about bodies, illness and care.” We hope you can join us!

For more information about the event, please contact the Editors at

Intima Presents Life-Writing: An Evening of Readings about Bodies, Illness and Care
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
113 Amsterdam Ave. (at 165 St.)
New York, NY

Wednesdays, June 24 – July 29 – DON QUIXOTE: Into the World of the Book


Word Up welcomes the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research for a class on DON QUIXOTE, conducted every Wednesday, 7pm, from June 24 to July 29. More information on the class and enrollment are available at

In this course, we will delve “Into the World of the Book” in four ways. First, we will extensively and closely read DON QUIXOTE, parts I (1605) and II (1615). If you have always wanted to read this first—and in the minds of many, best—novel, this is your chance. Second, we will hone in on the many books that populate the narrative—chivalric romances, Arabic manuscripts, short stories read aloud at inns, wax tablets found on mountaintops, books being constructed in print shops—and analyze those passages in connection to broader themes. Third, we will learn about book production and circulation in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain and Europe, historically grounding Don Quixote in its original context. Finally, our setting, Word Up Books, a community bookstore in Washington Heights, will inspire and inform our discussions about books and the social, inciting us to consider Don Quixote’s contemporary relevance and parallels.

In addition to reading DON QUIXOTE, some secondary critical readings will be assigned. Students may choose to read the novel in English or Spanish; both will be available for purchase at Word Up Books. The class discussion will be in English, but may be conducted in Spanish or bilingually depending on the make-up of the group. Financial assistance to take this course may be available upon request.

Class held Wednesdays, 7pm
June 24 & July 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29 (6 sessions over 6 weeks)
Cost: $315; financial assistance available

DON QUIXOTE: Into the World of the Book
Wednesdays, June 24 – July 29 , 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY

April 29 – Word Up to be featured in Then, Now, Next: Oral History Exhibit


One of our newest volunteers, Benji, has been documenting Word Up for a while and is exhibiting some of his great work at Columbia University tomorrow from 5-8pm.
Join us!
The Refectory at Union Theological Seminary, enter at 121st Street and Broadway, Nyc

DATE: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

TIME: 5-8 PM

WHERE: The Refectory at Union Theological Seminary, enter at 121st Street and Broadway (note: we regret that this space is not wheelchair accessible)

WHAT: Oral history has the potential to transform public dialogue about the most important issues of our time–race and police violence, income inequality, gentrification, the crisis of democracy–by amplifying diverse voices in the public sphere, providing new perspectives and historical context.

How can oral histories help us understand and catalyze social change? This interactive, multimedia pop-up exhibit, curated by the students and faculty of the Columbia Oral History Master of Arts program, will present eleven projects engaging this question from eleven different angles, asking:

  • How do experiences of collective power become myths, and how do these myths generate or defuse new waves of activism?
  • How do stories of urban places nurture resilient communities?
  • How are living traditions of resistance passed down between generations and how are these traditions disrupted?
  • How do personal stories about the past document injustice and provide clues to a new way forward?
  • How do we use knowledge of history to imagine and create the future we want?

Audience members will be invited to don headphones and dip into immersive community spaces, including a sultry jazz club, a midwife’s office, and a neighborhood hair salon.

Refreshments will be served and children are welcome!

RSVP to this event on Facebook.

Exhibits include:

Church as Community: St. Augustine’s on the Lower East Side by Kate Brenner
A look at the vibrant African American community around St. Augustine’s Church on the Lower East Side.

Building Bridges: Stories from a Homeless Shelter by Leonard Cox
Listen to stories from a homeless shelter and share ideas on how to connect with the homeless.

Word Up Community Bookshop Oral History Project by Benji de la Piedra
This pop-up recreation of Washington Heights’ beloved volunteer-run bookstore invites you to browse books, enjoy music, writing and photography from local artists, and consider the cultural significance of community bookstores in 2015.

The Neighborhood Hair Salon as Living Oral History Archive by Jonathon Fairhead
A simulation of the hair salon experience, with cloak, mirror, and comb is a recorded oral history interview discussing the interviewee’s relationship with their hair, their hair salon, hair stylist, and neighborhood.

BlackMother: Stories Surrounding Childbirth & Remembrances of Traditional Birth Workers in the American South by Nicole JeanBaptiste
Black women’s voices on intergenerational experiences with and issues surrounding childbirth.

Refugee Resettlement in Orange County by K Lee
Website introducing the Vietnamese refugee resettlement in Orange County

The Human Be-In Teach-In by Steven Palmer
Voices from a hippie happening in San Francisco.

Personal Storytelling as Advocacy by Steven Puente
Hepatitis C Peers from Einstein’s Methadone Clinics, located in the South Bronx, will be sharing their personal stories as a form of personal outreach and advocacy.

Guardians in the NYPD by Liz Strong
Work, identity and advocacy in law enforcement remembered by retired members of the NYPD Guardians Association for black officers.

Paying Respects: Stories of Family and Friends Buried in New York’s Potter’s Field by Leyla Vural
Hear from people with family and friends buried on Hart Island, our city’s potter’s field, the final resting spot for nearly one million New Yorkers that’s hidden in plain sight.

Gathered Time: Hearing Change in Jazz by Erica Zora Wrightson
The sounds of change in jazz.

May 2 – Word Up Celebrates NYC Independent Bookstore Day with a CSB Book Harvest!

Mx4nzV_2Word Up Community Bookshop invites you to our Community Supported Bookshop (CSB) Book Harvest as part of a citywide celebration of independent bookstores! The Word Up CSB (Community Supported Bookshop) is a bookshop member program modeled on neighborhood CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), which help local farmers sustain their operations. Join current bookstore members for an exclusive first pick of a huge selection of used books during this very special event. Entertainment and light refreshments, courtesy of neighborhood businesses, will be provided. Not a member yet? Basic shares start at $20. Continuing memberships and school shares are also available. For more information, visit, email, or stop in to Word Up to speak to a volunteer.

Word Up Celebrates NYC Independent Bookstore Day with a CSB Book Harvest!
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY