Illustrations by Maddy Price. Follow her at @coolfriendlyman or visit www.maddyprice.com. Many American cities were having a tough time in the late 20th century. The days of a working-class urban center were a fading memory, and virtually the entire country struggled to cope with the change. The 1919 Census of Manufactures showed that the garment industry alone employed over 250,000 New Yorkers in more than 11,000 factories—and that was just counting the businesses in Manhattan....
When the travel ban was first announced, I was studying abroad in Berlin and preparing to fly to Boston for an undergraduate conference. I’m from Hong Kong, not from any of the banned countries, but emails sent from my American college’s International Student and Scholar Office warning us to minimize unnecessary travels outside of the United States still triggered my worries. I knew that this would not be the last of the changes that...
I hadn’t been home in over a week, and during that time a new cook at the restaurant downstairs had left the gas on overnight and turned our entire apartment building—brand new baby on the top floor and all—into a giant stack of matches just begging for a spark. Another near tragedy happened, too: My golden banana had broken. The night of my return, I slowed my pace from the subway, acknowledging the extra springtime...
My parents arrived in America in the 1980s. They emigrated from China—godless, chaotic, Communist China—a place that was reeling from decades of turmoil, struggling to orient itself after the death of a leader who loomed larger than God. They’d least expect to encounter characteristics of that China in their new home, in one of the world’s most developed countries, nearly three decades later. Both my mother and my father came of age in Shanghai during...
One night in 2013, I was sitting on the A train in Brooklyn, headed to Bed-Stuy to visit a friend. It wasn't late, around 8pm, but only two other men were in the same car. One walked directly toward me and sat down close to my left side. He put his mouth up to my ear and whispered something disgusting and explicit that, partially, I can't remember, but also that I don't want to...
When we’re blessed with the overflowing bounty of pop culture that we have at present, it’s impossible to be in on everything. For every 10 addicting shows, there are 20 great new albums. For every five new films, there are a couple dozen must-read books, and 15 can't-miss magazine articles. To endeavor to stay caught up with it all is to fail. So, sometimes, you have to give a simple, respectful shrug to the next wildly popular thing. Personally, in...

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