an excerpt from

Concrete jungle:

NYC's thriving transplants

an excerpt from

Concrete jungle:

NYC's thriving transplants

an excerpt from

Concrete jungle:

NYC's thriving transplants

words Lorissa Rinehart
illustrations Tinou Le Joly Sénoville

 

The streets of New York City are the likeliest place to find the unlikely. So it was for me while trudging to work one impossibly hot summer day, when I spotted a tree growing from a tiny fissure in the asphalt near the back of a municipal parking lot. Though I had passed it a hundred times before, this was the first time I had noticed it.
 
As wild as anything in a Henri Rousseau painting, it stood equal my height, with leaves that were soft to the touch and as broad as my forearms. I was overcome by the sudden, inexplicable urge to crawl under it. So I did, and, standing beneath its lush canopy, I had a realisation. If this tree could thrive in spite of the sweltering June heat, and grow ludicrously green in lifeless asphalt, then surely I could make something of my life that seemed to be falling apart. At 30, things didn’t look much like I thought they would when I first left small-town California for the lights of the big city. Sisyphus’s job as a boulder-pusher had more promise than my career prospects. Not to mention yet another messy breakup.
 
But I wouldn’t reinvent myself just yet. First, I spent hours trying to figure out what kind of tree I had run into.


Stretching from the European Mediterranean to eastern China, purslane’s original habitat uncannily mirrors the swathe of Eurasia represented by the inhabitants of Jackson Heights


we think it’s really important that culinary travel should be part of a sustainable process that allows local foodmakers to be something more than simply props


Stretching from the European Mediterranean to eastern China, purslane’s original habitat uncannily mirrors the swathe of Eurasia represented by the inhabitants of Jackson Heights

MULLEIN

My procrastination was rewarded. I traced its history back five thousand years into the golden age of the Han Dynasty, when its leaves were used to treat bronchitis, and its resonant wood made the perfect material for the seven-stringed zithers plucked by Chinese literati. From there, the roots of the ‘Princess Tree’ extended all the way into New York, at the moment the city turned towards modernity in the mid-19th century. Thanks to the recently opened Erie Canal and the ever-growing iron sinews of the transcontinental railroad, wealth and capital flowed into New York at an unprecedented rate. 

Among those who profited most from this rapid industrialisation were the Lorillard family, whose tobacco farms and cigarette factories were propelled by a steady influx of immigrant labour and newly-minted bourgeois customers. With all that new money, they purchased a sprawling estate in the then remote borough of the Bronx in 1857, and built a luxuriously appointed Greek revival mansion.


Find the rest of this article, along with more of Tinou's illustrations, in Issue Two

My procrastination was rewarded. I traced its history back five thousand years into the golden age of the Han Dynasty, when its leaves were used to treat bronchitis, and its resonant wood made the perfect material for the seven-stringed zithers plucked by Chinese literati. From there, the roots of the ‘Princess Tree’ extended all the way into New York, at the moment the city turned towards modernity in the mid-19th century. Thanks to the recently opened Erie Canal and the ever-growing iron sinews of the transcontinental railroad, wealth and capital flowed into New York at an unprecedented rate.
 
Among those who profited most from this rapid industrialisation were the Lorillard family, whose tobacco farms and cigarette factories were propelled by a steady influx of immigrant labour and newly-minted bourgeois customers. With all that new money, they purchased a sprawling estate in the then remote borough of the Bronx in 1857, and built a luxuriously appointed Greek revival mansion.


Find the rest of this piece, along with more of Tinou's illustrations, in Issue Two

© 2019 Perfect Strangers LLC. All rights reserved.

© 2019 Perfect Strangers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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