Monday, September 10, 2012
Surprises in Chinatown
Nancy and I spent this past Saturday walking through Chinatown in NYC. We had briefly visited Philadelphia's Chinatown three years ago during the NCECA clay conference. At that time we joked about how we had never visited NYC with the intention of just wandering through Chinatown. Absolutely worth it.
By getting off the main drag, we were able to be a part of the community as opposed to watching it pass by. I saw vegetables that I had never seen offered before in grocery stores. I saw more varieties of fish and shellfish than I have ever witnessed in our markets. And the smells! At noon, the aroma was fantastic... but by 5pm as we headed out, the fragrance became more of a stench. I blame the 85 degree day with nearly 100% humidity.
I think what I enjoyed most about our stroll through Chinatown (and Little Italy) was the constant surprise. We saw so many massage parlors, herbalists and pharmacies. They had at least one or more on each block. Just the same, there were gift shops tucked into the most tiny of corners and pockets of the street. Following Nancy, we ended up in an upstairs workspace for a business that primarily made frames for Chinese paintings and stone chops for use as signature stamps. While waiting for the gentleman to finish attending to other customers, I poked my head into his storeroom and stumbled on two tall glass bookcases filled with Chinese pottery from pre-historic all the way through export porcelain of the 1700s. It was the most amazing collection I have ever seen outside of a museum. Definitely was not what I was expecting. Surprises were everywhere this weekend!
There is so much I could say about this image... but in the end, if you don't think this is funny, nothing I could say would convince you anyway.