Mahjong Nights with The Green Tile Social Club

This summer, Green Tile Social Club takes on The Garden with their next mahjong pop-up at The Standard, East Village!
As time goes on, it can be tough for unique cultural traditions to withstand the transition from older to younger generations, especially in the face of rapid technological changes. Green Tile Social Club is an exception to the rule: founders Ernest Chan, Grace Liu, Joanne Xu, and Sarah Teng have given new life to the ancient Chinese game of mahjong through their in-person events. The accompanying community hosting NYC pop up events draws sign up lists upwards of hundreds of guests, many of whom jump at the chance to unplug digitally and connect face-to-face over a tradition that may have been otherwise overlooked.
We caught up with them ahead of their brand-new Mahjong in The Garden series. Tickets sold out fast for the first one - keep an eye on @thestandardeastvillage and @greentilesocialclub for the next drop!
We love your mission of connecting Asian Americans with their community and heritage. How did you land on mahjong as your link to keep everyone connected? Do you have any favorite memories of the game from your childhoods?

We didn’t really land on mahjong as much as it found us — the four of us co-founders first connected and hung out over a game of mahjong, similarly to how we’d witnessed our families connect with others growing up. Mahjong is inherently a social game, and one that most Asian Americans have some level of familiarity with (even if you’ve never played) simply because of how iconic it is — there’s hundreds of variations across Asian cultures, subregions and even households. So for us, it was a perfect intersection of community and culture.

Years now after the pandemic, you have built a strong community that supports each other and gives representation where it once was not as present. What do you think were the biggest factors in generating momentum amongst your audience when you first launched? 

In complete honesty, we didn’t ever expect the response we’ve gotten. Before the club was a club, we were just four friends playing mahjong who then invited other friends, who invited other friends and so on. We often reflect on how Green Tile Social Club has been the most organic, authentic project any of us have ever pursued — and that’s why it’s so magical. To this day, we’re still just creating the Asian-centered events and spaces that we craved for ourselves and our communities.

What are some of your favorite stories of ways that guests have connected at your events?

We’ve had family members reunite that didn’t even know the other was living in New York, elementary school friends unknowingly bump into each other, moms & daughters bond over mahjong, new friends later become roommates, and even a few GTSC couples meet or have their first dates through the club.

What is on your vision board for Green Tile Social Club for the next year?

To be honest, we’re taking it day by day right now! Between scheming up new events, taking care of our community, and balancing our full time jobs and lives, we’re just happy to be here.


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