Archive for the ‘Unpublished’ Category
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?
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.
Su Zhen Chen, Private Danny Chen’s mother, and Yan Tao Chen, his father, with the ceremonial street sign honoring their son.
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 »
Taking it to the streets in NYC.
July 14th, 2013.
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 »
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 »
“Men should marry and women should wed!” goes an old Shanghai pop tune. Working in Chinatown over the past few months, I had a couple of opportunities to photograph wedded bliss, and the business of what cynics might refer to as the “bridal industrial complex” definitely commands a big presence in the neighborhood. Wedding outfitters and bridal shops abound, offering a fully packaged experience that will encompass everything from catering hall, decorations, DJs, wedding singers and magicians, to hair and make-up styling for the women and rented white tuxes for the groom, plus of course photographers and videographers to document the special day.
But: before you can get married, someone’s gotta spring the question!
And then, weddings.
I had heard that Thanksgiving is a traditional day to get married in Chinatown. It’s the one day in the American calendar of holidays when pretty much everybody can get the day off. So, in a parallel tradition to most everyone else in America, the holiday has become a time for immigrant families to gather and celebrate young couples. (And young they are – everyone I photographed this past Thanksgiving seemed to be in their early twenties.)
And now that the debates are over and we are all holding our collective breath: A look back at 2004, and a series of images that still sums up best how watching these hollowed-out spectacles makes me feel. View the rest of this entry »