Dear Chinatown


Dear Chinatown ❤,

It’s been over 10 years since my family would drive an hour and a half to visit you every Sunday. Many times, if we were lucky, we would get a parking spot on Forsyth Street across from the park. My parents would rhythmically shop, coming back and forth with a few red groceries bags every little trip, while my grandfather watched over my brothers and I. We would wait in our van, leaving the door open, letting the air flow in. 

With the wind, you carried through so many beautiful memories into that van.

Now that I am older and work in the city, I visit you every now and then. I see that the playground has changed. You used to have wooden colorful beams, and today you are stronger with metal. Kids are always laughing and playing and sometimes crying just the same. Being surrounded by families, doing the same routine as we once did is like feeling the warmest hug from an old friend. You make me feel youthful again. You make me feel welcome. You carry the spirit of my grandfather, who has since passed. Your food, your community, your tradition—everything will always make me feel like a part of me is home. Your spirit and warmth will return stronger than ever, and I look forward to the day when I can walk through the park and quietly relive all the memories with you again.

See you soon ❤,
Clara T. Nguyen

親愛的中國城 ❤,

十幾年前我的家人大約每個星期天都開車花了一個半小時去中國城唐人街購物和買菜. 很多時候如果幸運的話,我們可以找到一個停車位在公園 (Grand Street Park)對面的科西街(Forsyth Street). 我的父母會有節奏地購物好幾個鐘頭. 他們來來回回拿着一袋兩袋紅色的購物袋往車上放. 而我的公公則看着我和兄弟俩在我們的七人坐車中. 當我們在等候時, 我們把車門打開讓新鮮空氣流通流通.


現在的我已長大了在紐約市工作, 有時也路過這公園 (Grand Street Park). 我看到操場已經變了。 以前是用木制的彩色横樑而今已改用更強硬的金屬了. 孩子們總是在笑,嬉戲,有時候甚至哭,然後一様被家人包圍著,像以前我做同樣的事,就像感覺到一個老朋友的最熱烈的擁抱一樣。您讓我再次感到青春。您讓我感到賓至如歸。您也承载着我已逝去公公的精神. 您的食物,您的社區,您的傳統,一切都會使我感到像自己家一樣。您的精神和溫暖將比以往任何時候都更加強大,我期待著有一天可以漫步穿過公園,再次靜靜地與您重溫所有的回憶。

再見 ❤

Dear Chinatown
Personal Submission
Role: Illustration

Wing on Wo and Co started an initiative called Love Letters to Chinatown during the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. In an effort to raise the spirits of a now desolate Chinatown, the WOW Project posted an open call for letters, artwork, or messages dedicated to the businesses and the community. My submission is a personal exploration of my youth reflecting on the changing times and well wishes for the warmth that Chinatown brings to come again.

Many thanks to my mother for translating into Chinese! ❤

Happy to chat! ✨