Archive for the ‘Chinatown’ Category

The Moon Represents My Heart

I am thrilled that The Museum of Chinese in America / MOCA is featuring a series of my images from Winnie’s Bar. The Moon Represents My Heart: Music, Memory and Belonging will be on view from May 2 through September 15, 2019.

The show, is billed as a “lively and immersive exploration on [how] music in Chinese communities unites disparate histories – Cantonese opera; Asian American Movement music; Taiwan and Hong Kong pop music; karaoke; Beijing underground rock and others – to address the question: How does music reflect the experience of Chinese in America?”

Bonus feature: the title of the installation’s section in which the karaoke dive bar pics are showcased.

AMATEUR HOURS: Ecstatic Performance in Partying and Worship. Seriously!

A big Thank You! to Andrew Rebatta, Associate Curator at MOCA, for bringing me on board. The exhibition is co-curated by Rebatta, together with Hua Hsu, staff writer at The New Yorker, and MOCA’s Curator and Director of Exhibitions, Herb Tam.
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June 6th, 2019

Winnie’s Bar – a short fugue in Jameson minor


This week saw the demise of Winnie’s Bar in Chinatown, and the usual NYC blogs have been abuzz with a call to arms to “Save New York” and strengthen small businesses; to halt encroaching gentrification across too many of our neighborhoods, as one by one local places with decades of history are replaced by yet another chain restaurant or bank or pharmacy. Like, how many more Seven Elevens and Duane Reades – or bubble tea emporiums or hip fusion restaurants – does this city need?


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Chinatown Community Young Lions on CBS

A selection of images from my ongoing coverage of this awesome group of Chinatown youths is up on the CBS News website as a slide show! Check it out here!



February 28th, 2015

Memory, and death, in Chinatown

The week leading up to Memorial Day weekend saw a series of politically symbolic memorials and vigils in the neighborhood, beginning with the unveiling of Private Danny Chen Way, which had been a couple of years in the making, followed by an impromptu vigil for a local grandfather, Wen Hui Ruan, who had been viciously attacked and beaten on an East Village street. And finally, two days of memorials for Sister Ping honored the life of a woman who was hailed as saintly community benefactor by her Fujianese compatriots, while wanted, and eventually sentenced, as a ruthless “snakehead” and profiteer by the authorities.
Private Danny Chen Way Private Danny Chen Way


Su Zhen Chen, Private Danny Chen’s mother, and Yan Tao Chen, his father, with the ceremonial street sign honoring their son.

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A vigil for Private Danny Chen, year two

Vigil for Private Danny Chen

October 3rd marked the second anniversary of the young soldier’s death – 19 y.o. Pvt. Danny Chen had been found dead on his Army watch post in Afghanistan after enduring relentless, racist hazing by his fellow soldiers and superiors. A group consisting of family, friends and community activists gathered on Elizabeth Street, a stretch of which is pending to be renamed in the Chinatown native son’s honor. An incantatory oral history recitation recounting the young man’s life was read in Chinese and English. View the rest of this entry »

October 8th, 2013

9 Man volleyball

Two publications featured my Chinatown 9 Man Volleyball photos this past Sunday: The Washington Post Magazine and German Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

9 Man New York Mini volleyball tournament

9 Man New York Mini volleyball tournament


I have to say I really enjoyed shooting sports for a change – that’s the rare occasion I get to say that! But what a great excuse to hang out in the park on a beautiful July weekend to photograph the New York Mini tournament in Seward Park a few weeks back. Seventy-eight US and Canadian East Coast teams gathered for the regional 9 Man competition, before they’ll face off again at the NACIVT North American Chinese Invitational Volleyball Tournament in the coming days in Washington, DC. If you’re in the capital region, check it out over Labor Day weekend – they’ll have Pennsylvania Avenue blocked off for a Chinatown streetball competition! Now, how often does that happen?
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August 29th, 2013

Remembering the Golden Venture



Twenty years ago, on June 6th, 1993, a dilapidated freighter carrying a human cargo of 286 Chinese migrants ran aground off the New York Rockaway peninsula after a hazardous four months sea voyage. It was the largest group of undocumented immigrants ever apprehended while trying to cross into the United States, and the televised rescue effort and widely published images of emaciated men huddled on a NYC beach covered in blue blankets became an enduring symbol of a new kind of immigration crisis, where concerns over border security met with the perception of rampant human smuggling operations run by Asian gangs.



A new body of work in progress, this series of diptychs and portraits sets out to convey the experiences of some of the men who agreed to pay exorbitant amounts of money for a smuggler’s passage to a new life in the United States, while placing those individual experiences into their historical context. The arrival of the Golden Venture occurred just as changes in U.S. immigration policy were imminent, ending an era of relative openness and reform, and heralding the beginning of large scale, indefinite detention for immigration infractions. View the rest of this entry »

Year of the Snake: Chinatown Community Young Lions

Spring is here at last, and taxes are due. What better time to focus on other neglected work, and go through the archive… And clean up the house. I swear it’s about 2/3 of an f-stop brighter in here now that I washed the windows! So, as an ode to the gods of procrastination, I present my Lunar New Year’s series.

A big thank-you and shout-out to the Chinatown Community Young Lions, and the Toms / Lees / Lews, for letting me stick around and shoot during the crazy, pumped up, charged-on-drumming marathon that is New Year’s. I swear the last time I had been they still had fireworks, so that was a looong time ago. View the rest of this entry »

April 9th, 2013

Easter Baptism

Happy Easter to any Catholic and non-Catholic friends.

Every Easter, the Church of the Transfiguration in Chinatown baptizes new additions to their flock of believers during the Holy Saturday vigil and mass, held in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. View the rest of this entry »

March 31st, 2013

Sandy aftermath – Hamilton-Madison House publication

Thrilled to see some of my Sandy aftermath coverage put to great use for Hamilton-Madison House! With props to Blue Pollen for some beautiful design work…

During the second part of my reporting on the blackout and lingering problems affecting residents in the Chinatown/LES/Two Bridges area, Hamilton-Madison House had established a key presence as a neighborhood relief center and organizing hub, and I am happy to see these photos help them tell the story of that difficult time and their efforts in providing for the community.

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February 28th, 2013