Park update: The Interim Walkway at the Western Rail Yards (between 30th & 34th Streets) is temporarily closed today.

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30th Street Challenge
Give by June 20

To meet the demands of our busiest time of the year, we ask all friends of the High Line to help us raise a total of $30,000—$1,000 for each block of our 1.5-mile-long park along Manhattan’s West Side.

"There’s a better life and you think about it, don’t you?"

A musical program for Ruth Ewan’s “Silent Agitator,” featuring Tayo Aluko, Ruth Ewan, Brooklyn Women’s Chorus, the New York City Labor Chorus, the Sing in Solidarity Chorus, and Lynn Marie Smith “aka” The Motown Diva, and hosted by Morgan Bassichis.

There’s a better life and you think about it, don’t you? was a joyous evening of singing and celebration featuring vocal and choral performances that share the spirit of Ruth Ewan’s High Line commission Silent Agitator. Installed on the High Line at 24th Street, Ewan’s commission is a giant clock based on an illustration originally produced for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union by the North American writer and labor activist Ralph Chaplin that reads “What time is it? Time to organize!”

Chaplin composed many of the galvanizing songs for the labor movement of the early 20th century, including the famous “Solidarity Forever” for the Paint Creek–Cabin Creek coal miner strike of 1912 in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Celebration and song have always played key roles in the efforts of the Industrial Workers of the World, which has come to be known as the “singing union.”

Building on this history, the performers in There’s a better life and you think about it, don’t you? use music to relieve the fatigue of organizing and celebrate labor rights victories, activists, and historical movements. For this event, Tayo Aluko will perform excerpts from his one-person show, Call Mr. Robeson, about the life and times of the singer and activist Paul Robeson; the Sing in Solidarity Chorus will sing a selection of their original choral arrangements for lyrics from the IWW’s Little Red Songbook; Lynn Marie Smith will bring her energetic covers of pop songs recast with labor organizing lyrics; NYC Labor Chorus will sing selections from their repertoire developed over the last 28 years of singing together; and Brooklyn Women’s Chorus will sing works including “We Were There” that speak to the central role of women in labor organizing. Morgan Bassichis will host the evening. Additionally, there will be live silk-screening of vintage IWW posters available on-site, provided by Shoestring Press.

Named for a line from Dolly Parton’s song “9 to 5,” There’s a better life and you think about it, don’t you? recognizes the uplifting significance of song in the exhausting work of labor organizing. This evening of fun, lively performances invites musicians and organizers from across the city—and the world—to come together in affirmation that the time we have together need not be all work and no play.

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