In dingy basements and private clubs, an ancient Asian board game becomes a cutthroat battlefield for brainiacs.
Illustration | Mo Ho
It’s a cold night in January 2012 and Peter Armenia is sitting on a Flushing-bound seven train, anticipating culture shock. For two decades, Armenia has played the ancient Chinese game of go, always wondering how his skills would hold up at a traditional Asian club. Tonight, he’s finally getting his chance.
Urban aquaponics is poised to be the next big thing in hip, big-city farming…but does anyone actually know what they’re doing?
Photo | Emon Hassan
Chistopher Toole starts up the inclined parking lot of his Riverdale, Bronx, apartment complex towards his “fish mobile,” a beat-up& 2004 grey Dodge Sprinter van decorated with bright images of fish and ocean landscaping. The tall, bespectacled man reaches the van, unlocks it and energetically slides the door open to reveal dense clutter: four fifty-gallon plastic barrel tanks, crammed alongside stacks of empty boxes, air pumps, pails, plastic-wrapped packs of expanded shale, a “Say No To Frankenfish” postcard, and, yes, a six-person collapsible boat.
The “I hella love Oakland” ethos may not be new, but it’s kicking into high gear in Uptown. Just a few years ago, 25th Street had nothing to offer but a few artist studios tucked into abandoned auto repair shops. But these days, its commonwealth of high-octane pop-up galleries is the nexus of the Bay Area’s buzziest artist community, drawing 8,000 people every month for Oakland Art Murmur’s First Fridays. At the 25th Street Collective (477 25th St.), local creatives churn out upcycled leather jackets via Platinum Dirt and make your Goodwill clothes new again by way of Ghetto Goldilocks. It’s a full-on artisan incubator, complete with a storefront gallery, a wine bar, workshops, and edutainment events.