Donald Glover talking about the comments he received during his campaign to be the next Spider-Man (x)“I was talking about it with Dan Eckman, who directed my Bonfire video. Can you imagine that trailer? That would be dope. Like it makes sense… a poor black kid in Queens. Like it just fits.”
PS 244, in Flushing, Queens, became the first public school in a major American city to offer an all-vegetarian menu.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott turned up to eat with the kids, though he could’ve probably looked a little happier, right?
On yesterday’s menu, above, were black bean and cheddar quesadillas with salsa and roasted potatoes.
Third graders who spoke with NY1 gave it rave reviews.
“When you’re healthy you can do better on tests, and you can fight more diseases,” said one student in the cafeteria.
“It’s green so it can make your eyes better, and it can also help your muscles to become stronger, and it also has a lot of protein, not a lot of sugar,” said another student. [link]
Other items on the menu include roasted chickpeas, braised black beans with plantains, tofu vegetable wrap with cucumber salad, vegetarian chili served with brown rice, falafel, and roasted tofu with Asian sesame sauce.
Hell Gate Bridge — February 2013
Most New Yorkers probably haven’t heard of the Hell Gate Bridge, but it’s kinda forlorn and beautiful and its single arch connects Queens to the Bronx. It’s said that if all human life disappeared from New York, the bridges would collapse within a few hundred years. But the Hell Gate would survive for a thousand.
The President and the Seamstress
Kazi Fouzia stitches clothes at her home in Jamaica, Queens. On Tuesday she’ll be waiting to hear what President Obama has to say to her and the other 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in this country when he makes his case for immigration reform.
“At this point, we’re not putting all our hopes up,” said Kazi (pictured above), who moved here from Bangladesh. “For the last 4 years, Obama had made a lot of promises but didn’t follow through on them.”
We met at the offices of DRUM NYC — Desis Rising Up and Moving — where she acts as a worker organizer.
She used to work for someone in Jackson Heights, but he only paid her $50 for a day’s work.
“Desi owners” — South Asian employers — are like that, she told me, willing to exploit their own by threatening to turn them in to the immigration authorities.
Minimum wage is $7.25 but five dollars an hour appears to be the norm for South Asian retail workers in Jackson Heights, according to a DRUM survey.
Pinky, who works at a retail store down the street, selling bangles, makes less than that, while putting in 12-hour days. If she didn’t have to be at work, she’d watch the president’s speech too.
“If real, genuine immigration reform does come through, we’ll be very happy,” said Pinky, who arrived here from Bangladesh 12 years ago. “And even before going back to our own country, I’d like to go on Hajj [pilgrimage to Mecca]. Where I’d make prayer for Obama and all those people who fought to bring about this immigration reform.”
In addition to traveling home, Pinky said she’d also look for better work; immigration reform could thus have an enormous impact on New York City’s economic landscape, as it would prevent many employers, South Asian or otherwise, from under-paying their workers.
Like Pinky, Kazi is hopeful that she’ll be able to travel freely — she lives apart from her son, in Bangladesh — and although she remembers the last time immigration reform came and went, she thinks the political climate is more promising this year.
“During the campaign Mitt Romney kept saying that every undocumented immigrant needs to leave the country,” she said, an apparent reference to his calls for self-deportation. “But now their tone is markedly different.”
“Two teens beat a 70-year-old Queens man after asking him if he was Hindu or Muslim, police said Friday.” [NYDN]
This happened in Corona, Queens. The cops are searching for two Hispanic males. On one hand, it’s a savage act, plain and simple. On the other hand, there’s an element of sophistication within this savagery. The stereotypical American bigot, you imagine, doesn’t stop to consider such fine nuances as Hindu vs. Muslim before initiating an all-out assault — it’s all just a whole bunch ‘o’ brown, right?
But of course, it’s not, as is made clear by the suspect profiles — “dark haired” Hispanics going after someone who’s presumably South Asian, and just as dark.
This question, “Are you Hindu or Muslim?” is so strange to encounter in a New York crime story, especially for an Indian guy like me. For anyone who has roots in South Asia, it’s the question seemingly repeated, ad nauseum, throughout all spasms of Hindu-Muslim violence.
After all, many Hindus and Muslims in India or Pakistan are ethnically identical, distinguished only by their religiously-ascribed clothing or something just as superficial. During any episode of inter-religious butchering, the question is presumably thrust at anyone who doesn’t fit into a clear category. But even rampaging mobs can be savvy, and know very well that the person being asked is willing to answer with whatever identity is most practical at that moment.
From this cynicism was born a test of sorts: if the mob doubts the veracity of the answer — suspects that the person is in fact Hindu when he said Muslim, or vice-versa — it forces him to drop his pants, and reveal whether he is circumcised (Muslim) or not (Hindu).
The body, it figured, couldn’t lie.
Justin Bieber cupcakes for sale — for Hurricane Sandy relief.
I spent yesterday boxing clothes, hauling crates of water and yes, eating baked goods and delicious Indian food in Jackson Heights. There were probably dozens, if not hundreds of relief efforts across New York over the weekend, and it’s interesting to imagine how each of them channeled the spirit of their respective communities.
In Jackson Heights, you could watch young white professionals and Latino men volunteering alongside Pakistani mothers. The food sales included those Bieber cupcakes and red velvet cake as well as pulao, pakoras and some rather excellent Indian chicken sandwiches made by a local chef.
The day’s effort netted several thousand dollars, as well as several van-loads (and SUV and car-loads) of donations to places in Far Rockaway and nearby.
If there was one frustration, it was getting WAY too many clothes, then being told over the phone that many dropoff centers weren’t taking any clothes.
What I’m told they definitely do need are things like generators, and lights, and tents. And of course, sustained attention.