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

New Chinatown Biking Coalition: Local Spokes
New Chinatown Biking Coalition: Local Spokes

Are more bike lanes inevitably better? Where should they be, and who will they ultimately benefit most? To tackle these questions in a more inclusive way, 9 local and citywide organizations have gotten together to form Local Spokes, a new Chinatown and Lower East Side biking coalition.

The New City
The New City

If it’s possible to open a museum that has no exhibition space to show work and no work to show, then it’s accurate to say: Marcia Tucker founded the New Museum in January, 1977. One week earlier, Tucker had been forced to resign from her position as curator at the Whitney Museum. She set up [...]

Driving from Suburbia
Driving from Suburbia

Driving from Suburbia trees wave in Westchester. grandfather’s laundry store on the corner of 39th/Lex we got regulars – a legacy. piles of starched, white sheets in neat folded squares, like the parceled backyard the kitchen island grab the keys, hop into the spaceship Chevrolet Lumina- mom, dad, grandma, son, daughter, quiet sardines, slicked hum [...]

Dad, NYC, 1970 (Guest Post by Christine Lee Zilka)
Dad, NYC, 1970 (Guest Post by Christine Lee Zilka)

This guest post is brought to you by Christine Lee Zilka.  Christine is a writer spending a year in New York City with her husband and her two geriatric wiener dogs. She earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. She is currently an Editor-at-Large at Kartika [...]

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 [...]

Void Memorials
Void Memorials

Void Memorials by R.A. Villanueva and Cristiana Baik You walk between Worth & The Church of the Transfiguration, lost among the pictograms and calligraphies, thinking of oyster sauce. Every backalley will seem to split into thirds. The walls around you lurch, larded with signs. Flowers and nightgowns dry on the escapes. An elderly man spits [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Grand Street Bike Lanes
Grand Street Bike Lanes

Since the Grand Street Bike Lane opened in 2008, the Department of Transportation has faced slack for bad planning. Businesses along the lane, spanning from Varick Street in Soho to Chrystie Street in Chinatown, complained the bike lane was bad for business while residents of the city claimed the lane, nestled between the sidewalk and a [...]

Flushing Buses: The Meeting Ground: A Photo-Essay by Jessica Fei
Flushing Buses: The Meeting Ground: A Photo-Essay by Jessica Fei
Festival of Ideas (1): Foto-jog
Festival of Ideas (1): Foto-jog

The city. . . does not tell its past, but contains it like the line of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls. [...]

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.