‘Most Romantic’ Restaurant in NYC Accused of Segregating Asian Customers

Pictures tell stories. They can confirm what otherwise might be questioned. It’s hard to dispute photographic proof. When we see something with our own two eyes, it’s difficult for someone to convince us that the opposite is true.

Recently, there was one such incident of a “picture being worth a thousand words.” One if by Land, Two if by Sea is a famous New York City restaurant. Architectural Digest ranked the exquisite, high-priced dining establishment as “one of the most romantic in the world.”

However, according to one TikToker, “One if by Land, Two if by Sea” has a darker side. TikToker @rokug4n insists that the restaurant discriminates. Of course, when asked for comment, a restaurant spokesperson denied the allegations. But why wouldn’t they?

The TikToker, who goes by “Annie,” decided to produce some hard evidence of her claims. Annie says that the restaurant directly discriminates against non-white diners, especially Asians. As proof, Annie says she and her boyfriend were escorted to the restaurant’s second floor.

She insists that the ambiance upstairs lacks in comparison to the exquisiteness of the lower floor. What she noticed troubled her. All around Annie, there were nothing but fellow Asians. She found it strange, so she decided to check out the patronage on the first floor.

What she found bothered her. The customers on the first floor were almost exclusively white people. Did One if by Land, Two if by Sea really segregate diners by race? How could anyone prove it if they did? Yelp has over 100 1-star reviews, dozens that mention racial discrimination.

Well, Annie quickly realized that a picture might be worth a lot of words. She pulled pictures of both floors. What she found was rather interesting. As Annie said, there was a large disparity between white and non-white diners on the two floors.

So she continued to explore. Annie pulled up a host of restaurant reviews on Yelp. Not to her surprise, she found a number of similar claims. In fact, there were a bunch of racially based complaints. An overwhelming number of these were by Asians.

One review claimed to have been forced to wait for 40 minutes before being seated. This reviewer said they were likewise seated upstairs, despite having explicitly reserved a table on the first floor. The reviewer was Asian.

Min Chieh L is a citizen food journalist as well. Min Chieh L wrote that other patrons were favored, and that her table was essentially ignored. In another 2017 review, an Asian woman said she was seated in a section surrounded by Asian diners.

Likewise, white diners occupied a completely separate section. Annie claims that One if by Land, Two if by Sea has been discriminating like this for years. At the end of the TikTok, she pans to a video taken of the second floor.

On the evening she and her boyfriend dined there. It showed a room of what seemed to be nothing but Asian diners. The video evidence kind of proves her point. We guess, a picture, or a TikTok video, really is worth a thousand words.

@rokug4n My review of a popular dinner restaurant in NYC - One if by Land Two if by Sea #greenscreen #nyc #nyceats #foodie #asian #nycrestaurants #nycdinner ♬ original sound - annie

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