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New York state Sen. John Liu pushes for return to merit-based high school admissions

  • Sen. John C. Liu (NY-D) sent a letter to New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David Banks on Friday requesting to remove the high school lottery admissions process from the city's public high school system.
  • “The high school admissions process has been rife with uncertainty and confusion under the current system causing outrage during an already stressful time in families’ lives,” Liu said in a press release on Monday.
  • “The DOE must abandon this lottery as a relic of the pandemic, and reinstate an admissions system that values diligence and achievement,” he continued.
  • Liu noted in his letter to Banks that the uncertainty ingrained in the lottery-based admission process has driven many families out of the public school system, with some even opting to move out of New York.

Sen. John C. Liu (NY-D) has called on New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) to remove the city’s high school lottery-based admissions process and return to a system that “values diligence and achievement.”

In his letter addressed to DOE Chancellor David Banks on Friday, Liu requested that the DOE return to its previous admissions process that considered academic performance for students, calling the current lottery-based process “unpopular and ineffective.”

First Singaporean hawker center in the US opens in 14,000-square-foot New York City space

urban hawker
  • Urban Hawker, a traditional Singaporean food hall that hosts stalls and vendors, opened its doors to its soft-opening at 135 W 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York, last week.
  • The food hall, which was curated by Singaporean food expert KF Seetoh, will introduce Southeast Asian food culture with 17 vendors to its New York City location on Sept. 28.
  • The 14,000-square-foot space brings together the flavors of Singapore cuisine, as well as Malay, Peranakan, Chinese and Indian food.

The first authentic Singaporean hawker center in the U.S. is set to open in New York City on Wednesday.

Urban Hawker, a traditional Singaporean food hall that hosts stalls and vendors, opened its doors to its soft opening in Midtown Manhattan at 135 W 50th Street last week. The highly anticipated food hall, which was curated by Singaporean food expert KF Seetoh, will introduce Southeast Asian food culture with 17 vendors to its New York City location on Sept. 28.

Man arrested, then released without bail, for destroying Gandhi statue in NYC

  • Sukhpal Singh, 27, was arrested for his alleged role in vandalizing a Mahatma Gandhi statue outside the Shri Tulsi Mandir in Queens, New York City, on Aug. 16.
  • Surveillance footage of the incident shows five people pushing over the statue and taking turns smashing it with a sledgehammer.
  • The statue was found decapitated with all four limbs severed, along with the words “Kutta Dog” graffitied on its back.
  • Singh was charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime, criminal mischief in the second degree and aggravated harassment in the first degree.
  • He was released without bail following his arraignment on Sunday.

A man has been arrested and charged in connection to the early morning vandalism of a Mahatma Gandhi statue in Queens, New York City, last month.

Sukhpal Singh, 27, was apprehended on Saturday for the Aug. 16 incident at the Shri Tulsi Mandir, a Hindu temple located at 103-24 111th St. in South Richmond Hill.

EXO’s Lay Zhang, Amber Liu of f(x), ØZI, Tia Ray, Sury Su and more to perform at inaugural MetaMoon Music Festival

  • The inaugural MetaMoon Music Festival will bring the likes of EXO’s Lay Zhang, Amber Liu of f(x) and other Asian artists from all over the United States and Asia together at the Barclays Center in New York City on Nov. 26.
  • Leading up to the festival will be the MetaMoon Food Crawl starting on Nov. 1, where food lovers can explore local Asian-owned restaurants, all of which will donate to Heart of Dinner, a nonprofit organization combating food insecurity and isolation within New York City’s elderly Asian community.
  • On the day of the festival will be the MetaMoon Market, featuring a slew of Asian-owned businesses and brands.
  • Founded by Graceful Media in collaboration with LiveNation, the MetaMoon Music Festival mission aims to “bridge the gap between Asia and the US and showcase the fact that pop culture and music are universal languages that can foster a stronger understanding.”

The first-ever MetaMoon Music Festival at Barclays Center in New York City on Nov. 26 will be headlined by Lay Zhang of EXO. 

Newly announced talents Amber Liu of f(x), Chinese R&B singer-songwriter Tia Ray and Hong Kong-based indie artist Tyson Yoshi will join previously announced artists Sury Su, 9m88, Karencici and ØZI. The event will be hosted by MC Jin. 

South Asians in Queens say new redistricting maps divides their communities

  • A redistricting map set to be released by the New York City Districting Commission later this month has the South Asian community in Queens fearful of losing electoral power over the next 10 years.
  • Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park in Queens, which have large numbers of Punjabi, Indo-Caribbean and Bangladeshi residents, will be covered in the revised map.
  • Experts and advocates argue that the city’s redistricting process will further separate these populations.
  • South Asian immigrants in Queens could be adversely affected by the redistricting.

A new redistricting map set to be released by the New York City Districting Commission later this month has the South Asian community in Queens fearful of losing electoral power over the next 10 years.

The location of district lines determines which voters can vote in each representative race. The U.S. Constitution requires legislative and congressional districts to be redrawn every decade based on new census data.

Lawsuit accusing New York City officials of discriminating against Asian American students thrown out by judge

  • Southern District of New York Judge Edgardo Ramos has junked a lawsuit that aimed to stop a 2018 diversity initiative that the plaintiffs say discriminated against Asian American students.
  • The lawsuit, filed by civil rights organizations and Asian American parents of public school students, claimed that the admissions changes made by former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and former City Education Chancellor Richard A. Carranza violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • The diversity initiative changed the admissions processes of eight prestigious high schools in a bid to increase the number of low-income students in the most selective high schools in New York.
  • By altering the eligibility criteria to target admissions from lower-income schools, more slots were made available at such schools, resulting in a 5-20 percent increase in each school's incoming class.
  • Several Asian American civic and parent groups argued that the initiative violated the Equal Protection Clause since most of the low-income students who qualify for it are Black or Hispanic.
  • In his ruling, Ramos made note of 2019 and 2020 data that showed the number of Asian American students at selective high schools still rose even after the changes were imposed.

A New York court has junked a lawsuit accusing city officials of discriminating against Asian American students during the 2018 selective high school admissions process in the city. 

According to the lawsuit filed by civil rights organizations and parents of public school students, the admissions changes made by former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and former city education chancellor Richard A. Carranza violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

NYC ‘Duck Sauce Killer’ subjected his wife to ‘sadistic and violent sexual abuse’ for decades, lawyer says

  • Dorothy Hirsch, the widow of alleged “Duck Sauce Killer” Glenn Hirsch, has claimed to be a victim of her late husband’s “sadistic and violent” behavior in a new court filing.
  • Glenn, 51, was believed to have shot himself dead after being released on bail for the murder of Chinese food delivery worker Zhiwen Yan in Queens, New York City, on April 30.
  • Dorothy, 62, was indicted earlier this month on a slew of charges in connection with firearms and ammunition found in her separate Briarwood home.
  • In the court filing, defense lawyer Mark Bederow wrote that Glenn’s abusive behavior included “sadistic and violent sexual abuse, striking, cutting and menacing her with weapons, punching her, slapping her, threatening to kill her, extortion and contempt.”
  • Bederow says the District Attorney’s Office knew about Glenn’s history of abuse before it greenlighted Dorothy’s arrest.

Dorothy Hirsch, the widow of alleged “Duck Sauce Killer” Glenn Hirsch, has claimed to be a victim of her late husband’s “sadistic and violent” behavior for decades — including a 1995 incident when she was allegedly tortured and raped in a motel room.

Glenn, 51, was accused of fatally shooting Chinese food delivery worker Zhiwen Yan in Queens, New York City, on April 30. Investigators traced his motive to a months-long beef with Great Wall, the restaurant Yan had worked in, which allegedly started from a duck sauce dispute.

Man accused of sucker punching victim into coma in NYC is rearrested after originally walking free without bail

  • Van Phu Bui, 55, was released without bail after allegedly sucker punching 52-year-old Jesus Cortes in a random attack in the Bronx, New York City, on Aug. 12.
  • The incident left Cortes with a fractured skull, a broken cheekbone and brain bleeding for which he was placed in a medically induced coma.
  • Bui, who was first arrested on Wednesday, was released on Thursday after Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark downgraded his initial attempted murder charge to misdemeanor assault and harassment. 
  • Amid public outcry, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Friday that she had ordered for Bui to be re-arrested.

A man released without bail after allegedly fracturing another man’s skull in New York City has been taken back into custody, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Friday.

Van Phu Bui, a 55-year-old convicted sex offender, was first arrested on Wednesday in connection with the unprovoked attack outside a Fordham Heights restaurant in the Bronx before 11 p.m. on Aug. 12. He was re-arrested on a parole violation on Friday.

TikTok user slammed for dumpling restaurant review: ‘I used to hear they were made of rats’

  • TikTok user @brettconti sparked controversy online for his video showcasing a dumpling restaurant in New York City.
  • In a now-deleted video that has since been reposted on Twitter, Conti presents Tasty Dumpling as “how I survived living in New York City when I was broke.”
  • “Honestly, not bad,” he says in his review of the Chinatown establishment’s dumplings. “I used to hear that they were made out of rats, but they taste good.”
  • Conti evoked further outrage after Twitter users discovered that his clothing brand, Fortune New York, sells items inspired by Asian culture and designs.

A TikTok user has sparked controversy online for his review of a dumpling restaurant in New York City. 

In a now-deleted video by TikTok user @brettconti that has since been reposted on Twitter, Conti presents the restaurant Tasty Dumpling as “how I survived living in New York City when I was broke.” He says the Chinatown establishment sold five dumplings for a dollar when he used to frequent it six years ago.

Protestors gather outside Yuh-Line Niou’s office, accuse her of siding with ‘sweatshop bosses’

  • Chinatown worker groups protested outside the office of New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Lower Manhattan) on Wednesday, urging her to drop her congressional office and help them with their cause.
  • Participants in the rally organized by the Youth Against Sweatshops and Chinese Staff & Workers Association chanted “Yuh-Line Niou, Shame On You!” and claimed that she sides with “sweatshop bosses” over community members.
  • Some of the protesters lost their jobs when the Joy Luck Palace eatery closed in 2019. A court later awarded them $1 million in back pay, but they have yet to receive any pay from their bosses, who reportedly have a close relationship with Niou.
  • “Yuh-Line has always stood with workers — on the picket lines, in the legislature, and now as a candidate for Congress,” said the campaign in response to the protest.
  • The protest comes as a Daily Beast article dug into the 2016 Panama Papers leak to highlight that Niou’s family had a company formed by Mossack Fonseca, the notorious law firm that provided offshore financial services to politicians and personalities involved in money laundering schemes.

Around 100 restaurant and home-aid workers from New York’s Chinatown assembled outside the office of New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Lower Manhattan) on Wednesday to stop her bid for congressional office. 

The 39-year-old Taiwanese American congressional candidate, who is currently serving the state assembly’s 65th district, was accused of being a “fake progressive” by the protesters. 

Filipino fast food chain Jollibee to open flagship in Times Square with exclusive new menu

  • Filipino fast-food restaurant chain Jollibee will open a flagship restaurant in the heart of Times Square in New York City on Aug. 18.
  • It will be located beside the Good Morning America Studio and the Bow Tie of Midtown, where the Times Square Ball Drop takes place every year.
  • Besides serving its famous Chickenjoy and Peach Mango Pie, the flagship will also be introducing a new lineup of beef burgers, salads and sides.
  • The restaurant is expected to introduce the brand to mainstream American customers, according to Jollibee Foods Corporation.

Filipino fast-food restaurant chain Jollibee is set to open a flagship restaurant in the heart of Times Square in New York City.

Jollibee, which is known for its Filipino sweet-style spaghetti and its crispy fried chicken, will be opening its flagship restaurant at 1500 Broadway between West 43rd and 44th Streets on Aug. 18, Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) announced on Friday.

Vandalism of second Gandhi statue in New York City prompts calls for hate crime charges

  • A Mahatma Gandhi statue outside a Hindu temple in South Richmond Hill in Queens, New York, was vandalized on Aug. 3.
  • The toppled-over statue saw its arm cracked and its hand broken into pieces.
  • Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Hindu American elected for office in New York state, held a press conference on Tuesday to denounce the incident, which she described as a hate crime against the Hindu community.
  • However, Jagpreet Singh, political director at Desis Rising Up and Moving, a local group focused on low-wage South Asians, cautioned against calling the incident a hate crime, citing possible political motivations or differences within the Indian community.
  • The incident follows a similar vandalism against a Gandhi statue in Union Square in February.

Nearly six months after a life-sized Mahatma Gandhi statue was vandalized in New York City’s Union Square, another in South Richmond Hill suffered a similar fate last week, according to reports.

The incident occurred on Aug. 3 and involved the Gandhi statue outside the Shri Tulsi Mandir, a Hindu temple located at 103-24 111th St. Photos released by Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar — the first Hindu American elected for office in New York state — show the statue toppled over, its arm cracked and hand broken into pieces.