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.
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.”
As Pearl River Mart prepares to close its doors, why the store’s godchild doesn’t want it to be “saved”
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.
When Flushing was a neighborhood of European immigrants in the 1940s, Pearl Chow’s was one of the sole Asian families there.
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 “goddaughter” of one of Chinatown’s oldest and most storied emporiums remembers the store’s Red origins and high-low appeal.
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 momo evangelist introduces foodies to a lesser known dumpling and to the Tibetans and Nepalese who love them.
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.
Queens temples break from Western architecture and remake old buildings into new spaces for divine encounters
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 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…
A Queens couple tries to put down roots in their own community and discovers the unwritten discriminatory rules of real estate.
I remember the medicine wafting through the apartment–a distinct scent, a heavy, earthy, musky odor that smelled like bark, dirt and dampened roots. The minute the pot would go on, I would retreat to my room where I paced back and forth, in anticipation of a stand-off with my mother.
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”…
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.
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…
When I’m on the train, I draw a lot. I have absolutely no time for meditation. But when I’m painting, that’s…my meditation.”
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…
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…
“…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.”
“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!”
“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 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.
In the center of the plaza stands a bronze, 15-foot statue of the Chinese sage…In its shadow, a woman with a visor and clipboard is selling shuttle tickets to Foxwoods Casino.
Suran Song turned a laundromat in Jackson Heights into a space for private reflection. Now she’s inviting her neighborhood to practice yoga in her living room.
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.
It’s like wearing a swagger on your face. If you’ve got a mustache, you’re someone to be taken seriously.
Part one of a two-part series on local Asian-American engagement in electoral politics in New York City.
The Basement Bhangra deejay revisits the neighborhood of a legendary Hollis nightclub that flourished in the 90s.
I recall the monkey god’s gaze at the Ganapati Temple and my own impulsive desire to offer him a coconut.
An illustrated dispatch.
“My strength is writing about Chinese people and dirtbags, and Chinese dirtbags.”
“Romney is very hostile.”
Dispatch from Far Rockaway and Jamaica in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Community organizers distributed supplies and canvassed buildings for two days before FEMA showed up to offer aid.
For outer borough residents and the linguistically isolated, the future is less clear.
If the grocery store is going to be saved, it will need to happen now.
He-e-e-e-ey sexy lungi!
This Sunset Park eatery is known for dishing up the best dumplings in New York City. So why is its owner, Mr. Chen, barely breaking even?
It’s the second largest park in New York City, and it hosts the U.S. Open. But when the world isn’t watching, what lies beneath the park’s borders—and what does it say about Queens?
Back in 1830, Richmond Hill was a farm.
Same place, different time.
John Clang’s “Beijing New York” is a product of some good old-fashioned cut and paste.
A defender of traditional Korean arts refuses to give up.
A zesty cocktail of lime juice and water.
A compendium of responses from video store clerks in Jackson Heights.
The scarlet tonic is often portrayed as the city’s modern-day moonshine. The reality? It barely counts as booze.
A photo essay.
After 45 years as a parking lot, the Seward Park Extension Urban Renewal Area will be developed to include mixed-income housing. So why are some advocates crying foul?
“Surah Rahman and Surah Yasin. Very, very powerful!”
A stroll through the busiest—and most diverse—bazaar in Queens.
It all started with Beijing rock band The Fly—a cross between the Sex Pistols and Nirvana, but, you know, in Mandarin.