Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Flushing’s Kabul Kabab House
Flushing's Kabul Kabab House

An Afghan restaurant owned by an Iranian, managed by a Bangladeshi targeting Chinese customers. What better way to capture the changing face of Flushing? The Kabul Kabab House, located at 42-51 Main Street, has been a staple of the neighborhood for nearly a quarter century and serving a diverse, though mostly South Asian, customer base. [...]

The Arctic Circle (near Bush Terminal).
The Arctic Circle (near Bush Terminal).

Before I realized how cold it was, I decided that I would take a walk around Bush terminal (along 2nd, 3rd Avenues, between 30th-40th Streets, in Brooklyn). After writing about the Terminal, I had a driving curiosity to see what the yard looked like. . . Note: “Vivero El Badia Halal Live Poultry” (wall to [...]

Featured Profile: Nodutdol
Featured Profile: Nodutdol

A revised profile on the Queens-based, grass roots organization, Nodutdol, with an update on the organization’s current, pressing projects and campaigns. * Nodutdol—a social justice organization campaigning for peace at home and abroad—makes its home in Woodside, Queens. Founded in the Spring of 1999 by a group of 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean-Americans, Nodutdol’s current [...]

Artist Feature: Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai – “No Community Is Static.”
Artist Feature: Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai - "No Community Is Static."

Let’s start with your poem ‘Ballad of a Maybe Gentrifier.’ I love it. It throws a wrench into the typical gentrification discussion by bringing to light the ways in which mobile, young, people of color participate in these processes. Can you talk about what inspired you to write this poem? Gentrification is so pervasive that [...]

Two Scholarships for Restaurant Owners and their Children

Two $1,000 scholarships for restaurant workers and children of restaurant workers are available from the Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship, a program of the Asian Pacific Fund. The scholarship, founded in 2005, honors the values of Detroit restaurant owners Shui Kuen and Allen Chin through supporting the education aspirations of children of workers in [...]

Portrait Poem
Portrait Poem

Tonight a man walks down Main Street, into a dim retreat of street lights, the snowfall glazed over from the storm. Night is lighted on 54th, branching from a token of stores: George Michael Suits Outlet, Marin Travel, Bay Ridge Deli. Walking on he tells me,       Four years ago a tornado came through blasting [...]

In the beginning, there’s just sound
In the beginning, there's just sound

On Saturday, I went to the two New Year literary legends: the Poetry’s Project’s 37th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon at St. Mark’s Church, and Dark Matters, the 17th Annual Alternative New Year’s Day Marathon at the Bowery Poetry Club. Actually, I’d agreed to meet a friend at St. Mark’s Church to hear Patti Smith, but when [...]

Cookies For All
Cookies For All

Patriotic Cookies. Mom’s Perfect Pumpkin Bread. Chocolate Ovaltine Surprise.  Those were some of the featured cookies at the LES Girls Club’s 2nd Annual Holiday Cookie Swap fundraiser last weekend at La Vie. For a $20 ticket, I received a big golden tin and entry into a jackpot of sugar!  Cookies (homemade!) went for about $1-2 [...]

A Few Incidentals
A Few Incidentals

One recent morning, I went to Kissena Park with my dad and my little sister to explore the tai chi scene. We met up with Teacher Du and two of his students, both middle-aged women with sweet, open demeanors. (They treat him with deep respect and perform tai chi under his guidance, but there’s no [...]

From GOLES: Call to Action

GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), a housing and economic justice organization, is urging LES/Loisada residents to attend the upcoming CB3 meeting on SPURA, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.  According to GOLES, the community board’s draft plan for SPURA allows up to 60% market rate housing.  To RSVP or for more information, contact Joel [...]

Save the Date! 12/16/10: South Brooklyn Community Conversation

What: A COMMUNITY CONVERSATION ON PLANYC FOR A GREENER, GREATER, BROOKLYN! Thursday, December 16th, 2010 6PM-8PM St. Michael’s RC Church, 352 42nd Street, Enter at Auditorium on 43rd St. R train to 45th and the D/N/R to 36th Please RSVP: Call 212-778-9770 or email What it’s about: Since 2007, the City of New York [...]

Community Announcement: Nodutdol, yo. Kimchee Bowl, yow.

Kimchee Bowl Final Nodutdol, a community-based organization in Flushing, is having their annual fundraiser this Saturday eve. The deets: Saturday, December 11, 2010 7:00pm to 11:00pm International Action Center 55 W. 17 St., Suite 5C New York, NY 10011 For more information, please visit: To pre-order tickets, please visit: Here’s a brief note [...]

Lunchtime Rush
Lunchtime Rush

I first noticed Bruce Lee by his bright, lucky-red awning. Bruce Lee boasts 4 dishes and 1 soup, 4 platos y 1 sopa, for a price under 5 dollars- 50 cents cheaper, if you decide to take out and do the eating elsewhere.  I chuckled.  It was a Sunday afternoon in early October and I [...]


I live in Sunset Park.  I buy my weekly produce, tofu, and eggs on 8th Avenue; indulge once in a while on the best hot dog scallion bun you will ever have at Doe Bakery on 4th Ave near the 59th St. train station.  When the health nut inside surfaces, I jog to the park [...]

Tweets for Ginkgo

Picked you up on Stanton. The fan of you, wide-lipped.  #Mfinda Kalunga Park Jennifer says a Chinese woman from the senior center behind comes often, under your shade, with a bag in hand. #BRCSeniorServices Yín xìng. She crosses the fence. Yín xìng. Her hands graze the earth. Yín xìng. How did her mother do it? [...]

Community Announcements

A few important community board meetings are highlighted below.  For the latest about meeting dates, times, and agendas, please check in directly with the community board. Manhattan CB1 Waterfront Committee Meeting 11/15/2010, 6:00 pm 
Manhattan Community Board 1, 49-51 Chambers Street Manhattan CB1 Seaport/ Civic Center Committee Meeting 11/16/2010, 6:00 pm 
Manhattan Community Board 1, [...]

City Nomenclature. Shifty Boundaries.
City Nomenclature. Shifty Boundaries.

Relatively recently, I moved to New York (January 2010) to attend graduate school. For the first month, I lived with my sister in Morningside Heights, where she was, at the time, studying at Columbia University. Eventually I made my way down to the borough of Brooklyn, which is where I still live. My first apartment [...]


Last Saturday spent five hours on Forsyth on the same five-block stretch: Rivington to Hester.  Mission was two-fold: conduct land use surveys for AALDEF (Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund) and find Moy.  Half-succeeded at both, but the best part was staying planted on that little length of earth and watching how things go [...]

Welcome to OPEN CITY: Blogging Urban Change!

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) is pleased to launch OPEN CITY, our much-anticipated blog about gentrification, local life, and all things Sunset Park, Flushing, and Chinatown/Lower East Side (LES).  OPEN CITY suggests that the city in which we live and work is not something settled and known, but rather that its many lives, places, [...]

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.

See all Featured Profiles.
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.