Articles in the Stories Category
100 Results

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!”

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.”

Red Hook Revisited

By Jesse Hardman | October 24, 2013 | Open City

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…

A “Family” Mission

By Rachel Bryson-Brockman and Elly W. Yu | October 17, 2013 | Open City

“We are not known to the mainstream disabled communities. We’ve been here for 20 years.”

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 insang??!” The other pressed, “But you do go to church, don’t you?”

The Physics of Storytelling

By Rishi Nath | October 3, 2013 | Open City

As I studied my surroundings, I found things that defied explanation. For some matters, the closer I looked, the more elusive any resolution became.

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.

Gifting Confucius

By Eveline Chao | September 19, 2013 | Open City

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.

Yoga (Re)Public

By Thomas Mariadason | September 18, 2013 | Open City

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.

Fact/Fiction

By Rishi Nath | August 23, 2013 | Open City

A Conversation with Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, Queens Author and Rapper

Video: Behind A Superhero

By John Paul Infante and Nabil Rahman | August 15, 2013 | Open City

“We need a new superhero that will not depend on the tropes of past heroes,” says Anand who copyrighted Laserman in 1985 at the age of 12.

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.

Video: At Home with Brooklyn Shanti

By Nabil Rahman | July 30, 2013 | Open City

Afrika Bambaataa recently crowned Lasker the “Indian Bambaataa” for his efforts spreading hip-hop in India.

Got Moochh?

By Roohi Choudhry | July 29, 2013 | Open City

It’s like wearing a swagger on your face. If you’ve got a mustache, you’re someone to be taken seriously.

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?

Your Day is My Night: Documenting Shifting Lives

By Kyla Cheung | June 7, 2013 | Open City

Lynne Sachs talks about her film on immigrant experiences in Chinatown shift-bed houses.

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.”

VIDEO: Immigrants Behind the Wheel

By Jia Guo | March 7, 2013 | Open City

There are 42,000 cab drivers in New York City–and 82% of them are immigrants. Many from them from white collars jobs back in their home country.

Night at Mission Chinese: A Sichuan Food Tease

By Katie Salisbury | March 7, 2013 | Open City

Writer Katie Salisbury goes on a quest to Mission Chinese to check out the monster success of Asian hipster cuisine.

Q&A With Ashok Rajamani: The Man Whose Brain Exploded

By Kyla Cheung | March 7, 2013 | Open City

Kyla Cheung talks to Ashok Rajamani about his uniquely humor-filled memoir recovering from an aneurysm at the age of 25.

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.

When The Butcher Cries: A Visit to an Organic Halal Slaughterhouse

By Humera Afridi | February 21, 2013 | Open City

A river of dark, red fluids frothed and pooled over drains. Men in green T-shirts scrubbed the floor with brooms as wave after wave of water washed away the sacrificial blood.

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.

A Secret Life in Misspelled Cities & The Secret Lives of Misspelled Cities

By Sahar Muradi & Zohra Saed | January 29, 2013 | Open City

Sahar Muradi and Zohra Saed are two Afghan American poets. This is a lyrical conversation between Sahar, who returned to retrace footsteps in Afghanistan and Zohra, who remained ensconced in longing for mythic cities of her birth.

Searching for Soca Paradise: An Afternoon With DJ Rekha

By Rishi Nath | January 18, 2013 | Open City

The Basement Bhangra deejay revisits the neighborhood of a legendary Hollis nightclub that flourished in the 90s.

Between the Chifa and the Red Lanterns

By Celina Su | January 16, 2013 | Open City

The costs of ‘hecho en China.’

Places: A Rumination On Cities

By Deepak Unnikrishnan | January 14, 2013 | Open City

From Abu Dhabi to the East Coast, a temporary resident negotiates the urban spaces that built him.

Photo Essay: ‘As Innerly As Possible’

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

In conversation with solitude.

Photo Essay: The Cross Currents of Flushing, Queens

By Deanna Fei & Jessica Fei | January 9, 2013 | Open City

Sisters Deanna Fei and Jessica Fei capture the many faces of Flushing: a home, a place of transit, a new territory.

Post-Punk, Post-Tehran: Yellow Dogs Perform December 13 in Williamsburg

By Gary Sullivan | December 11, 2012 | Open City

Formed in Iran—and influenced by Joy Division—the indie band had to high-tail out of the Islamic Republic for fear of reprisals. Why the band wound up in Brooklyn.

New York Post Subway Photo: Is Ki Suk Han’s Last Moment Just Another Cheap Thrill?

By Sukjong Hong | December 7, 2012 | Open City

After the family saw this photo, ‘they couldn’t sleep.’

An Island and Its Storm: Sandy’s Aftermath In Pictures and Poetry

By Jen Fitzgerald | December 6, 2012 | Open City

Remaining unnoticed is not a new thing for Staten Island.

Lakshmi’s Night: A Muslim Woman Honors Diwali

By Humera Afridi | November 28, 2012 | Open City

I recall the monkey god’s gaze at the Ganapati Temple and my own impulsive desire to offer him a coconut.

Anatomy Of A Fuel Shortage: The Hess Station on Liberty Avenue in Queens

By Rishi Nath | November 19, 2012 | Open City

From Libya to Liberty Avenue, Hess was making a killing.

Novelist Katie Kitamura: “I’m Interested In Disembodied Voices”

By Wah-Ming Chang | November 15, 2012 | Open City

Wah-Ming Chang talks to the author about reading, writing, and Hari Kunzru’s voice.

Diwali 2012: The Festival of Lights After Hurricane Sandy

By Hasanthika Sirisena | November 14, 2012 | Open City

In Jersey City’s India Square, the Hindu holiday is tempered and celebrated privately.

Magical Mystery Tour: Chinatown’s Underbelly with Novelist Ed Lin

By E. Tammy Kim | November 8, 2012 | Open City

“My strength is writing about Chinese people and dirtbags, and Chinese dirtbags.”

The Democracy of Patience: Inside a Polling Station in Queens

By Humera Afridi | November 7, 2012 | Open City

“Romney is very hostile.”

Scenes From Sandy: South Queens Recovers, Slowly

By Rishi Nath | November 3, 2012 | Open City

Dispatch from Far Rockaway and Jamaica in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Post Sandy, Day 4: Hester Street in Lower Manhattan

By Ken Chen | November 2, 2012 | Open City

Community organizers distributed supplies and canvassed buildings for two days before FEMA showed up to offer aid.

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