Within an hour’s time on a recent Friday afternoon, five people visited the tiny, constructed room nestled in the rear of Asian Arts Initiative to collect socks, water bottles, deodorant and tampons.
The room on the 1200 block of Pearl Street was filled with artifacts of Chinatown past; photographs of old buildings decorated the walls, and a documentary from the 1970s showing residents protesting the construction of the Vine Street Expressway played on loop in the corner.
Tucked behind Toronto City Hall’s curved towers, on Elizabeth Street, is a modest patch of greenery outfitted with bright red benches and blossoming tulips. It’s from this spot — once a parking lot— that historian Arlene Chan reconstructs an image of Toronto’s first Chinatown.
Chan draws on a mix of personal history and research to inform her audience, who joined her Heritage Toronto tour of Old Chinatown on May 14. A librarian turned writer, Chan offers a glimpse into the lives of the city’s early Chinese immigrants.
“Why was there a Chinatown? Why was there such a tight-knit community?” asks Chan, before answering her own question. “It was because the Chinese were isolated. ”
The Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE) hosted a reception on May 23 for the Chinatown Atlas going online at the Massachusetts Historical Society. About 50 individuals attended the event.
The Chinatown Atlas was a 15-year effort by Tunney Lee, former MIT professor of architecture and urban planning, to document the origins of the Chinese in Boston and how they built Chinatown. Formerly displayed as banners, the maps, photos and elevation renderings are now part ofan interactive website.
Lee’s research team included architect Randall Imai, CHSNE member David Chang, MIT students and many others.
Despite encroachments by big development projects such as the Vine Street Expressway and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia’s Chinatown has maintained a sense of history and community for more than a century.
But it occupies a tightly confined space in Center City, which has forced new immigrants to settle elsewhere in the region.
“Even if people aren’t settling directly in Chinatown, it’s still the heart — the cultural heart and the symbolic heart — of the community,” said historian Kathryn Wilson. She gained an intimate knowledge of the Chinatown community during her years with the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
CHINATOWN — Shortly after Chinatown resident Mei Lum succeeded in saving the 90-year-old antique shop that has been in her family for four generations, she decided to take it a step further by launching a community engagement initiative to chat with other local businesses about staying afloat and relevant in the ever-evolving neighborhood.
Lum, now the executive director of Wing on Wo & Co at 26 Mott St., on May 19 will kick off a summer-spanning series of conversations and workshops about changing Chinatown, beginning with a panel discussion with local businesses owners called “The (Re) Generation of Chinatown.”
这张照片收录在王先生的新书《看见光明：华埠40年》（Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown，Chin Music出版社）中。它聚焦西雅图，不过也收入了旧金山、纽约和不列颠哥伦比亚省温哥华的照片。照片配有简短的轶事散文。几十年来，主流文化对华人社区的描述充满偏见，极为单一，仿佛它只是充满异国情调、与外界隔绝而又无关紧要，人们只在这里订快餐，或是在春节时对这里丰富多彩的各种仪式表示一下惊叹，这本书堪称一种有力的反拨。尽管外界对华埠有着顽固的刻板印象，认为它只是一个充满活力与异域风情的地方，这些照片提醒我们，华埠还承担着重要的社会功能，它是新移民的门户与家园；是艺术、历史与传统的守护者；亦是华裔免于歧视的庇护所。为了做到这一点，王先生不是靠精美的图文，而是细致入微地记录日常生活中的仪式，关注那些被主流媒体忽略的人们平凡或不平凡的私人故事。
There is one thing we do not see in a compelling 1982 self-portrait by Dean Wong: his face. Taken in Seattle’s Chinatown, the photograph zeroes in on the back of a metal helmet, polished to a mirrorlike finish. In it is reflected a crowd of neighborhood residents — a metaphor for the people and hometown community that have shaped and fascinated Mr. Wong.
The image appears in Mr. Wong’s new book, “Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown” (Chin Music Press), which centers on Seattle but includes images from other cities, including San Francisco, New York and Vancouver, British Columbia. Juxtaposing photographs with short, anecdotal essays, the book serves as a powerful corrective to decades of one-dimensional and blinkered reporting on neighborhoods generally represented in the cultural mainstream as exotic, insular or irrelevant, as places to order a quick meal or marvel at the colorful rituals of the Chinese New Year.