Organization: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
Name: Rosie Clarke
Title: Director of Public Programming
Month/Year of arrival on SoHo Broadway): October 2017
Address: 126 Crosby Street/ 594 Broadway
What brought you to SoHo Broadway? What do you do here?
I was hired to take on the Public Programs department because I had a lot of ideas about how to work on further diversifying the bookstore’s events. Personally, I wanted to work somewhere with events of every genre. Before this, I was working with literature only—now I work with literature, movie screenings, panel discussions, readings, etc. I’ve found it to be really fun and exciting.
I also help to develop our fundraising events. Most of our public programming events are free, but with rent increases and other factors, the bookstore’s events have to be increasingly a tool to raise money and contribute towards funding Housing Works’ services.
What does your organization do, what industry are you in?
We’re a healthcare non-profit and were originally part of ACT UP New York. Since the late 1980’s, Housing Works has served homeless New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. These people are unheard, disempowered, and underrepresented. We provide a range of services, from housing and healthcare to job training and counseling. The bookstore is one of our business enterprises that raise money to fund these services. I am in a unique position as a cultural programmer working within a healthcare organization, and it is my job to raise awareness of our work and generate income to support it.
What do you like about SoHo Broadway?
Having access to pretty much everything in terms of shopping. It’s a great area to kill time on lunch. It’s also great to buy gifts and stuff for myself, friends, and family. SoHo Broadway is a place where you see a lot of iconic NY people. People who come here and say “that’s very New York.”
What is your favorite SoHo Broadway memory or experience?
Just walking down the street and seeing celebrities—especially those who support our mission!
In September, Chelsea Clinton and Sarah Smarsh had an event here for Smarsh’s book launch. Chelsea reached out to us to suggest Sarah—Clinton is an incredible supporter of Housing Works. It was a very special event for Housing Works Bookstore to be a part of.
If you had 20 minutes, where would you go?
I would go to Washington Square Park to look at dogs. It’s my favorite thing to do with extra time. It’s also one of my favorite places in Manhattan. It’s an NYC place that has really retained its identity despite gentrification.
Sometimes while I’m there, I like to see Bertie Bert the Pom, an Instagram famous pup that sometimes walks down Broadway too!
What should we know about you outside of working/living here? What do you do for fun or are you looking forward to doing?
An important part of my identity is that I am an immigrant. I moved here 3 years ago from England. That has influenced my activism and advocacy outside of my job. I do work with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), an organization that does grassroots work at the scale of local community. The organization has really grown in the last few years, and become involved in electoral work nationwide. In New York, we have been endorsing and campaigning for political figures like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julia Salazar.
When I’m not working, I spend the rest of my time watching movies. I love to see movies—it’s one of my favorite things to do. I have an AMC membership to go watch all the movies (including bad ones!).
I am looking forward to the holidays, and also looking forward to the bookstore’s spring season of events. The programming is looking really good so far.
Upcoming events to stay tuned for are World AIDS Day: Day of Activism, on December 1st, 2018.
December 12th, between 12pm – 4:30pm, Housing Works will be hosting What the Dickens, an event where writers, comics, critics, and actors read the entirety of A Christmas Carol for over 3 hours. The event is family friendly and will feature special holiday foods, drink, and book displays!