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 [...]
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. [...]
A welder’s mask A jeweler’s Braille 100,000 fireflies
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 [...]
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.
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.
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.
In March 2007, Bloomberg announced Sunset Park was going to be rezoned. In March 2008, the re-zoning plan for Sunset Park was announced. ¡Basta Ya!, or Rise Up! is a 34-minute educational documentary that brings together the perspectives and insights of community members, academics, and activists about encroaching gentrification and the challenges of resisting it [...]
Driving from Suburbia trees wave in Westchester. grandfather’s laundry store on the corner of 39th/Lex we got regulars – a legacy. piles of starched, white sheets in neat folded squares, like the parceled backyard the kitchen island grab the keys, hop into the spaceship Chevrolet Lumina- mom, dad, grandma, son, daughter, quiet sardines, slicked hum [...]
This guest post is brought to you by Christine Lee Zilka. Christine is a writer spending a year in New York City with her husband and her two geriatric wiener dogs. She earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. She is currently an Editor-at-Large at Kartika [...]
Since the Grand Street Bike Lane opened in 2008, the Department of Transportation has faced slack for bad planning. Businesses along the lane, spanning from Varick Street in Soho to Chrystie Street in Chinatown, complained the bike lane was bad for business while residents of the city claimed the lane, nestled between the sidewalk and a [...]
The city. . . does not tell its past, but contains it like the line of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls. [...]
Damaris Reyes is Executive Director of GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), a housing and preservation group that has worked in Loisada since 1977. In this video post, Damaris talks about two experiences that influenced her decision to become a community organizer.
Join us as our Open City project hosts an event at Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) on Saturday May 7 as part of the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas for the New CIty ! Please contact us in advance if you or someone you know is interested in being interviewed (limited space). Please come [...]
What sorts of places are bus stops? In-between spaces, neither here nor there…. Yet, bus stops are where our neighbors become neighborly; the friendly become our friends—even the shirtless quirky visionaries four decades older than us, ones we could not imagine befriending in any other context. Yes, especially them. In this video post, Thomas Yu talks about growing up in Loisada in the 1980s and getting to know Eddie Boros at their local M9 bus stop, on 6th Street and Avenue B.
In this video post, Thomas Yu and May Wong Lee talk about the garment factories in which their parents worked. Thomas grew up in Loisada public housing, left the neighborhood to study international diplomacy, and eventually came back to work for Asian Americans for Equality. May Wong Lee also grew up in the neighborhood, attended [...]
Update on Rezoning Land Use/Landmarks Committee Follow up to previous discussion on potential 8th Avenue rezoning and one other zoning matter. 1) Continued discussion with community members and shareholders about the potential for rezoning 8th Avenue 2) Presentation by Department of City Planning on potential for commercial zoning on 4th Avenue north of 25th Street [...]
[ Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire ] Memory: a selective rattle-bin container. Shadows rather than reflections. Occurring in the background; everyone focuses on the stationary foreground. Echoes contend, constantly contracting to mediate, fill up that medium of space. Spaces-in-between: shadows as they take place of. * As mentioned in an earlier post, March 25th, 2011 commemorated [...]
What circuits run between Triangle 1911, Chinatown 1982, Bangladesh 2010? What fissures, shadows, and absences in and between these images, these conversations? * To paraphrase the speakers at the “Global Sweatshop” plenary of the Out of the Smoke Triangle Fire conference at CUNY Grad Center today: 1- Workers are not just oppressed. There are many [...]
This post is brought to you by guest blogger, Kayhan Irani, an artivist and an Emmy award winning writer. She believes in the liberatory power of the arts to deepen people’s engagement with social issues and transform society. She is a writer, director, performer, and facilitator. Photo by Sahar Muradi “I give you my Yellow; [...]
Today was a nice day for walking. After a whole lot of rain, wind, and gray gloom the other day, Murad and I walked happily in the sunshine equipped with our coffee towards 35th and 4th to meet Douglas Le and the AAFE crew made up of interns and college fellows for a Sunset Park [...]
Last week, there was an article in the New York Times about domestic violence in the Afghan diaspora in Queens and how women were increasingly coming forward and seeking help. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about violence (state, reproductive, domestic, economic, etc.) and responses to violence in a wide way. With the rippling revolutions [...]
As of late, I’ve been doing a somewhat long-termish study on demographic mapping, changes, patterns in Sunset Park (and NYC, in general). A few posts to come up with some of my findings, but in the mean time, I thought I would throw out some accessible online sources: An urban planner I spoke to suggested [...]
I received this text from Jimmy on Valentine’s Day: “Come to K-TV, where only place you can find date. Valentine’s Day Duet contest, winner $1,000. Free rose if you bring friend.” I kidnapped my roommate and we hopped onto the D to 9th Ave. K-TV 39 is attached to the King’s Hotel. It’s in a [...]