Photographer Captures New York Chinatown in the Early 1980s


Twenty years ago, photographer Bud Glick went on a mission to capture New York’s Chinatown for the New York Chinatown History Project, which is now the Museum of Chinese in America. These Chinatown negatives were recently scanned and made into large prints to access online as well. Trust me when I say they’re a must-see.


Celebrating Chinese New Year on Bayard St., in New York City’s Chinatown, in 1984. (© Bud Glick)

The photos were taken from 1981 to 1983, when a wave of immigrants was expanding the New York area. Glick’s goal for the project was to document this transition period. The change from a mostly male-dominated neighborhood (immigration laws started out permitting only males) into a burst of young families, community and culture.


Storefronts on Catherine St, 1981. (© Bud Glick)

As Glick told The Atlantic, “It’s exciting to revisit personal work that I did more than 30 years ago and interpret it digitally, a process that allows me the ability to get more out of a negative than I ever could in the darkroom.”

“I’m able to give new life to old work,” he continued. “More importantly, time has changed me and the way that I see the work. I’ve found images, overlooked in the past, that due to the passage of time have taken on new meaning and import.”

Henry St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

Henry St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

To have these photos on the internet makes Glick’s work permanent. His intimate portraits of life in Chinatown — of immigrants as they celebrate holidays, communicate with each other, ride transportation and make a living — show a part of America that sometimes flies under the radar.

“With the passage of time I see how my documentation of Chinatown life can both communicate what it felt like to live in Chinatown at that time and inform our current societal discussion of immigration,” says Glick.



Division St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

Division St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

Columbus Park, 1983. (© Bud Glick)

Columbus Park, 1983. (© Bud Glick)

Funeral, 1982. (© Bud Glick)

Funeral, 1982. (© Bud Glick)

Wah Nan Co., 46 Mulberry St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

Wah Nan Co., 46 Mulberry St., 1982. (© Bud Glick)

On the F Train, 1982. (© Bud Glick)

On the F Train, 1982. (© Bud Glick)

More photos can be found in Glick’s online portfolio. Since the release of these photos online, Glick has been contacted by people he photographed over 30 years ago, or by their relatives. Of the experience, Glick says “it has been wonderful” and he hopes that if anyone recognizes themselves, relatives or friends in the photos, not to hesitate in contacting him. For the future, he hopes to continue digitizing the rest of his work and create a book and exhibition in honor of this project.


“Here in America, We Don’t Eat Turtles and Frogs”: Chinatown Tour Guide Apologizes For Racist Rant


You may have seen the viral video which shows a tour guide giving a description of San Francisco’s Chinatown to a number of individuals aboard a tour bus. Doesn’t sound like footage that would go viral? Well that’s because when I say she gave “a description” of Chinatown, I actually mean she gave a drunken, angry rant full of racism and profanity.

The video, which was shot by a German tourist on the double decker bus, shows the tour guide explaining that it is her last day on the job. Apparently, she thought the perfect way to celebrate this occasion was to drop the F-bomb all over the city. After watching her controversial performance, we’re going to go ahead and say she’s not a fan Chinatown.



Unsurprisingly, it’s a two way street — Chinatown is not a fan of the racist tour guide either. A rally was held at the Portsmouth Square which allowed citizens to voice their opinion on the racist rant. Sue Lee of the Chinese Historical Society of America spoke out about her disappointment in the tour guide for turning to racism to entertain the bus riders, her disappointment in the applause the tour guide received at the end of her rant and (most importantly) her disappointment that no one stood up to say something.



In response, the tour guide, who remains anonymous, spoke out to say she was not drunk and was simply doing a “satirical comedic portion of the tour.” She contacted San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu and said “I thought that I could bend the rules. I thought that I could be a little outrageous, and it was something that went way too far.”

Many do not believe she was simply trying to be comedic. However, Chiu recognizes the importance of the tour guide taking responsibility for her inappropriate actions. In a Facebook post, he wrote:

“She also apologized and seemed to be coming to an understanding that her comments were not “satirical” or “comedic” but were instead incredibly harmful and offensive. I don’t know the woman’s name or her phone number but she said she was going to call me back today to talk about what she can start to do to make amends to the Chinatown community and all of San Francisco. I’m glad she’s starting to come forward and realize she needs to take responsibility for her actions.”





Good News Cat Lovers! Pop-Up Cat Café in Chinatown This Weekend


By now, you’ve probably heard of all those pop-up, themed cafés in Japan which (as the name suggests) are temporary and offer special, limited-time-only menu options. If not, then trust me when I say they can get awfully creative. We’ve seen everything from Hello Kitty cafés to Owl cafés, but most popular of all has got to be cat themed cafés. Now if you’re a cat-lover in Los Angeles, you may have been envious of Japan’s cat-friendly cafés. Well, we have good news for you.

Take your keys and drive yourself over to Chinatown for (you guessed it) a pop-up cat café. Yes, this is actually happening, but for a limited time.

31-year-old Carlos Wong was inspired to create his own cat café after living in Tokyo last year, where cat-culture and cat cafés have been gaining wide popularity for several years. In fact, Tokyo is said to have at least 39 cat cafés. So Wong decided that it was about time we have one of these for ourselves and cleverly named it Catfe.

So what exactly is this cat café? It’s a place where visitors can enjoy a nice brewed coffee and all sorts of desserts with the company of cats! And yes, you can pet them as much as you want.

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Though this pop-up cat café is only available until Sunday, October 5, from 4 to 9 p.m., Wong is planning on opening a permanent location in Little Tokyo once it raises $250,000 in funds. For now, the Catfe is free for all visitors, unless you want to make a reservation for $30 that allows you to have priority access to Catfe on the day of your reservation. For those who want more intimate alone time with cats can pay $125.

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Check out Catfe’s website for more information. Catfe is located at Far East Plaza, 727 N. Broadway, Chinatown.




Chinatown’s Senior Citizens: The Original Hipsters

It’s no secret that fashion bloggers are most certainly on the rise these days. After all, who doesn’t want to see what’s trending in the fashion world?

While it’s nice to look at all these young bloggers pose in front of DSLR cameras, Valerie Luu understands that some of the best fashionistas are the ones you wouldn’t expect. Luu teamed up with photographer Andria Lo and translators Tricia Choi, Kat Wong, and Michelle Yeung to explore the streets of Chinatown. There, they uncovered some of the most underrated style experts ever: the senior citizens.

“Chinese seniors would get off and walk up Pacific, with purple puffy jackets, snapbacks, and sneakers you’d expect to see on a 20-year-old Missionite, not an 80-something Chinese woman,” Luu wrote. “Chinatown fashion combines urban utilitarianism with smart, unexpected combinations of prints and a use of color that just made me feel uplifted whenever I saw it. They’re fashionistas – worthy of any street-style blog.”

After interviewing the Chinatown locals, Luu discovered that many of these senior citizens have been fashion forward their whole life. Ask 82-year-old Man Ta why she wears jade shoes and she won’t say it’s because the color is popular right now. Jade has always been her favorite color. Ask 76-year-old Yu Tom why she wears floral print and she won’t say it’s to fit in. Bright colors remind her of her late husband. Clearly, this isn’t just for fashion — it’s a lifestyle. In fact many of the senior citizens admit that they wear snapbacks, beanies and puffy jackets simply to keep warm.

Check out some photos of these original hipsters and be sure to view the full photo essay here.

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