Hard Work, Long Hours, Big Dreams – Audio Postcards of NY Immigrants in Business & On the Job


(Photo: Flickr/fransimo)

Whether it’s a restaurant owner from Venezuela or the Korean proprietor of a neighborhood laundry, immigrants are a major force in New York City’s economy.

And behind each immigrant-owned business or immigrant worker there is a story of hard work, connections to the country they came from and hope for their life in the U.S.

More than a third of the city’s businesses are owned by immigrants, and immigrants make up an equally large share of the city’s workforce, according to a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute.

Students in the Feet in 2 Worlds course in the New School’s Media Studies program went out to document the many ways that immigrants contribute to the city’s economy. They produce a series of audio postcards and audio slide shows – vignettes of immigrants in business.

Listen to the postcards below:

Tatiana Galzy goes to the Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn to discover the secret behind Peter Pan Bakery’s much-loved donuts.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/89341570″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Yael Even Or visits Sahadis Importing Company, a family-run Middle Eastern food store on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/89343593″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]————————————————————————————————————————————————— 

Helle Andersen talks to a taxi driver from Bangladesh with a masters degree in management.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/89348357″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Maria Alzuru profiles the owner of El Cocotero, a Venezuelan restaurant famous for its arepas.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/89342303″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Sara Loscos searches out fellow Catalonians at Cadaqués, a Catalan tapas restaurant in Williamsburg.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/86070845″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]————————————————————————————————————————————————— 

Julia Hettich talks with George, the concierge of The Cove Club in Battery Park City about working the night shift.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/89623671″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


Marcela Gara profiles the Korean owner of a full service laundry in Manhattan’s East Village.

Laundry Service from Marcela Gara on Vimeo.


Angela Sharp visits with the owner of Cafe con Pan in Brooklyn.

Cafe con Pan from Angela Sharp on Vimeo.

Thanks to  Fi2W teaching assistant Tarek Fouda for help with engineering. 

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation and the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation.

AboutFeet in Two Worlds
Feet in 2 Worlds (Fi2W) is an independent media outlet, journalism training program, and launchpad for emerging immigrant journalists and media makers of color. Our work brings positive and meaningful change to America's newsrooms and has a broader impact on how immigration is reported and the ethnic and racial composition of news organizations.