Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Posts Tagged ‘Chinatown’
Artist Feature: Shared Stories- A Youth Project of the Chinese Progressive Association
Artist Feature: Shared Stories- A Youth Project of the Chinese Progressive Association

In August, I had the privilege of meeting participants from Shared Stories, a program sponsored by the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) that educates and encourages youth to document immigration stories. In our time together, we talked about the power of the spoken word, our experiences as first and second generation in the US, and the [...]

Behind walls and doors, homes without ceilings
Behind walls and doors, homes without ceilings

Annie Ling’s photo essay on the residents at 81 Bowery, published in the New York Times, struck a chord. What stood out most to me was the residents’ resilience, their communal lives, and their attempts to retain a sense of dignity as they worked to eke out a better life for family members back home. [...]

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 [...]

Remembering Public School 42 in the 60s and 70s
Remembering Public School 42 in the 60s and 70s

In this video post, May Wong Lee shares two collections of remembrances about attending Public School 42 in the 1960s and 1970s, especially beloved traditions they had back then– namely, crab soccer, the knish man, and pickles. In the second video, she discusses some of the pedagogical styles and teachers who made the most difference [...]

Palimpsest Palaces
Palimpsest Palaces

Developers and planners try to make the city anew, to profit off the new venture and the new image, but despite their best efforts, they do not achieve total erasure. There are dust lines left behind from the furniture or appliances, brick foundations between the steel beams, old scribblings or serrated stairlines where the wall paints stopped… So we hope with the old Chinese-language movie theatres, the banks where we performed recitals, these spaces that have reincarnated so many times before.

Our Forefathers Were Paper Sons
Our Forefathers Were Paper Sons

In this video post, two New Yorkers talk about how the first immigrants in their families to become American citizens were paper sons, claiming that they had ties to existing Chinese-American families.

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.

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 [...]

The local M9 bus stop & Eddie Boros (1934-2007)
The local M9 bus stop & Eddie Boros (1934-2007)

What sorts of places are bus stops? In-between spaces, neither here nor there…. Yet, bus stops are where our neighbors become neighborly; the friendly become our friends—even the shirtless quirky visionaries four decades older than us, ones we could not imagine befriending in any other context. Yes, especially them. In this video post, Thomas Yu talks about growing up in Loisada in the 1980s and getting to know Eddie Boros at their local M9 bus stop, on 6th Street and Avenue B.

Growing up in Chinatown’s sweatshops
Growing up in Chinatown's sweatshops

In this video post, Thomas Yu and May Wong Lee talk about the garment factories in which their parents worked. Thomas grew up in Loisada public housing, left the neighborhood to study international diplomacy, and eventually came back to work for Asian Americans for Equality. May Wong Lee also grew up in the neighborhood, attended [...]

Follow the Lions
Follow the Lions

Using urban sociology and video to study the role of lion dance groups in the cultural revitalization of Manhattan Chinatown.

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 [...]

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 [...]

Featured Profile: Teen Resource Center in Chinatown
Featured Profile: Teen Resource Center in Chinatown

The Teen Resource Center provides a safe and fun space for teenagers to hang out, support each other, gain accurate information, and advocate for themselves on health issues—ones as varied as STDs, stress management, and minors’ confidentiality rights.

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, [...]

Notes on galleries, pt 1
Notes on galleries, pt 1

Windows Gallery is not your typical gallery, and Dino Eli is not your typical gallery owner. Eli’s primary line of work is running psychic/palm reading storefronts around the city. About four years ago, he came upon the idea of opening a gallery and it has been his obsession ever since. This past summer he convinced [...]

Turf
Turf

It’s a warm Saturday in early fall. On a path leading into Chinatown’s Columbus Park, there are two bands: old men, mostly playing erhu, a traditional 2-string fiddle that likes to slide in and out of tune. Though they’re spitting distance apart, the bands are playing different songs: one’s a fast, jittery tune, the other’s [...]

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.