On a recent Saturday, picnickers gathered in the largest park in Queens.
Who are the Doritos and the pea crisps for?
We’re having a potluck with people from my old hometown — Mundgod — in India. There was a big monsoon there, so we’re collecting money to send back. We moved from Tibet to India as political refugees. My family sold knockoff sweaters. It was sort of like a carnival traveling wherever there was business. When I was 6, we came here.
Do you remember what that was like?
It was the summer, and we landed in Newark. We were outside by the taxis, and I breathed in the air. I thought it was the coolest place ever. My brother and I had our faces glued to the window. It was a long drive to Queens.
Where are you in college?
I commute to Rutgers from East Rutherford. My ex-girlfriend’s dad is in finance; I asked him about different fields I could get into. I’m not good at memorizing, so not medicine. But I love helping people, and I love money.
Do you have a girlfriend now?
Yeah, it’s going well. After I broke up with my ex, I was like, I’m going to focus on school. But then I got a motorcycle.
Tell me about your teddy bear.
He’s the fluffiest of all my toys. Fluffy-Wuffy is his name. And I have another one named Fluffy.
What’s on the agenda for the day?
We prayed for all the human beings. I’m here with people from my Buddhist culture center in Queens. Every month, we do prayers, but it’s the same day as the picnic, so we just did it here.
What’s in the bag?
I brought a ham sandwich; my wife went with a bagel with cream cheese. We’re going to a Mets game today — we thought it was at one, but it’s actually at seven. So we’re going to eat it here on a park bench.
What brought you to the park?
My niece’s birthday. The whole family’s here, and they’re gossiping — it’s gossip that’s come all the way from Nepal. It’s always about someone’s love life.
*This article appears in the September 2, 2019, issue of New YorkMagazine. Subscribe Now!