Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Where is Chinatown? Narrative Remappings
By Lena Sze


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 to hear or share stories!

Photo by Celina Su

Where is Chinatown? Reading
215 Centre Street, NY, NY 10013
11-12:30.  Admission: $7, Seniors and Students (w/ ID): $4, Children under 12 in groups less than 8: free.  AAWW and/or MOCA Members: free.
Ever wonder what your favorite Asian American writer thinks about Chinatown?  Want to share your story of the neighborhood or capture your grandma’s memories?  Come to a reading and community oral history open house we’re hosting at MOCA and tell us who you are, why Chinatown (any Chinatown!) matters, and how you’re a part of it.  Featuring: Henry Chang, Cristiana Baik and R.A. Villanueva, Ed Lin, Zohra Saed, and Kelly Tsai.

Where is Chinatown? Community Oral History Open House
215 Centre Street, NY, NY 10013
12:30-5.  Free and open to the public, but sign up ahead of schedule for your interview slot and bilingual interviewer.  Limited space available!

Did you grow up playing ball with Asian, Black, and Latino kids at Columbus or Sara Roosevelt Park?  Are you a shopkeeper or resident who’s witnessed the dramatic demographic changes along East Broadway and on the Lower East Side?  Do you work in one of the stalls on Canal Street?  Do you use the extensive Chinatown bus system to commute?  Are you a third-generation from the suburbs or other newbie who now calls Chinatown home?  Are you a former garment worker who still calls Chinatown home? Sharing your story will only take half an hour! Translators for Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Hindi/Urdu, and Dari/Farsi available, but email us in advance to schedule an interview slot.  Stories about any and all Chinatowns encouraged!

Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) in conjunction with the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) will host an oral history open house .  Fellows and volunteers from Open City, our local blog about the three major Chinatowns in New York City, will be there to collect and record your story about Chinatown.  For more or to schedule an interview, contact Lena at

About the Festival of Ideas for the New City
The Festival of Ideas for the New City, May 4-8, 2011, is a major new collaborative initiative in New York involving scores of Downtown organizations working together to harness the power of the creative community to imagine the future city and explore ideas that will shape it. The Festival will include a three-day slate of symposia; an innovative StreetFest along the Bowery; and over eighty independent projects and public events. For more information, visit















2 Responses to Where is Chinatown? Narrative Remappings

  1. Jenny Ye says:

    loving the picture of Eldridge St. ! Good luck, Lena!

  2. Pingback: Open City: Blogging Urban Change » Archive » Community Announcements

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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.