Law of the City in New York: Episode 2

We’re done with the introduction part and now, the NY Family members need to earn money on their own. Their first day in NYC was not without drama and they’re now on their own to make their living. Without any professional help or money to embark on their quest for jobs, would it be a successful second day or would they return home with empty hands?

Episode 2 (18.06.2014)

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Episode 2: Brooklyn’s Last Resort

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It’s their first night in Brooklyn and the gentlemen were sleeping soundly in their sleeping bags…but then, Jin-hee was not there in her tent! Uh, where did she go? It turned out that she was drying her hair with a face mask on after a midnight shower. LOL it’s kind of creepy to see her squatting beside the wall with the white mask and her long hair! Nevertheless, Jin-hee got to enjoy the night view by herself and soon went to sleep as the new day showed itself…

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But then, one person was suddenly missing from his spot. Ha, Kyung-ho had slipped out of his sleeping bag and all dressed up in his clothes, preparing to head out. The VJ and one of the PDs had to follow after him, who was actually ready to start his morning with his jogging. Yeah, that’s his daily routine back in Seoul and he would run between Seongsu Brigde and Banpo Bridge in Seoul before heading towards his house, which would take around 1 hour and 20 minutes. He’s really a jogging mania and the VJ didn’t look that excited to hear Kyung-ho saying that Central Park was closer than what he thought. Lucky for the VJ and Jo PD, who was following him, Kyung-ho decided to go to the nearest park, which was McCarren Park. Just like the stars in the Hollywood movies, he’s starting his day with running..except that the rows of restaurants he passed through made him hungry. I feel sorry for him when he stared hungrily at the bakery and literally drooling at the fruits on display! Anyway, after 20 minutes of running, he arrived at the park and joined fellow New Yorkers running around the park for about one hour(!). By the time they reached the park, the VJ and Jo PD had stopped running and decided to film Kyung-ho from afar. Hehehe.

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Meanwhile, Chun-hee and Moon enjoyed the morning view of Manhattan from the rooftop. It’s so funny when Chun-hee pointed out that the city was far away from them…instead, they were surrounded by factories. LMAO. They soon retreated into the house since the air was chilly. Jin-hee was ready to wash up but the water was freezing cold, unlike the hot water she had the night before. She decided to just go with it but she couldn’t hide the disappointment that even NY didn’t have hot water in 2014. From what I understood, the old buildings like where they were staying had water tanks with water heaters installed to heat the water stored inside the tanks. The cold water for immediate use was plenty but there would be instances where the hot water won’t come out immediately. Please correct me if I’m wrong, dearest New Yorkers!

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Kyung-ho, who had returned home, didn’t even had a clue on what’s going on and went straight to the bathroom on the fourth floor to take his bath. He opened the tap..and realized that the water was super cold but he got ready to shower. Kekeke, he adjusted the camera to record his ‘shower scene’ but he couldn’t keep his composure long enough thanks to the freezing cold water. LOL he was shivering while showering and looked so relieved to finish the torturous bath!

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The whole family had woke up and Jin-hee was preparing her mini dressing table to put her make up. There wasn’t any big mirror around so she had to use a camera as her mirror. Sung-soo saw her and thought that they should prepare a dressing table for their maknae. Awww as expected, he’s a thoughtful big brother! They found a large mirror and put it near the window. Jin-hee was touched and excited to have a mirror for her use and Sung-soo remarked that the mirror could be used by 26 people at once. Kekeke! They did look like a family in a CF and Sung-soo played the father who was trying out his daughter, Jin-hee’s make up and drying Kyung-ho’s hair.

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They started thinking of the things they needed and made the mirror as their memo board. At the top of the list was butane gas to be used for cooking (since they got the burner), followed by transformer (for the electrical appliances), sponge (for kitchen use), chair, and many other things deemed important for daily life. Would they be able to achieve their target for today?

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But then, the most important thing they needed at that moment:food. Their breakfast for the second day consisted of the food brought from Korea: rice cakes and the side dishes prepared by Jin-hee’s mom, but their food supply was slowly diminishing. The current food in their possession included: one container of rice cakes, a sack of rice, a can of whelks, 2/3 container of almonds, six cans of chicken breast meat, red ginseng packs, and small portions of various side dishes.

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Hence, they embarked on a job hunting mission nearby and split into two groups: the hyungs (Sung-soo and Chun-hee) and the dongsaengs (Kyung-ho, Moon, Jin-hee). Sung-soo felt that the are was pretty bleak and Chun-hee thought that the main road would be busier, thus increasing the probability of them getting jobs somewhere. He made use of the smartphone and Sung-soo was surprised to learn that they could use it to navigate through the area. I can’t blame him at all! Smartphone and GPS is the modern version of maps but it’s a challenge for the older generation to learn how to use it 😀 They eventually walked down the road and reached Manhattan Avenue, the big road around the area.

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The hyungs entered a grocery shop in order to buy butane gas but they couldn’t find any, so they decided to ask the cashier for it…only that they were not sure what it was called in English. Chun-hee thought that it’s called cooking gas and they asked the cashier..but the guy couldn’t understand what they were looking for. Awww..they were having trouble communicating in English but that didn’t stop them from searching for the gas! They split up and Sung-soo entered another shop, this time making friends with a little boy named Max. Hihihi ❤ He realized that he’s not that good in English and pull out his hidden card from his backpack…an English phrasebook! He couldn’t find butane gas among the hundreds of words in the book and tried asking the cashier for butane gas (this time getting his pronunciation better, although he’s still unsure about the correct way) but the shop didn’t have any…At least the hyungs achieved something since they found a discarded chair on their way out and thought that the chair was still in good condition. Chun-hee carried and pushed the chair all the way back to their house, proud to find the first furniture for their house!

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The dongsaengs were on high spirits to search for a job and found a pizza parlour. Jin-hee was actually more excited to eat than working there 😀 They asked if the place was hiring but the staff couldn’t say anything since the manager won’t be there until three hours later. They walked further down the road and entered a saloon, but the owner needed someone with professional skills to work there. Another fast food place would only hire more people in the following month, but it’s quite funny when the owner thought that they were high school students looking for a part time job. She was kind enough to suggest that they go to a supermarket to secure a job.

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The three of them found a supermarket and entered the place with high anticipation. They were distracted by the food on display (39¢ bread! Cheese! Potatoes – but the steamer was too weak to cook it) and wished that they could get the cooking gas. Kyung-ho asked how butane gas was pronounced..and that’s probably why the hyungs couldn’t find it since they pronounced butane wrong! Moon asked one of the workers if they sell any butane gas there…and the worker started to speak in a foreign language with another worker. There wasn’t any, and Moon wondered if they had any job openings there. The manager was very kind and called the headquarters to ask for details and they waited in anticipation. The worker explained that the supermarket was actually a Poland-American supermarket and the places they went before were all Polish shops. [Greenpoint was also known as ‘Little Poland’ since the Polish community made up 43% of the total population there, as in 2010. Just like the Korean immigrants in Koreatown, the Polish community organized various events to maintain their identity].

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Jin-hee and Moon both promised to buy each other chocolates as a present once they receive their first paycheck, but their hopes were shattered when the manager apologized. The manager couldn’t hire them but they were still thankful for her to help them. The worker told them to go to other supermarkets around the neighbourhood and wished them best of luck. So sweet! It was another failure but it’s heartwarming to see people helping each other out ^^ It started to rain but that didn’t stop them from going in and out of shops, trying their luck. Still, there wasn’t any job available for them. Kyung-ho grew more frustrated since he couldn’t speak English and urged Moon to be more aggressive in asking for a job. I feel him, it’s so frustrated when you can’t communicate with other people!

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They huddled under the eaves in front of a closed shop to avoid the rain and then, the owner arrived to open it. They helped her and Kyung-ho even threw some random compliments (“I love Poland yogurt!” LOL), but they weren’t hopeful to secure any job there. At the same time, Chun-hee was roaming around and drooled over some fruits on display in front of a mini market when suddenly, someone was grinning upon noticing him. Was that an Asian lady? Chun-hee asked if she’s a Korean and yes, that lady was from Korea! It must be a lucky day for him to encounter fellow Koreans there 😉 Butane gas wasn’t sold there, though, and the owner knew a place which sell it, but Chun-hee didn’t have any money to move around. He tried out his luck, asking if there’s any job available there (he could do some cleaning and even make the shelves) and the owner ahjusshi knew a place that would need extra hands with delivery during peak hours. Yeay! The place was about 15 minutes walking distance from there but the most important thing was…he’s one step closer to being hired!

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Chun-hee called the troubled Sung-soo to tell him about his job, and big hyung wanted to work with him too. Heee. They had to rush to the place before 11 AM (it was 10.45 AM currently) since it was situated in Queens and they had to cross the Pulaski Bridge to get there. Both of them sprinted across the bridge, including the VJs who slowly fell behind them. Ah, you have to work out to catch up with them, dear VJs! After all the running and sweating, they reached the place. They met the ahjusshi earlier, who introduced them to the manager of the place. [It was actually a delicatessen or deli, selling freshly cooked food including Korean dishes, sandwiches, various kinds of salads, coffee, and daily supplies. Functioning as a combined restaurant and convenience store, it’s more or like similar to supermarket in Korea.]

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Sung-soo asked if there’s any job for him and the manager thought that he could help around with the lunch delivery, so it’s possible to hire both of them. It’s great to see them being hired at last and both of them realized that securing a job wasn’t that easy to begin with. They would be working for three hours, from 11 AM to 2 PM. Sung-soo’s first task was to wash the dishes while Chun-hee had to arrange the drinks in the fridge (and he’s wearing short sleeves in that freezing cold place!). Sung-soo the dishwasher worked diligently while being supervised by manager ahjusshi. They got along with the fellow co-workers, with Chun-hee adorably trying to communicate with his new co-worker Rolando in Konglish. After finishing his work in the kitchen, Sung-soo went to arrange the stock on the shelves and manager ahjusshi praised him for doing a good job although it was his first time. But then, Sung-soo accidentally sat on something he didn’t know and the manager ahjusshi jokingly asked him, “If you don’t know what it is, why are you sitting on it?” Hahaha!

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The dongsaengs, after their failed attempt to find jobs, retreated to the nearby residential area and Jin-hee thought that the residents might be looking for babysitters or dog walkers. Coincidentally, they ran into a local lady Kat taking her dog Fudge out for a walk. She suggested that went to websites such as Craigslist to find some jobs and they headed back to their house to look up for the site. They decided to use the site to upload their ads looking for a job and Kyung-ho’s way of using the notebook was rather..unique. LOL. The maknaes asked if he had a computer at home…and I don’t think he had any. Kekeke! At least he’s pretty good with smartphone (judging from how he’s using it earlier and how he’s poking at the computer as if it was a touchscreen). They uploaded their own ads, and Kyung-ho’s ads had to be the funniest (and most desperate) among those three..

The ads :D
The ads 😀

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Back at the deli, Chun-hee had been promoted to an assistant cashier, helping the cashier hyung to put the food in the plastic bag. He was so nervous at first but soon grew accustomed to the many customers coming to the place and learned a few useful English phrases. Cashier hyung introduced him as a Korean movie star and a customer thought that he would do well in US too! Sung-soo was still the ordinary part-timer doing the arranging work while Chun-hee was enjoying his time, blushing at the sight of a Japanese lady (apparently a regular customer there) calling him oppa, causing him to forget momentarily about his daughter. Hahaha! He even got a tip (a can of drink) from a customer, proving that he’s indeed the face of the shop, the Deli Prince.

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They had some break and chose coffee over food  because of its tempting aroma. Chun-hee thought that it would be nice if they could come and work there every day, but Sung-soo felt that his legs were about to break  from all the running, walking, and standing. They were hungry since they didn’t have their lunch and Sung-soo told  manager ahjusshi (who remarked that it’s been a while since the last time he ate some) that they only ate rice cakes before going there. The manager told them about his years in the States (it’s been 10 years since he emigrated from Korea) including how he built his business. [Korean immigrants had a long history since the first group of immigrants arriving in USA in 1903. After the revision of Immigration Act in 1965, more Koreans emigrated to USA and started small businesses such as laundry, grocery stores, and fruit stalls, which would later expanded to delis. The small Korean community grew into a recognized community, be it in politics, economy, or literature.]

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The part-time job finally came to an end when the clock struck two and they were ready to receive their first ever paycheck in NYC. The minimum wage there was $8/hour, so with their 3-hour job and minus the coffee price ($1.75 each), they would receive $22.25 each. Since Chun-hee worked as a cashier, the cashier hyung was generous to give him a dollar from the tip received from the customers. Sung-soo didn’t forget to take the coffee cups with them (since they needed the cups) and promised to bring along the rice cakes for the manager on the next day. It’s not easy at all to earn money and the feelings of receiving the paycheck after working hard for several hours made the big hyung recalled the first time he received his salary after working as a model.

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Sung-soo and Chun-hee headed back to Brooklyn and made a pit stop to eat their packed lunch: the almond! They sounded like elders, thinking that it would be nice if the dongsaengs could experience the same thing too. On their way home, they encountered some planks which could be made into a table. Chun-hee realized that one of the planks had some poop on it >.< He even brought back some flowers for the maknae dongsaeng, Jin-hee. She’s touched and went outside hunting for vases to put the flowers in. Now, their house had some decoration in the form of flowers! The hyungs showed the dongsaengs what they got from their first day of working part-time jobs and shared their experience. Jin-hee was given the responsibility to manage the household account. Chun-hee was sure that Jin-hee would do a good job taking care of the money..but the money won’t easily come out then. Hihihi!

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The ‘elders’ went out again in the evening, bringing plastic and paper bags together with them. They found a recycling machine in the residential area nearby. With every empty glass bottle, can, or PET bottle, they would get recycling coupons which could be exchanged with money. Hence, they decided to find recyclable materials to obtain the recycling coupons. Brilliant! They picked up some plastic containers and went to the machine to give it a try and then resumed their mission of  picking up the recyclable items. At this rate, they would be able to clean the whole Brooklyn! They were really committed in earning as much money as possible! While picking up the empty bottles, they also found several items which might be useful for their house. Chun-hee and Sung-soo went back to the recycling machine and saw a woman with a full shopping cart that made them thought of food. They walked towards the  machine in anticipation…but the machine refused to accept their bottles. Those bottles were actually refundable (at low price), so that’s probably the reason why they were discarded just like that. They had no other choice but to throw the bottles away but they still got a precious 30¢ coupon.

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It was almost dinnertime but the family members seemed too relaxed…instead of preparing the dinner, they just sat around, doing nothing. Well, that’s because they failed to get the butane gas, so they couldn’t cook their food! Chun-hee thought of something: would it be possible to make a small fire inside the city? Good news for them: it’s allowed and they started to do the preparation to make the fire on the rooftop (with safety being their top priority, of course!). They were momentarily taken away by the pretty night view of the city but soon resumed working. First, they made holes at the lower part of the tin pail for oxygen flow. Secondly, they broke the timber they bought from the building owner the day before into smaller pieces to be used as fuel. Finally, they lit up the cardboard to start the fire. The fire was big (they might be able to cook Chinese dishes at this rate!) and Chun-hee recalled seeing a fridge rack in their house that could be used as a grill. But then, the fire was still big so Chun-hee thought of making a separate fire to cook the rice. Problem solved!

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They wanted to eat something while waiting for the rice to be cooked and the guys were all voting for rice cakes. HA, Jin-hee was already sick of the rice cakes but her oppas were more excited to have something to eat, at last. They grilled those rice cakes, turning those white sticks into something looking like a galbi. They also cooked ramyun for Jin-hee, complete with chicken breast meat. Kyung-ho decided to move the rice onto the bigger fire to speed up the cooking process and ate a spoonful of rice to see if it’s cooked..but he ended up shooting out the rice grains since it was undercooked. They ended up eating the ramyun as their dinner..

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The rice was too precious to be thrown away just like that and Sung-soo got an idea, which was to make porridge from the leftover ramyun soup. LOL Sung-soo was indeed the chef of the family, cooking the main dish of the night! Moon named the dish ‘Brooklyn Job Risotto’ and they happily dug in. The dinner soon turned into a club and Chun-hee forgot (again) that he’s married. Kekeke! With that, another day passed in NYC and they ended their second day in Brooklyn with new insights on life. One thing to learn from their experience: they are surrounded with unfamiliar people and living in an unfamiliar city, but in the end, they’re all trying to live their lives earnestly, no matter where they are…

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“One day, we will bring you guys to Manhattan!”

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10 thoughts on “Law of the City in New York: Episode 2

  1. Excellent recap! The cold running water in New York is truly cold all year long. There is no need to put water in the fridge. The temperature can be called “ice cold” so taking a shower with it is equivalent to bathing in ice cubes, hahaha! Great job and I can’t wait ’til ep. 3 when hopefully they will find more part-time jobs.

    Even if it’s springtime, the worldwide change in weather causes winter to be later than usual. Sometimes in December there is still fall weather and when I grew up Spring would be 60-70 degrees and winter was over in late February. I feel sorry for the quintet when I see them shivering (it’s like people not knowing you can ski in California and thinking it’s bikini weather all year long). Poor babies, I wonder what their impression was of NYC when their mission was over. Do you know how many episodes their adventure will last?

    1. Thanks!! ❤ LOL No wonder Jin-hee was so disappointed…washing your face with freezing cold water first thing in the morning is something I won't like either! Kyung-ho screaming upon contact with the ice cold water was a sight to behold, though 😛

      I think they could adjust themselves with the weather pretty well since it's almost the same with Korea (except for the long winter). I'd probably be down with fever if I am the one to encounter such weather ㅠㅠ

      I'm not sure about the number of episodes but I'll look around if it has been mentioned. They seemed to stay there for almost one month so there's enough material for 20 episodes if the response from viewers are good. Since they got around 4% ratings, I think that's pretty decent, considering that it airs every Wednesday night..

  2. 4% rating is fairly good, even though it’s one of the main stations. I think Korean variety and comedy shows are a heck of a lot better than American ones. Lord knows how long it’s been since I watched American TV because Korean TV saps up my daily tv schedule , otherwise I’d become a couch potato. Thanks again for the recap.

  3. I initially watched this show b/c I was bored. but then i thought hold on, these folks are living basically like the poor. it must have been so humiliating to be picking through trash for recylables only to learn that most were not able to be recycled, asking for menial work for couple of nickels and dimes. i seriously don’t know how that guy went back to the wood working shop the next day only to work for an hour and make chump change sanding a door. that must have seriously hurt his pride. it looked like it was the toughest for the older cast members who took to heart a lot of this hardship. not to mention the groveling by the cast for basically below minimum wage for hour or 2 of work per day?

    what were the production team thinking? no hot water in cold weather? how did they expect mostly non English speaking folks to make a living in nyc?

    were the production team purposefully trying to humiliate the cast members on national tv?

    i get the sense that the cast members had a serious renegotiation with the production team after the 2nd day of shoots. it’s only after the 3rd day that things seem to improve with cast members getting easier jobs being miraculously and coincidentally being dropped on their lap and the eventual move out of that dump with no running hot water to a place in manhattan. without the renegotiation, i get the sense that the PD would have continued with the status quo having them stay at green point flat digging through trash, living on meager meals, cold water, portable sink, etc.

    the PD must have known their premise was flawed thus the reason for hurriedly bringing in ailee. i wonder what the PD did to get ailee on board with the show?

    this sort of reminds me of 2 days 1 night episode recently where the cast revolted and went on a strike by “escaped” the filming b/c they were forced to ride in a vehicle in the middle of summer with NO AC! they eventually negotiated with the PD for better conditions. .

    it can be argued that this would border on cruel and unusual experiment.

    i’m starting to think that if most reality korean shows reflect the culture of korea, there is an element where people enjoy seeing others suffer? the meanness of the premise makes me question how psychopathic people are.

  4. the fact that the production team didn’t prepare working visas from day one suggests this was poorly planned and not thought out premise for a show.

    with no real jobs available, the only thing the cast could probably do to support themselves without the help from production team would have been to resort to illegal activities like selling drugs or prostitution the way this was headed.

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