Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Flushing
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 [...]

Chinatown Vans
Chinatown Vans

Recently, my friend Diana and I decided to take the Chinatown van from Manhattan’s Chinatown to Flushing.  It was the first time for both of us, although Diana’s mom, who lives in Flushing, regularly takes the vans into the city and swears by its convenience and record speed compared to the #7 train. Although largely [...]

Flushing Buses: The Meeting Ground: A Photo-Essay by Jessica Fei
Flushing Buses: The Meeting Ground: A Photo-Essay by Jessica Fei
Lamb Happenings: Food Tour in Flushing
Lamb Happenings: Food Tour in Flushing

I. When the Muslim Lamb Chop arrived, I was really glad to know Caroline Chan. The lamb was baby-butt tender while the fat on the edges were perfectly crisp. And when the heavy coat of cumin seed, grounded red chilies, and sesame seeds (black and white) hit my tongue, it was a bondage session of [...]

Lunch with Ha Jin in Flushing
Lunch with Ha Jin in Flushing

After reading Ha Jin’s story collection A Good Fall and conducting a Q&A with him via email, I met the National Book Award-winning author last week on the steps of the Flushing library. We knew each other only by our author photos, but there was an instant sense of warm recognition as we greeted each [...]

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 [...]

To Seek Better Than Before
To Seek Better Than Before

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 [...]

Questions for Ha Jin
Questions for Ha Jin

In a recent post, “Finding Flushing in the Stories of Ha Jin,” I wrote about the particular pleasure of reading about my hometown in A Good Fall, a recent collection by the National Book Award-winning author of Waiting. Later this week, I’m meeting Ha Jin at the Flushing Library for lunch and a walk around [...]

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. [...]

Lunar New Year’s Eve on Main Street
Lunar New Year's Eve on Main Street

Last Wednesday, en route to my parents’ house in Flushing for a Guo Nian feast (more on that in a later post), my sister Jessica Fei took these photos of the holiday preparations on Main Street. Happy Year of the Rabbit, and enjoy!

Chinatown Soundscape Series – Stephen Yung Part I: This Is A New Song
Chinatown Soundscape Series - Stephen Yung Part I: This Is A New Song

Stephen Yung works seven days a week. During the weekdays, he works at a hotel on 52nd Street and Madison and then goes home to Flushing, Queens to balance an on-line sales business with his wife Fanny. When the weekend hits, you can find him on the karaoke stage at Asia Roma, cuing up the [...]

Finding Flushing in the Stories of Ha Jin
Finding Flushing in the Stories of Ha Jin

As a Chinese American novelist, I tend to resist treating literature as sociological texts. I’ve answered my share of those questions: What does your book tell us about China/China versus America/Asian American women/immigrant families/etc.? And while I always appreciate the intent behind those queries (truly!), I try not to impose that framework on other authors, [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Translating Tai Chi from Beijing to Flushing
Translating Tai Chi from Beijing to Flushing

I’ve just begun to explore the tai chi scene in Flushing, and what keeps coming to my mind is how I tried to study it myself a decade ago in Beijing–and tried to teach it to my dad.

Finding Serenity in Flushing
Finding Serenity in Flushing

Tai chi groups have sprung up all across Flushing—out in the open, in Kissena Park, the Queens Botanical Gardens, even the tiny playground where my sisters and I used to seesaw, as well as inside numerous church basements and nondescript buildings along Northern Boulevard.

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.