Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Sunset Park
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 [...]

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 [...]

¡Basta Ya!
¡Basta Ya!

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 [...]

One Chinatown’s Future: a Town Hall
One Chinatown’s Future: a Town Hall

Last Thursday MOCA hosted an “Open Town Hall” called “CHINATOWN 2.0—BRINGING CHINATOWN INTO THE FUTURE.”  Appropriately, I took the Chinatown bus from Sunset Park for the first time to get there, and blogged about that too.  For me it was a chance to update what I’d been reading and hearing about Chinatown since 9/11, first [...]

Taking the Sunset Park-Manhattan “Chinatown 2.0″ Van: a Locally Globalized Journey
Taking the Sunset Park-Manhattan "Chinatown 2.0" Van: a Locally Globalized Journey

After moving to Sunset Park last August it wasn’t long before I noticed the white passenger vans flitting around dropping Chinese people off individually at various places along 7th Avenue. Soon I learned there were private van lines connecting the three main Chinatowns in Manhattan, Flushing and Sunset Park. These companies filled a need for [...]

3/11/11: AAFE and UPROSE Sunset Park Walking Tour
3/11/11: AAFE and UPROSE Sunset Park Walking Tour

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 [...]

Community Announcements
Community Announcements

Squadron Community Convention From State Senator Daniel Squadron: Please join me on Sunday, March 13th, for the third annual 25th Senate District Community Convention. I am hosting the convention at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street in Downtown Brooklyn, from 2:00-5:00PM. At the convention, I will ask you about your thoughts and ideas on legislative [...]

Chinatown Soundscape: Valentine’s Day Duet
Chinatown Soundscape: Valentine's Day Duet

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 [...]

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 [...]

Art in the Age: Industry City and Bush Terminal
Art in the Age: Industry City and Bush Terminal

Northwest of the bustling Main Streets of Sunset Park, surrounding Bush Terminal, lies what’s known as Industy City. Here there are seemingly endless rows of massive buildings, many of them post-industrial warehouses. They are architectural traces of a bygone era, where maritime trade defined Sunset Park in the early 20th century. Bush Terminal has an [...]

DLB (Delinquent Landlord Behavior) leads to Great Tenant Organizing
DLB (Delinquent Landlord Behavior) leads to Great Tenant Organizing

Sunset Park’s blueprint is palimpsest. Its demographic history can be traced through the diverse congregations that have made their homes along Fourth Avenue. Pews once occupied by Norwegian settlers in the late nineteenth century are now occupied by growing Chinese and Latino congregations. * In late 2010, I first spoke to Marcela Mitaynes, a tenant [...]

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 [...]

Chinatown Soundscape Series
Chinatown Soundscape Series

(From my personal journal, 8/26/09) When I think of Chinatown, I think of proximity. bodies close or clashing dinner breath of another whispers into your nostrils next to your feet, a rivulet of the sea and blood drained from fish, eyes, cloudy marbles walking through Chinatown is a dizzying kaleidoscope of scents, faces, tongues, lights, [...]

On the move
On the move

Stare at this image, feel your eyes go slightly out of focus, and all of those shards of blue and terra cotta start to move, circling into a vortex centered somewhere around Governor’s Island. A nice optical trick that re-enacts what the graphic describes: movement. Thousands of Asian New Yorkers moving in and out of [...]

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 CountMeIn@cityhall.nyc.gov What it’s about: Since 2007, the City of New York [...]

Brooklyn Historical Society
Brooklyn Historical Society

Yesterday, I dropped by the Brooklyn Historical Society to sort through the audio archives for an oral history project (conducted with the Museum of Chinese in America) on Sunset Park. The 28 interviews–conducted between 1993-1994–consist of audio archives, as well as written transcripts. In lieu of the audio archives, which couldn’t be accessed yesterday (I’ll [...]

Featured Profile: Groundswell Community Mural Project
Featured Profile: Groundswell Community Mural Project

Groundswell Community Mural Project, a nonprofit organization conceived by artist Amy Sananman in 1996, creates public art—colorful, mosaic murals—as a means to explore and the concerns, dreams, and histories of local communities. Groundswell’s goals are grounded on community involvement and collaboration: the murals speak in the way that art—in an age where art has largely [...]

Community Announcements

CWG Full Monthly Meeting: Chinatown Working Group Full Group Meeting Usually meets every first Monday of the month, 4-6pm. American Legion, 191-193 Canal Street, Floor 2. (212) 442-4008 / info@chinatownworkinggroup.org. CWG Steering Committee Meeting: Chinatown Working Group. Usually meets every second Wednesday of the month, 4-5:30pm. Community Board #1, 49-51 Chambers St, Rm. 709. (212) [...]

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.