About Zijia Song

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Caught Between Two Homelands During the Coronavirus Lockdown

(Photo: Tianpei Xiao)

When New York had its first confirmed coronavirus case on March 1, I sensed a hint of unease among my Chinese friends. When universities moved classes online one after another, discussions of flying back to China started appearing in WeChat groups. I was quickly added to two group chats where people from both China and the US shared daily flight information. On a family video chat, I mentioned it to my mom. By that time, she had stayed home in Jinan, my home city in eastern China, for over two months. More →

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Getting Tested For Coronavirus Might Be Easier Than You Think

A Covid-19 testing site in Albany. (Air National Guard Photo by Technical Sergeant Jamie Spaulding)

Call New York’s COVID-19 hotline, suggested by the state Department of Health’s website as the way to get tested, and you might be told that people with mild symptoms should monitor their condition at home and, if it worsens, contact a healthcare provider for further suggestions.  More →

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During Pandemic, Buddhist Meditation Teaches More New Yorkers to Be ‘Adamantly Joyful’

Hector Marcel conducts a Zoom class. (Photo: Stephen McManus)

Lately, John Baker, a Buddhist meditation teacher based in Manhattan, has seen more participants show up to the virtual meditation class that he and his friend Ellen Banash started a year ago. Every morning on his computer screen, people, mostly over the age of 45, join him for an hour of sitting and walking meditation. More →

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Sex Work in the Time of Covid: ‘It’s Been Really Difficult’

Tea Antimony’s regulars are her “bread and butter.” She likes establishing a rapport and mutual trust with her clients. As most of her sex work has come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, she finds herself relying even more on these regulars for large deposits for future dates. However, in the sex work industry, asking for advance payment is unusual, said Antimony. More →

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New Yorkers Are Using 311 to Report Social Distancing Violations, and Police Are Responding

Social distancing in Madison Square. (Photo: Janine and Jim Eden via Wiki Commons)

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rises to more than 47,439 in New York City, people are taking social distancing more seriously. City data shows that in the past three days in Manhattan, a total of 289 complaints regarding social distancing violations were made via 311, with police responding to all of the calls and taking action in one third of the cases. More →

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With NYC Now an Epicenter, Students Go to Great Lengths to Get Home to China

Returnees to Beijing waiting to be registered and sent to quarantine hotels. (Photos: Alice Qin)

As soon as New York confirmed its first case of coronavirus infection, Alice Qin, a sophomore at Barnard College, started considering flying back to China. When Columbia and Barnard moved all of its classes online, Qin booked a direct flight scheduled to depart on March 24. More →

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Pop-Up Exhibit Shines a Red Light On the State of Sex Work

In Greenwich Village this week, a sex workers pop-up exhibition is attracting attention. Bondage rope draped loosely from the ceiling along with objects like high heels, dildos, and leather belts represent sex workers’ collective memory and the ritual of letting go. Three rows of red umbrellas attached to the ceiling symbolize resistance to oppression and discrimination around the world.  More →