How does one deal with anti-blackness within the family? One Bengali writer is finding out the hard way.
From sufism to reggae, from construction work to driving taxis, it has been a colorful ride for one of the co-founders of a taxi drivers union in New York.
A Chinese American writer recounts her struggles with Chinese characters, the Roman alphabet and two different naming conventions in her journey to have her name right.
Three Chinese American women, who are very successful in their fields, are considered failures for one single reason — for staying single past the age of 25.
Tenants of rent-regulated apartments in Chinatown fought back and won a settlement with their landlord, who now must provide safe and decent living condition and stop harassing them.
She migrated from China to the United States, hoping to find a better life. She ended up working in a massage parlor, providing sex to customers.
The Brooklyn DA wants no jail term for NYPD cop Peter Liang, but several Asian American groups demand accountability for Liang and justice for all victims of police violence.
Padmini Naidu, also known as the Blasted Brown Blogger on Tumblr and co-host of the ALTBrown podcast, talks about growing up brown and goth metal head in Hollis.
For the women who dance together at a Chinatown park, every gesture brings them closer together and every step leads them away from the dangers of depression.
Amid the sea of Chinese characters in Sunset Park’s Eighth Avenue, an Irish pub has held its ground despite waves of inward and outward migration.
Who owns public space? Young South Asian women in Brooklyn struggle with the culture that dictates that women have no business outside the home.
The difference between tea and life back home and over here, according to a Guyanese-American family in South Ozone Park.
The current debate over the conviction of NYPD officer Peter Liang is actually a good sign, heralding the growing political maturity of the Chinese American community.
Cha, chai or te? A Richmond Hill family’s multiple ways of preparing what Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu called “the elixir of life.”
Unwanted in their mothers’ country and unwelcome in their fathers’ homeland, Filipino Amerasians are still in search of a home.
As Pearl River Mart prepares to close its doors, why the store’s godchild doesn’t want it to be “saved”
Allow yourself to be messy. Don’t try to fight writer’s block. These, and some other writing tips from author Eric Tang.
Red is believed to be a lucky color and everyone wants to carry good luck with them. But that symbol of good fortune may soon carry something else: a 10-cent charge.
In Richmond Hill, a neighborhood’s safety concerns are pitted against a city’s effort to bring youth offenders closer to home. And the residents are up in arms.
How a high school teacher’s advocacy vs. bullying of Sikh students led her from the classroom to the court room.
The Nepalese and Tibetan communities in Jackson Heights mix tradition with modern to keep their heritage alive.
One writers group was robbed at gunpoint in Ditmas Park. The police and the community’s reactions were swift, but both seemed to miss the bigger picture.
In Kensington, young Bangladeshi activists fight against apathy and inaction in the local community by organizing around the murder of a 13-year-old boy in Bangladesh earlier this summer.
Ali Najmi, the contender to represent one of the largest South Asian enclaves in NYC, talks about Glen Oaks, the Sikh gurdwaras, and taxi drivers.
How Asian small business owners are negotiating community and commerce in Baltimore
Many of the neighborhood’s roti shops are located just steps from the A train. For Richmond Hill residents, gyaffing and hot doubles can remedy anything the MTA throws at them.
“Nobody wears those, so it’s kind of funny that you do,” she said, blowing swirls of smoke out of the corner of her mouth…
A novelist recalls her childhood steeped in Chinese radio plays heard on the Singapore airwaves.
“…I’d see non-Sikhs…be scared because there were so many turbans around them. I want to end that,” Amrinder Singh explained.
Khmer record and film collector Nate Hun is part of a growing movement quietly reconstructing Cambodia’s tumultuous past.
A “goddaughter” of one of Chinatown’s oldest and most storied emporiums remembers the store’s Red origins and high-low appeal.
N’jaila Rhee is many things…
Vintage American country-western music helps Indo-Guyanese express ineffable heartbreak, spirituality and political emergence.
Barriers to Banking Push Queens Immigrants Towards Alternative, Financial Services
Roti is everyday food in Punjabi homes. At the gurdwara, it takes on a new name and becomes a symbol of service.
A mysterious black poster sends one Columbia University student down a transnational college application rabbit hole.
A momo evangelist introduces foodies to a lesser known dumpling and to the Tibetans and Nepalese who love them.
Munaweera’s debut novel depicts the psychic, political and sexual spaces between Sri Lanka and Los Angeles.
Time traveling with a drink find in Chinatown
Harmoniums are all over South Asian music. But they also connect Guyana and Punjab spiritually
Community organizing can be lonely work when you’re battling ghosts from a violent past
In neighborhoods where Asian American voters lack English fluency, poll workers are the overlooked links to electoral participation.
Grammy-nominated producer The Twilite Tone on moving to New York, working with Kanye and the South Asian namesake he shares with Chaka Khan
Diwali is celebrated in various ways by South Asian peoples. The Sikh celebration adds politics to the mix.
Buddhist “mercy releases” have long set animals free in ways that may harm them. Parks and animal protection organizations are working to make it better.
Red Guard founder Alex Hing talks 1960s radicalism, sympathizing with North Korea and that infamous punch.
Queens temples break from Western architecture and remake old buildings into new spaces for divine encounters
Long before domestic workers organizer Ai-jen Poo won a “genius grant,” we spoke to her about her radical ideas on remaking women’s work
Worker-owned cooperatives gain immigrant women more than income. They give them a cure for the “tensions” that harm their physical and mental health.
Urbanist Tarry Hum’s new book on Sunset Park looks at the economic, cultural and land use shifts in the waterfront Brooklyn neighborhood.
I said I missed Asia. His elderly friend beckoned to me and showed me his smartphone–a video of a dance performance in China. Little girls singing shrilly. “If you miss it,” he beamed, “Just watch YouTube.”
My grandmother spent many long years cleaning toilets, washing bedsheets, and mopping floors doing the best she could to navigate a country knowing her then-undocumented status and her lack of language skills put her at a severe disadvantage.
I traveled to the heart of the epidemic one day in July to find out for myself what kind of peril we’re in.
They tasted like a vanilla pudding—sweet and light. I’d long wondered if these berries were safe to eat, but Chin seemed to be nibbling without worry…
I quickly learn this view has cost this business a lot. Irina remembers all the people who left after hurricane Sandy struck in the fall of 2012. “They lost so much, their homes…and then with the businesses closed, they had no work to stay for.”
A Queens couple tries to put down roots in their own community and discovers the unwritten discriminatory rules of real estate.
We journeyed over two-hundred miles to play indoor volleyball in sweat-inducing temperatures. That draining, exhausting heat is as much a part of the game as are the unique rules of 9-man volleyball.
“Our samosas are different because we use fresh vegetables and olive oil,” says Saleha Parveen…“We use long bean, cauliflower, cabbage, potato and carrot. Most restaurants just use old oil and potatoes.”
There are so many people who are invisible to us, and I think that its important to realize that the girl who runs the egg-cakes cart, she has dreams too, she has a future too, she has a past as well.
Finntown in the 1920s and 30s was a bit like a leftist fantasy mixed with a touch of “Portlandia”…
Parkway itself will lose its luster, its sense of magic ascendance. And I will begin my struggle to understand this twin heritage—luminous freedom and oppressive grievance.
Each of us has a moment, a shiny soap bubble of memory that contains our past and predicts our future.
The applications have been streaming in for our next round of Open City fellows. If you’re an emerging Asian American writer, consider applying and help spread the word about this wonderful opportunity…
I often tagged along with my grandparents down the aisles of Chinese supermarkets. While Grandma stuck to purchasing standard items like Saltines or milk to add to her morning coffee, Grandpa knew the secrets of the dried, preserved goods and vegetables tucked away into the stores’ dusty corners.
When poet and First Lady Chirlane McCray (aka “FLONYC”) chose spoken word artist Ramya Ramana to perform at her husband’s inauguration, it took the ceremony—and Ramya’s poetry—to a whole new level.
Alex is a skinny teenager with shaggy black hair – almost like a Beatles cut. He comes here all the time, just to play this game.
…Hispanics and Asians are living in neighborhoods together nearly three times as much as they did ten years ago. But how integrated they truly are is a matter of debate…
Council District 38, which includes the heavily Asian and Latino Sunset Park, is a testing ground to see whether an experiment in direct democracy can meet its lofty goals…
No showering, no going outside, no drinking cold water–for an entire month. Many women in mainland China observe these rules as part of a traditional health care practice following childbirth.
I know that you’ve had some tough times the past few years. People have called to ban you, to oust you from the kitchen…
About a decade ago, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH) began to puzzle over a strange and disturbing sight: whole, roasted ducks, hanging by their necks in the windows of Manhattan’s Chinatown.
The gate, the window guards (all seven of them), the railings leading up to the door, the door itself — all bright stainless steel, and sparkling even on this cloudy day.
“When times are good, people might go for the Absolut, when they’re bad it’s Smirnoff or Georgi,” says Anil, who runs 1-2-3 Liquors on Jamaica Avenue…
Crown Heights-based activist DJ Ushka talks about growing up in Thailand, gentrification, global bass, and Edward Said.
The drummers were dressed in black and white tunics with colorful sashes and played traditional instruments…
It’s Sunday morning and there’s a debate underway at the Richmond Hill Flea Market in Queens. At issue: a pair of bejeweled, costume earrings made of faux diamonds and rubies.
In 2012, over half a million stop and frisks took place citywide. Half of these involved persons of color—young men like Nilesh, who are constantly on the lookout for patrolling officers.
“He could’ve walked into Harlem and everybody knew ‘im. He could walk into Spanish Harlem, everybody knew him. The gangsters knew him and respected him because he stood up to them…”
…there was one piece of equipment that made it all possible: a SONY tape player that kept them in operation as if they were 24-hour newsroom. The machine would play ten cassettes one after the other.
Visitors to the address would have found an entirely different scene ten or fifteen years ago. Before it was a fashion headquarters, the building was a garment factory…
In Queens to “clash,” Japanese dancehall kings Mighty Crown talk old-school Brooklyn and dub plates
“…the union guys were really worried. They were literally pissing in their pants…15 minutes later, it seemed like 15,000 women came out of the woodwork. Literally. From the buildings in Soho. They just couldn’t believe it.”
“We had tried Thanksgiving food at work and at church…a little bland…Then we just kept doing it each year and we got better each year, we learned how to cook more things- cranberry and marshmallow, ham, biscuits, and we made other stuff too, that’s not American food.”
…incoming donations were piled up two and three boxes deep on the sidewalk.
“The typhoon really hit me hard,” she said. “I live in New York, but I’m still Filipino.”
“Once we printed Chinese upside-down and nobody knew it. That was embarrassing!”
A set of wind chimes hangs on a thin board, a short-wave radio emits bursts of Morse code, thin sheets of metal rustle on a crate.
“You really can’t get weird on a dehydrated noodle. You really can’t get weird on a canned sardine. Snacks, yeah you can get a little weird.”
We set up a table with hot cider to stave off the chill, and little by little, over the course of three hours, 20 participants came by to strut their stuff…
“We are not known to the mainstream disabled communities. We’ve been here for 20 years.”
“Manhattan gets everything. No more, no more…Our next mayor is going to be from Brooklyn no matter who wins.”
“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.”
–MFK Fisher, “How to Cook a Wolf”
As pure Tibetans, they seem to have a more direct connection to whatever their cause is…But in my case, I would be there thinking, I don’t have the genuine drive in a way. I was supporting the cause, but at the same time, I saw myself differently.
The shorter woman said, “You have such a good
As I studied my surroundings, I found things that defied explanation. For some matters, the closer I looked, the more elusive any resolution became.
One Saturday afternoon in Sunset Park, I was sitting on the cement rim of a drained wading pool, watching elderly Chinese couples foxtrot to staticky melodies playing from a beat-up cassette player.
When working with the 12 to 19 year old set, she goes by two simple rules: 1.) Don’t disrespect them and 2.) Stand your ground.
We both remembered the fashion house’s Van Gogh jacket with its exquisite hand-embroidered jewel toned flowers, but it was Mary, who, without a heartbeat, recalled the year, telling the archivist to pull from the 1988 collection.
The clinking coins were saved for two reasons – to feed the neighborhood parking meters and to pay for kiddie rides outside the supermarket where my family shopped.
In the same way that K-Town serves as a rough rendition of Seoul, these plastic replicas dutifully represent their edible counterparts.