Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Artist Feature: Shared Stories- A Youth Project of the Chinese Progressive Association
Artist Feature: Shared Stories- A Youth Project of the Chinese Progressive Association

In August, I had the privilege of meeting participants from Shared Stories, a program sponsored by the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) that educates and encourages youth to document immigration stories. In our time together, we talked about the power of the spoken word, our experiences as first and second generation in the US, and the [...]

Behind walls and doors, homes without ceilings
Behind walls and doors, homes without ceilings

Annie Ling’s photo essay on the residents at 81 Bowery, published in the New York Times, struck a chord. What stood out most to me was the residents’ resilience, their communal lives, and their attempts to retain a sense of dignity as they worked to eke out a better life for family members back home. [...]

Sun in East River, 8am
Sun in East River, 8am

A welder’s mask A jeweler’s Braille 100,000 fireflies

Artist Feature: Kit Yan & Sometimes Home
Artist Feature: Kit Yan & Sometimes Home

In December of last year at Project REACH located on Eldridge Street, Kit Yan and poets Regie Cabico and D’Lo workshopped  2 Dicks and a Diva with an audience for two nights. I went on the second night and was impacted by the intertwining narratives of these prominent queer poets revealing what life on the [...]

Remembering Public School 42 in the 60s and 70s
Remembering Public School 42 in the 60s and 70s

In this video post, May Wong Lee shares two collections of remembrances about attending Public School 42 in the 1960s and 1970s, especially beloved traditions they had back then– namely, crab soccer, the knish man, and pickles. In the second video, she discusses some of the pedagogical styles and teachers who made the most difference [...]

The Basement Workshop Collective
The Basement Workshop Collective

This past spring, over a period of three weeks, I worked my way through the Basement Workshop Collective’s (1970-1986) archive-in-progress, currently housed at NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American (A/P/A) Institute. On a purely conceptual level, there are the romantic inclinations many of us hold about archives, the notion that as writers or researchers (or just curious people), we [...]

Palimpsest Palaces
Palimpsest Palaces

Developers and planners try to make the city anew, to profit off the new venture and the new image, but despite their best efforts, they do not achieve total erasure. There are dust lines left behind from the furniture or appliances, brick foundations between the steel beams, old scribblings or serrated stairlines where the wall paints stopped… So we hope with the old Chinese-language movie theatres, the banks where we performed recitals, these spaces that have reincarnated so many times before.

Q & A with Melissa del Valle Ortiz
Q & A with Melissa del Valle Ortiz

Before leaving the city for a few weeks (hiatus from the internet during my travels) I was able to get into contact with Melissa del Valle Ortiz, a reader of the Open City blog and a long-time resident of Sunset Park. She was one of the first organizers at Neighbors Helping Neighbors (a grassroots nonprofit [...]

Our Forefathers Were Paper Sons
Our Forefathers Were Paper Sons

In this video post, two New Yorkers talk about how the first immigrants in their families to become American citizens were paper sons, claiming that they had ties to existing Chinese-American families.

My First Memories of Flushing
My First Memories of Flushing

Guest post by Afifa Yusufi, a community activist in the Afghan community in New York. Afifa has served on the board of Women for Afghan Women, is a member of Business Council for Peace and a number of other nonprofit organizations. She is currently serving as a board member and vice president of a Virginia-based [...]

Bloomberg’s New York
Bloomberg's New York

Does Michael Bloomberg ever wish he could go back in time? Back before his  high-profile, third-term setbacks: the Cathie Black fiasco, the unpaved streets in last winter’s blizzard, his surprisingly lackluster showing in the last election. Back to October 2009, perhaps, when New York Magazine ran its regular feature on the city’s power brokers and [...]

Ashkenazi Jewish-Chinese Borderlands
Ashkenazi Jewish-Chinese Borderlands

Cross-cultural connections between Ashkenazi Jewish and Chinese residents on the Lower East Side are anything but new, and they go deeper than making Chinese food a Christmas tradition.

About Open City
Open City: Blogging Urban Change is an interdisciplinary neighborhood blog and community project coordinated by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Five commissioned writers, called Organizing Fellows, are working with community organizations and neighborhood folks in Manhattan’s Chinatown/Lower East Side (LES), Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn to collect oral histories and interviews, offer commentary about gentrification, neighborhood change, and produce new creative work around these themes. Read more.
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Featured Profile
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities was formed in 1986 (formerly known as the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence) as a response to an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes both in New York City and around the country (which included violence by police officers against Asians).
They have two offices – one in Manhattan’s Chinatown (which houses the Chinatown Tenants Union, and the new Asian Youth in Action organizing project) and the Youth Leadership Project office in the Bronx – and have members from all over the city. Over the years, CAAAV’s main campaigns have focused on community-based organizing work rooted in Asian immigrant and refugee communities. Although their advocacy and organizing work is focused mainly in Manhattan’s Chinatown and the northwest Bronx, CAAAV’s work also touches upon larger issues (such as affordable housing, war, and immigration) shaping communities all over the world: “Our work is primarily centered around issues facing New Yorkers, but always with a global analysis.”
CAAAV’s mission is to organize and build the power of working-class Asian immigrants, refugees, and youth to change concrete conditions and participate in a broader social justice movement. In the past, CAAAV’s work included organizing South Asian taxi drivers, Korean women workers, and Filipina domestic workers. Several of these organizing projects have gone on to become their own organizations, such as the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and Domestic Workers United. CAAAV’s current work focus on three different program areas: Read more.

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Community Announcements
Manhattan CB3 Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee
Monday, May 2 at 6:30 pm -- Rutgers Community Center, Gymnasium - 200 Madison Street (btwn Rutgers & Pike Sts)

Brooklyn CB7, Land Use/Landmarks Committee Regular meeting
Continued discussion on potential 8th Avenue rezoning

Manhattan CB3 Economic Development Committee Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30pm -- Community Board 3 Office - 59 East 4th Street (btwn 2nd Ave & Bowery)

Read more.

See all announcements.