Ethnography

Subway to Brooklyn

“Does this stop at Myrtle?”

I turned to my right where the voice came from then glanced across to check the board.

As an ethnic Chinese tourist in New York City, this unassuming question got me thinking. For all the times I’ve travelled, even in Asia, I have never once been identified as a local to get directions from. Yet here, halfway across the globe on a subway in Brooklyn, a caucasian woman felt confident enough to ask the Asian sitting next to her if the train she’d gotten on was a local or express. I belonged.

Split into five boroughs, New York City is arguably the most cosmopolitan area in the world - a melting pot of global cultures evident in the food options alone. Often romanticised in movies and on television shows such as Taxi Driver and Mad Men, it’s not hard to see why the metropolis is so attractive and so easy to become a citizen of.

With its population of 8.6 million, communities here have high amounts of differentiation that can cater to the multiplicity of identities, whether we ascribe to it ourselves or they are ascribed to us. Canadian-American journalist and activist Jane Jacob’s book The Life and Death of Great American Cities mentions that ‘cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody,’ and I think that’s one of the reasons why NYC is so distinctive. The reason assimilating into the culture here is effortless is down to the diversity on offer such that people can constantly opt in and out of whichever community they feel like they belong to, and no one will bat an eyelid. It’s almost innate.

“Yeah, it’s two stops away. This train’s a local,” I replied. I’d only been in New York for ten days, but it felt like I’d lived here before.

Singapore Design Week 2019

SDW 2019 - Poster.png

Heist is thrilled to announce that we are returning to Singapore Design Week for our third consecutive year! This year, we present to you License to Spy, a two-hour interactive session led by its team of designers and design researchers. Heighten your powers of observation in this fun and interactive session where we reveal our “spying” methods and insights gathered from different cities around Asia.

Starting off with a film clip - the session will be focussed on participants being given their own mission to crack out on the streets of Singapore, exploring the world and gathering information with their newfound skill set!

Date: 6 March 2019, Wednesday
Time: 11.30am - 1.30pm
Venue: 1 Neil Road, #02-04, Singapore 088804

This is a ticketed event. Tickets are S$15 and may be purchased here or by scanning the QR code of the image above! Should you have any queries, please feel free to reach us at sprint@heist7.com. See you there!