America’s underground Chinese restaurant workers

From The New Yorker, a brilliant article by Lauren Hilgers on life for America’s underground Chinese restaurant workers.

In a strip mall on a rural stretch of Maryland’s Indian Head Highway, a gaudy red façade shaped like a pagoda distinguishes a Chinese restaurant from a line of bland storefronts: a nail salon, a liquor store, and a laundromat. On a mild Friday morning this July, two customers walked into the dimly lit dining room. It was half an hour before the lunch service began, and, aside from a few fish swimming listlessly in a tank, the room was deserted.

In the back, steam was just starting to rise from pots of soup; two cooks were chopping ginger at a frenzied pace. Most of the lunch crowd comes in for the buffet, and it was nowhere near ready. “Customers are here already!” the restaurant’s owner, a wiry Chinese man in his fifties, barked. He dropped a heavy container onto the metal counter with a crash. “How can you possibly be moving this slowly?”

The senior cook, a lanky twenty-nine-year-old who goes by Rain, had been working in Maryland for almost two months. He stood silently frying noodles in a wok, his loose bangs tucked into a trucker hat with the band name Linkin Park written across the brow. “You’re too slow!” the boss yelled at the other cook, who had arrived only a few days earlier. Rain stayed focussed on the buffet dishes. He was weighing the possibility of getting a cigarette break soon. There was no sense in getting into trouble defending a co-worker he hardly knew.

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America’s underground Chinese restaurant workers

Life after death for the Paris Métro ghost stations?

I love this kind of stuff. From the always brilliant Atlantic Cities:

The Paris Métro, opened in 1900, extends over more than 200 kilometers of track, serving more than 300 individual stops. But there are 11 more stations that, though once built, now stand nearly abandoned. Many of these “ghost” or “phantom” stations shuttered after the occupation during WWII. Two of them, Porte Molitor and Haxo, never opened at all.

Parisian mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has a bold plan for these phantom stations. The center-right candidate, known as NKM to her supporters, has argued that these abandoned spaces should be reclaimed for the city’s residents.

To envision what these future public spaces could look like, NKM teamed up with architect Manal Rachdi and urban planner Nicolas Laisné. They drew up a few crazy-looking renderings to get started, starting with Arsenal, a 4th arrondissement station closed since 1939. She has pledged to solicit more inventive ideas if elected (though her opponent, Socialist Anne Hidalgo, is the frontrunner).

Life after death for the Paris Métro ghost stations?