Streams

The Decline of the Korean Greengrocer

Monday, January 24, 2011

Laura Vanderkam, a NYC-based journalist and author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, and Pyong Gap Min, professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and author of Ethnic Solidarity for Economic Survival: Korean Greengrocers in New York City, explain why Korean greengrocers in the city are gradually disappearing.

Guests:

Pyong Gap Min and Laura Vanderkam
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Comments [15]

Lori from Port Washington, NY

The "Professor" is a antisemitic ignorant man. His remark about that the Jews moved up for the money is the most racist remark I have ever heard a guest say on WNYC. And Brian just took it. He said nothing at all. Disgraceful indeed.

Jan. 24 2011 04:01 PM
Howard from The Bronx

Jewish people wanted money Boy, that sounds familiar and Koreans want high status. . I suppose Jewish parents wanting their children to be professionals - doctors, lawyers, professors, teachers was only for the money. Jewish people worked in as owners of Kosher delis, and candy stores working long hours so their children could have "high status" careers. The professor should widen his views. He works at CUNY.

Jan. 24 2011 11:31 AM
Gerald Fnord from Palos Verdes, CA

Many such greengrocers routinely had a teenager doing her homework behind the register, or a child doing his next to the adult behind the register. That's why they're not becoming green-grocers.

Note: that's not all you need, not by far, and what is most deficient in more rooted Americans---respect and honour given to education---cuts across most classes and groups. Some of this deficiency is due to the legacy of the frontier, where book-learning was really less useful because there had been no books written about the newly-stolen lands' tillage yet. It also stems from the laudatory rejection of arbitrary authority and people who think they're 'better than you' which shades into a malevolent rejection of earned authority and mockery of people who think they're better than you _at_ something because they are.

As I told a teabagger, "I'm also an anti-élitist; that's why we both want our next heart valve replacements to be done by an average American free of all that fancy perfessor stuff."

Jan. 24 2011 11:09 AM
Gerald Fnord from Palos Verdes, CA

Many such greengrocers routinely had a teenager doing her homework behind the register, or a child doing his next to the adult behind the register. That's why they're not becoming green-grocers.

Note: that's not all you need, not by far, and what is most deficient in more rooted Americans---respect and honour given to education---cuts across most classes and groups. Some of this deficiency is due to the legacy of the frontier, where book-learning was really less useful because there had been no books written about the newly-stolen lands' tillage yet. It also stems from the laudatory rejection of arbitrary authority and people who think they're 'better than you' which shades into a malevolent rejection of earned authority and mockery of people who think they're better than you _at_ something because they are.

As I told a teabagger, "I'm also an anti-élitist; that's why we both want our next heart valve replacements to be done by an average American free of all that fancy perfessor stuff."

Jan. 24 2011 11:08 AM
Howard from The Bronx

Jewish people wanted money and Koreans want high status. Boy, that sounds familiar. I suppose Jewish parents wanting their children to be professionals - doctors, lawyers, professors, teachers was only for the money. Jewish people worked in as owners of Kosher delis, and candy stores working long hours so their children could have "high status" careers. The professor should widen his view. He works at CUNY.

Jan. 24 2011 11:04 AM
carolita from nyc

Ethnicity-dominated jobs and businesses come in waves, it's perfectly normal, isn't it? It just showcases the ingenuity of immigrants, their determination to fit in wherever they see opportunity, and move on and let the next wave take over. (Or, Walmart, yes.)

Jan. 24 2011 11:04 AM
Adrian from Boston

There is a part in the Spike Lee movie "Do the Right Thing" (which is set in Brooklyn) where a few black men comment on it being so easy for the Asian market owner to make a living while they have a very difficult time.

Jan. 24 2011 11:04 AM
Matt

Have farmers' markets affected this at all?

Jan. 24 2011 10:58 AM
Michele from Brooklyn, ny

When my parents arrived in new york, they worked for a man who owned a ran fruit and veg store in the east village.They saved money and opened their own store in flatbush, then cobble hill and eventually in park slope. The profits paid my upper east side private school and college tuitions. It was clear that I would not take over the family business.

Jan. 24 2011 10:58 AM
A Listener

Please and the professor if it's true that Koreans don't generally smile in day to day transactions. I believe this was at the root of the cultural misunderstandings between Koreans and people from the Caribbean.

Jan. 24 2011 10:57 AM
Fred from Florham Park, NJ

What about dry cleaners? Speaking solely based on personal experience, the ownership of dry cleaners by Koreans has been a boost to the quality of life in NJ.

Jan. 24 2011 10:56 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Sadly, this arose 30-40 years ago, peaking in the 1980's. Hard working people who didn't find the American dream to be a hackneyed nativist myth.

I wonder if this could happen now.....when the Left (and the Obama Administration) tries to convince immigrant groups that they are just victims...of racism, nativism, whatever......victims who should first get welfare, free public services, legal rights advocates, etc.....and then vote for their benefactors in the Democratic Party.

Thank heavens they weren't seduced by these social bedizenments that have kept some other minorities in roles of a permanent underclass.

Jan. 24 2011 10:56 AM
KimCheeParadise from NYC

Can you ask your guests about the cooperative community funding models that help bankroll and build these businesses? I've heard this is common in the Korean community. And, do they have pipelines to Korean owned farms on LI, etc?

Jan. 24 2011 10:53 AM
Jay F.

They went the way of the Greek Diner, the Italian delis and pizzerias, Chinese laundries, etc.

Jan. 24 2011 10:49 AM
Morris from Nyc

Greengrocers out, Wall Mart in.

Jan. 24 2011 10:48 AM

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