Open City: Blogging Urban Change
By Lena Sze





1. conveyance of somebody or something: the act or business of carrying somebody or something from one place to another, usually in a vehicle

2. means of traveling: a means of traveling or of carrying somebody or something from one place to another

3. U.S. fare or charge: the fare paid or charge made for traveling in a bus, train, or other public vehicle

4. history penal exile: exile to a penal colony


Springtime has our Open City fellows and writers asking questions about location, movement, and places in a temporary series of transportation-themed pieces (look for the green transportation logo).  Inspired by the recent news of tour bus traffic and accidents in and around Manhattan’s Chinatown, we take this occasion to reflect on the larger issues and ideas at play when we (all) move from place to place.  Check out recent posts about the unlikely friendship begun at a bus stop and forged between an immigrant kid from Hong Kong and an elderly fixture on the LES/community garden scene or the road to activism for one Lower East Side/Loisada organizer or the LES/Chinatown routes that bike couriers, as icons and messengers of the changing neighborhood, take.

How people move in, out, and imagine themselves part of (or not) Chinatown was also the topic of the day at our exciting “Where is Chinatown? Narrative Remappings” reading and community oral history open house last Saturday at MOCA.  As fellow Cristiana Baik asks: “Can you give a visual, descriptive mapping of the daily routes you make? Are they routes or roads? And in a city like New York, what do we make of our set routes against a backdrop that is always changing?”

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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.

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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.

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