Chinatown: Dreaming in Pictures


“How are we all so brave to take step after step? Day after day? How are we so optimistic, so careful not to trip and yet do trip, and then get up and say OK? Why do I feel so sorry for everyone and so proud? Angels walking on Earth. Cherubim and seraphim. I take pictures of people, but not everyone is pleased to be photographed.”—Maira Kalman, The Principles of Uncertainty

Chinatown pushes past its original three-block boundaries, yet its Chinese population is shrinking, its longtime residents moving on to more-picturesque place names like Flushing, Sunset Park, and the Evergreens. Immigrants from Fujian and Xi’an and models and hipsters now descend from its red-grilled doorways. Groovy bars now glow in the night. Yet its streets still crackle with Cantonese and Mandarin; innovation and resignation; the high tech and the makeshift; bitter labor and bitter melon; and a poetry both quiet and operatic that is all its own.

Chinatown, Chinese, documentary, photo, photography