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Spiking Tradition

By Kristopher Kam | July 4, 2014 | Open City

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.

The Hustle: Cooking with Asha Foods

By Tanwi Nandini Islam | July 3, 2014 | Open City

“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.”

A Dance with Chinatown

By Eveline Chao | June 18, 2014 | Open City

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.

Bread + Butter Socialism: A History of Finnish-American Co-ops

By Esther Wang | June 12, 2014 | Open City

Finntown in the 1920s and 30s was a bit like a leftist fantasy mixed with a touch of “Portlandia”…

Seven Reasons You Should Apply for an Open City Fellowship

By AAWW | May 20, 2014 | Open City

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…

“Eating Wildly”

By Ava Chin | May 12, 2014 | Open City

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.

Flow Nice

By Thomas L. Mariadason | May 7, 2014 | Open City

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.

Arcade Rhythms

By Eveline Chao | April 24, 2014 | Open City

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.

Conversation Scene in Queens

By Susan Lee | April 21, 2014 | Open City

…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…

Budget of the People, By the People

By Esther Wang | April 4, 2014 | Open City

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…

“Sitting the Month” in Queens

By Amanda Dingyuan Hou | March 18, 2014 | Open City

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.

The Roast Duck Bureaucracy

By Eveline Chao | March 11, 2014 | Open City

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.

All That Glitters…In Sunset Park

By Esther Wang | March 7, 2014 | Open City

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.

Gods and Small Tings

By Tanwi Nandini Islam | March 5, 2014 | Open City

“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…

Always Foreign, Always Brown

By Rishi Nath | February 26, 2014 | Open City

Crown Heights-based activist DJ Ushka talks about growing up in Thailand, gentrification, global bass, and Edward Said.

Sound Postcard: K-Town Celebrates “Jinshinbalpki”

By Susan M. Lee | February 15, 2014 | Open City

The drummers were dressed in black and white tunics with colorful sashes and played traditional instruments…

Sundays at the Flea

By Tanwi Nandini Islam | February 1, 2014 | Open City

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.

A Tiger by the Tail, Part 1

By Thomas L. Mariadason | January 28, 2014 | Open City

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.

Everybody Knew Him

By Eveline Chao | January 26, 2014 | Open City

“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…”

The Newsmaker

By Susan M. Lee | January 15, 2014 | Open City

…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.

A Makeover for Chinatown’s Garment Industry

By Eveline Chao | January 7, 2014 | Open City

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…

Jah Guide Me Through

By Rishi Nath | December 13, 2013 | Open City

In Queens to “clash,” Japanese dancehall kings Mighty Crown talk old-school Brooklyn and dub plates

Daylight for the Basement: Chinatown Activists Reunite

By Esther Wang | December 10, 2013 | Open City

“…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.”

Turkey Pho Sunday

By Phu Diep | December 1, 2013 | Open City

“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.”

A Middleman for Typhoon Relief

By Skyler Reid | November 18, 2013 | Open City

…incoming donations were piled up two and three boxes deep on the sidewalk.

Vigil in Queens

By Brock Stoneham | November 14, 2013 | Open City

“The typhoon really hit me hard,” she said. “I live in New York, but I’m still Filipino.”

Vota por Mí: Campaigns in Translation

By Eveline Chao | November 5, 2013 | Open City

“Once we printed Chinese upside-down and nobody knew it. That was embarrassing!”

A “Roving” Museum

By Anne Lagamayo | October 31, 2013 | Open City

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.

Grocery Shopping with Erwin Santos

By Lai Wo | October 29, 2013 | Open City

“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.”

Young, Political, Hungry: Carlos Menchaca Dishes

By Esther Wang | October 15, 2013 | Open City

“Manhattan gets everything. No more, no more…Our next mayor is going to be from Brooklyn no matter who wins.”

Uncracking Balut

By Tinamarie Vella | October 10, 2013 | Open City

“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.”
–MFK Fisher, “How to Cook a Wolf”

Om in Translation: An Interview with Artist Kunsang Gyatso

By Tanwi Nandini Islam | October 8, 2013 | Open City

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.

Reporter’s Notebook: Flushing

By Sukjong Hong | October 4, 2013 | Open City

The shorter woman said, “You have such a good insang인상!” The other pressed, “But you do go to church, don’t you?”

Accidental Stories

By Anelise Chen | October 1, 2013 | Open City

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.

“Happy Hour” for Queens Teens

By Susan M. Lee | September 26, 2013 | Open City

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.

Designer’s Choice: A Conversation with Mary Ping

By Christina Moon | September 24, 2013 | Open City

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.

Kiddie-Up Elmhurst!

By Jennifer Tan | August 13, 2013 | Open City

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.

Faking It in K-Town

By Rachel Kim | August 7, 2013 | Open City

In the same way that K-Town serves as a rough rendition of Seoul, these plastic replicas dutifully represent their edible counterparts.

Ramadan: 5 Commonly Asked Questions

By Nadia Q. Ahmad | July 23, 2013 | Open City

Do I get hungry? Yes, that’s the point.

What Separates Welfare from Work

By E. Tammy Kim | July 8, 2013 | Open City

Amid a national conversation about preschool and poverty, low-income New Yorkers are fighting for dignified welfare-to-work and and child care. But will they succeed?

The Tenement Life: From Jacob Riis To Beyond

By Kyla Cheung | April 10, 2013 | Open City

“81 Bowery is their home and their only choice for a place to live.”

Land of The Beavers: A Conversation With Queens Historian Carl Ballenas

By Rishi Nath | February 21, 2013 | Open City

There are lists of some slave uprisings in the late 1600s. There were gallows next to Beaver Pond.

Generation Kimchi: From the Margins to the Forefront

By Carolyn Sun | February 6, 2013 | Open City

Carolyn Sun explores the journey of how kimchi has found its place in America at the tables of Koreans and non-Koreans alike.

Photo Essay: ‘As Innerly As Possible’

By Wah-Ming Chang | January 9, 2013 | Open City

In conversation with solitude.

In Sandy’s Wake, New York’s Landscape of Inequity Revealed

By Michelle Chen | November 2, 2012 | Open City

New York will survive Sandy, but so will the city’s persistent inequalities and environmental precarity.