NYC - The Official Guide

What We’ve Built: Leaders in the AAPI Community

Advertisement

Of the countless venues in New York City—restaurants, shops, museums—some extend far beyond four walls thanks to their impact on the surrounding community. That includes many created by and for the AAPI population, which makes up over a million residents across the five boroughs.

At the helm of these enterprises are business owners who are foundational to their neighborhoods: they themselves are fixtures, pushing the culture forward while providing safe places to gather. What We’ve Built is a series focusing on AAPI community leaders and their spaces, including a queer Asian dance party, a distillery that houses motorcycles, a food stall turned incredibly popular lunch spot and the first Sri Lankan museum outside of Sri Lanka. 

These leaders tell us—and help define—what it means to be Asian American in New York City today and to hold space for their community. 

What We’ve Built: Leaders in the AAPI Community

Marie Estrada of Moto Spirits

Marie Estrada of Moto Spirits

The multihyphenate—sommelier, whiskey distiller, motorcycle rider—talks about the community space she's cultivated in Bushwick.

Read More
Yumpling

Yumpling

The owners of the counter-service spot in LIC tell us how they introduced their family recipes and Taiwanese cooking to NYC.

Read More
Julia Wijesinghe of the Sri Lankan Art & Cultural Museum

Julia Wijesinghe of the Sri Lankan Art & Cultural Museum

Julia Wijesinghe opened the first Sri Lankan museum in the US at 18 years old, finding it crucial to bring her culture to Staten Island.

Read More
Bubble_T Dance Collective

Bubble_T Dance Collective

The founders of Bubble_T, a queer Asian dance collective, discuss how they created space for their community in nightlife.

Read More

About the photographer
Tommy Kha (b. 1988, Memphis, Tennessee) is a Chinese-Vietnamese American art photographer working in New York City. Kha received his MFA in photography from Yale University. He likes to think he takes after his great aunt, who “read too many books and went crazy.” Kha is interested in post-immigration experiences and snapshots from the family album, often using humor to approach themes of racial identity, sexuality and representation. He joined Higher Pictures Generation in 2022, and his first major publication will be published by Aperture in February 2023.

Self-portrait of Kha backstage at Elsewhere during the Bubble_T shoot

Advertisement