Articles in the Stories Category
100 Results

Bed Rest and No Baby-Care

By Liz Chow | October 21, 2016 | Open City

Yue saos and postpartum meal services are helping new Chinese mothers in Brooklyn cope with the no-shower, no-cold-drink, no-going-out demands of ‘sitting the month.’

Breaking the Silence with Theater

By Rahima Nasa | October 13, 2016 | Open City

Young Bangladeshi theater troupe uses traditional folk theater to confront trauma in the community.

Surviving China’s Cultural Revolution

By Rong Xiaoqing | September 30, 2016 | Open City

50 years after China launched the Cultural Revolution, one survivor recalls being sent to a rural labor camp and losing his family during the maelstrom.

The Right to Stay

By Thanu Yakupitiyage | September 16, 2016 | Open City

An undocu-Korean’s quest to remain and his fight for millions like him.

When a community loses a bookstore

By Yichen Tu | September 9, 2016 | Open City

For Chung Hwa regulars and Flushing residents, the closing of the 30-year old bookshop meant the demise of a community resource center.

The Fight to Not Be #Deported2Death

By Jai Dulani | August 23, 2016 | Open City

One former detainee brings to light the struggle of many asylum‐seekers who are languishing in detention centers and facing deadly deportation to the countries they fled from.

My Flushing

By Yichen Tu | August 10, 2016 | Open City

A young immigrant takes us around Flushing, the neighborhood that she has adopted as her home.

The Street Musicians of Columbus Park

By Huiying Bernice Chan | July 26, 2016 | Open City

Carrying songs across oceans, these musicians create home and community in New York City.

Giving up on the “American Dream”?

By Liz Chow | July 8, 2016 | Open City

Three immigrant street vendors tell their stories — their reasons for coming to America and their hopes and dreams.

4 Chinatown Art Spaces You Should Know About

By Kate Hao | June 28, 2016 | Open City

Where to go if you want to check out traditional Chinese cultural and art scene? Here’s a short list of performing and exhibit spaces in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

When Home is Where the Battle Is

By Rahima Nasa | June 17, 2016 | Open City

How does one deal with anti-blackness within the family? One Bengali writer is finding out the hard way.

The Free-Spirited Journey of A Taxi Union Organizer

By Sonny Singh | June 2, 2016 | Open City

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.

The Story of My Name

By Rong Xiaoqing | May 24, 2016 | Open City

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.

A Quick Guide to 4 Chinese Festivals

By Kari Lindberg | May 21, 2016 | Open City

The Chinese New Year, the Lantern, Mooncake and the Qingming Festivals explained, and where to go if you are hankering for food associated with these celebrations.

Leftover Women

By Yichen Tu | May 13, 2016 | Open City

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.

Fighting to Keep Their Homes

By Rong Xiaoqing | May 6, 2016 | Open City

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.

‘I Am a Sex Worker’

By Yichen Tu | April 27, 2016 | Open City

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.

Why Justice for Akai Gurley Matters

By Rahima Nasa | April 15, 2016 | Open City

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.

Alternative Brown

By Nadia Misir | April 8, 2016 | Open City

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.

The Dancing Grannies of New York City

By Esther Yu Hsi Lee | April 5, 2016 | Open City

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.

An Irish Pub in Brooklyn’s Chinatown

By Liz Chow | March 29, 2016 | Open City

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.

Men Loiter, Women Cloister

By Chaya Babu | March 16, 2016 | Open City

Who owns public space? Young South Asian women in Brooklyn struggle with the culture that dictates that women have no business outside the home.

We Talkin’ About ‘Back Home’

By Nadia Misir | March 10, 2016 | Open City

The difference between tea and life back home and over here, according to a Guyanese-American family in South Ozone Park.

From Divided to United?

By Rong Xiaoqing | March 1, 2016 | Open City

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 Time at Home

By Sonny Singh | February 25, 2016 | Open City

Cha, chai or te? A Richmond Hill family’s multiple ways of preparing what Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu called “the elixir of life.”

The Forgotten Amerasians

By Enrico Dungca | February 11, 2016 | Open City

Unwanted in their mothers’ country and unwelcome in their fathers’ homeland, Filipino Amerasians are still in search of a home.

When a Small Business Takes a Great Leap Forward

By Michelle Chen | December 15, 2015 | Open City

As Pearl River Mart prepares to close its doors, why the store’s godchild doesn’t want it to be “saved”

Write Like a Fugitive

By The AAWW Interns | December 4, 2015 | Open City

Allow yourself to be messy. Don’t try to fight writer’s block. These, and some other writing tips from author Eric Tang.

Red Plastic Bags All Over Chinatown

By Pearly Huang | November 17, 2015 | Open City

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.

Too Close to Home

By Nadia Misir | November 10, 2015 | Open City

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.

The Education of an Immigration Lawyer

By Sonny Singh | November 2, 2015 | Open City

How a high school teacher’s advocacy vs. bullying of Sikh students led her from the classroom to the court room.

The Modern Chupa

By Lisa Wong Macabasco | October 9, 2015 | Open City

The Nepalese and Tibetan communities in Jackson Heights mix tradition with modern to keep their heritage alive.

A Stranger in Our Midst

By Chaya Babu | October 1, 2015 | Open City

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.

Shattering Silence in Banglatown

By Chaya Babu | September 2, 2015 | Open City

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.

South Asian Political Clout Rises in Queens

By Sonny Singh | July 8, 2015 | Open City

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.

Shadow of the Shutter

By Esther Wang | June 18, 2015 | Open City

How Asian small business owners are negotiating community and commerce in Baltimore

Pearls of Wisdom

By Eveline Chao | May 20, 2015 | Open City

When Flushing was a neighborhood of European immigrants in the 1940s, Pearl Chow’s was one of the sole Asian families there.

To Eat, Drink, and Gyaff

By Nadia Misir | May 15, 2015 | Open City

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.

The Great Brooklyn Mojari Hunt

By Chaya Babu | May 12, 2015 | Open City

“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…

Happy (Radio) Days

By Wena Poon | May 6, 2015 | Open City

A novelist recalls her childhood steeped in Chinese radio plays heard on the Singapore airwaves.

Sikh Teens Spread Awareness + Love in Manhattan

By Sonny Singh | May 1, 2015 | Open City

“…I’d see non-Sikhs…be scared because there were so many turbans around them. I want to end that,” Amrinder Singh explained.

Remembering in Vinyl

By Gary Sullivan | April 23, 2015 | Open City

Khmer record and film collector Nate Hun is part of a growing movement quietly reconstructing Cambodia’s tumultuous past.

Good Fortune, Long Life

By Michelle Chen | April 7, 2015 | Open City

A “goddaughter” of one of Chinatown’s oldest and most storied emporiums remembers the store’s Red origins and high-low appeal.

Guyana ♥ Country

By Nadia Misir | March 13, 2015 | Open City

Vintage American country-western music helps Indo-Guyanese express ineffable heartbreak, spirituality and political emergence.

“Money Talks…But Not In My Language”

By Lisa Wong Macabasco | March 3, 2015 | Open City

Barriers to Banking Push Queens Immigrants Towards Alternative, Financial Services

The Spirit of Parshaada [VIDEO]

By Sonny Singh | February 27, 2015 | Open City

Roti is everyday food in Punjabi homes. At the gurdwara, it takes on a new name and becomes a symbol of service.

The Black Poster

By Mei Schultz | February 24, 2015 | Open City

A mysterious black poster sends one Columbia University student down a transnational college application rabbit hole.

Mo’ Momo fo’ the Masses

By Lisa Wong Macabasco | February 4, 2015 | Open City

A momo evangelist introduces foodies to a lesser known dumpling and to the Tibetans and Nepalese who love them.

The Kind that Destroys You: an Interview with Nayomi Munaweera

By Tanwi Nandini Islam | January 21, 2015 | Open City

Munaweera’s debut novel depicts the psychic, political and sexual spaces between Sri Lanka and Los Angeles.

Childhood in a Can

By Anzhe Zhang | January 7, 2015 | Open City

Time traveling with a drink find in Chinatown

Harmonium Soul

By Sonny Singh | December 22, 2014 | Open City

Harmoniums are all over South Asian music. But they also connect Guyana and Punjab spiritually

Little Pakistan’s Mission Man

By Chaya Babu | December 12, 2014 | Open City

Community organizing can be lonely work when you’re battling ghosts from a violent past

Poll position

By Pearly Huang | December 1, 2014 | Open City

In neighborhoods where Asian American voters lack English fluency, poll workers are the overlooked links to electoral participation.

The Talented Master Khan

By Rishi Nath | November 24, 2014 | Open City

Grammy-nominated producer The Twilite Tone on moving to New York, working with Kanye and the South Asian namesake he shares with Chaka Khan

The Festival of Light and Liberation, Sikh Style

By Sonny Singh | October 31, 2014 | Open City

Diwali is celebrated in various ways by South Asian peoples. The Sikh celebration adds politics to the mix.

Karma on the Half Shell

By Eveline Chao | October 28, 2014 | Open City

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.

The Counterculturalists: Alex Hing

By Esther Wang | October 9, 2014 | Open City

Red Guard founder Alex Hing talks 1960s radicalism, sympathizing with North Korea and that infamous punch.

Architecture Reincarnated

By Thomas Mariadason | October 1, 2014 | Open City

Queens temples break from Western architecture and remake old buildings into new spaces for divine encounters

A More Fundamentally Caring Economy: an Interview with Ai-jen Poo

By Humera Afridi | September 26, 2014 | Open City

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

Women Worker Blues

By Tanwi Nandini Islam | September 26, 2014 | Open City

Worker-owned cooperatives gain immigrant women more than income. They give them a cure for the “tensions” that harm their physical and mental health.

How Eighth Avenue Became Chinese

By Tarry Hum | September 19, 2014 | Open City

Urbanist Tarry Hum’s new book on Sunset Park looks at the economic, cultural and land use shifts in the waterfront Brooklyn neighborhood.

Searching for Austin’s Asian American Soul

By Wena Poon | August 14, 2014 | Open City

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.”

Picturing the Past with Marisa Jahn’s ‘Nanny Van’

By Brian Nunes | August 1, 2014 | Open City

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.

The “Menace” of Mott Street

By Eveline Chao | July 25, 2014 | Open City

I traveled to the heart of the epidemic one day in July to find out for myself what kind of peril we’re in.

The Hustle: Foraging in Forest Park

By Tanwi Nandini Islam | July 16, 2014 | Open City

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…

The New Old Neighborhood

By Marwa Helal | July 15, 2014 | Open City

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.”

The Co-op Rules

By Thomas L. Mariadason | July 9, 2014 | Open City

A Queens couple tries to put down roots in their own community and discovers the unwritten discriminatory rules of real estate.

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.”

The Doctor Is In

By Susan M. Lee | June 24, 2014 | Open City

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.

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”…

Summer Nights, Part 2

By Marina Budhos | June 5, 2014 | Open City

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.

Summer Nights, Part I

By Marina Budhos | June 3, 2014 | Open City

Each of us has a moment, a shiny soap bubble of memory that contains our past and predicts our future.

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…

The Hustle: Wattie Kalicharan, Painter & Student

By Tanwi Nandini Islam | April 16, 2014 | Open City

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.”

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.

Dear MSG,

By Annie Choi | March 14, 2014 | Open City

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…

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!”

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