Hansi Lo Wang

Hansi Lo Wang is a National Desk reporter based at NPR's New York Bureau. He covers issues and events in the Northeast.

He previously reported on race, ethnicity and culture for NPR's Code Switch team. Since joining NPR in 2010 as a Kroc Fellow, he's contributed to NPR's breaking news coverage of the 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla., the trial of George Zimmerman in Florida and the Washington Navy Yard shooting. He has also reported for Seattle public radio station KUOW and worked behind the scenes of NPR's Weekend Edition as a production assistant.

In 2014, he won the National Journalism Award for General Excellence in Radio from the Asian American Journalists Association for his profile of a white member of a Boston Chinatown gang. He was also a finalist for a Salute to Excellence National Media Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

A Philadelphia native, Wang speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese dialects of Chinese. As a student at Swarthmore College, he hosted, produced, and reported for a weekly podcast on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Editor's Note: This report contains a racial slur.

A new play reveals some little-known history about the land that became New York City's Central Park: People used to live there.

Beginning in 1825, about 300 people — mainly free African-Americans — lived in a village that spanned a portion of the park's 843 acres in Manhattan, between 82nd and 89th streets, east of Central Park West. It was called Seneca Village.

After sitting down with President Obama, addressing Congress and speaking at the United Nations, Pope Francis will meet with some unique soccer players in New York City in September.

They're migrant teenagers in a youth soccer program co-sponsored by New York's Catholic Charities.

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The image of her ash-covered face was one of the most memorable photographs taken on September 11. Marcy Borders became known as Dust Lady. Her family tells NPR that she died this week of stomach cancer. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

Eight months after homelessness hit a record in New York City, you can still see the need of the city's most vulnerable in Tompkins Square Park.

"Good morning! Two pieces?" asks Mario Cornejo, as he places slices of frosted banana bread on paper towels for a long line of hungry people.

"It used to be just a small pot before," explains Cornejo, a volunteer with a New York group called Food for Life since 2008. "Now it's a big pot and bigger salad containers, more trays of cake."

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They were under watch by the FBI and the New York Police Department. And by the early 1970s, the Young Lords emerged as one of the country's most prominent radical groups led by Latino activists.

Inspired by the Black Panthers, a band of young Puerto Ricans wanted to form a Latino counterpart to the black nationalist group. In fact, one of the founding Young Lords in New York City almost started a group called the "Brown Tigers."

There aren't a lot of obscure government board meetings that warrant a watch party, let alone one with a marching band.

But that's how fast-food restaurant workers and their supporters celebrated Wednesday on a blocked-off street in Manhattan, as they watched a state panel recommend a $6.25 increase in their hourly wage, to $15.

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Today for the last time, soldiers - toy soldiers - opened the doors of a New York City icon.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you ready to do it one more time?

(APPLAUSE)

MAN: Guys, come on in. Welcome to FAO.

(APPLAUSE)

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My mother's family fled communism twice.

The first time was from China. Then, after Saigon fell in 1975, they left Vietnam.

My mother, Kuo Nam Lo, was 24 when she spent her first few months in the U.S. at a refugee camp at a military base along a stretch of the Appalachian Mountains in central Pennsylvania.

"I've always wanted to come back here," my mother told me in Cantonese on a recent drive through Fort Indiantown Gap. "Son, you've made my dream come true."

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Aetna, one of the biggest health insurance companies in the U.S., has announced a $37 billion deal to buy its rival Humana. This is a merger that could impact Medicare patients around the country, as NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

After a mass shooting at a historically black church, Charleston, S.C., finds itself in the middle of a national conversation about race.

The city of Charleston itself has seen major racial shifts in its population over the past few decades: since 1990, the black population has dropped from 42 percent to 23 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. One neighborhood undergoing this transition is located just north of the site of the shooting, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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New Jersey's highest court ruled Tuesday that Gov. Chris Christie does not have to pay more money into the state's pension funds. The decision overturns a lower court's ruling that favored the unions who brought the lawsuit.

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New York, Baltimore, Chicago and some other major cities have seen a rise of gun violence in recent months. And as summer approaches, Police Departments are worried that the problem could get worse. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published in May 2012.

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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The president of the Boy Scouts of America made a surprise announcement today. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the organization needs to rethink its ban of openly gay men serving as scout leaders. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

It's been more than 60 years since Ellis Island closed as a station for inspecting and detaining immigrants. But you can still take a ferry from New York City and cross the Hudson River along the old routes, right to the dock outside a red brick building trimmed with limestone.

"You're sailing in just the way a 1920s immigrant sailed in, only on a little better vessel," says Stephen Briganti, the son of an Ellis Island immigrant from Italy.

Of all the police officers involved in the recent deaths of unarmed men which have drawn national attention, only one is Asian-American – New York City Police Officer Peter Liang, the son of Chinese immigrants.

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The federal investigation into Baltimore's police force is one of the first steps some in the city believe will rebuild the relationship between officers and residents.

Some faith leaders are optimistic that can be done, and past police programs have helped. But other residents are skeptical that West Baltimore residents' trust can be regained.

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In New York City, commuters traveling near ground zero today were greeted by an unusual sound - typewriters. And tapping away on them - poets writing verse on demand. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang stopped by to see some of them at work in lower Manhattan.

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