Toisan-style joong/zongzi/粽子: Hands-on Workshop @ Essex St Market

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Let's get together to celebrate the Dragonboat Festival at Essex St Market's beautiful new kitchen classroom! Chinatown Auntie, Cuijian Wu will teach us how to make both savory and sweet Toisan-style joong/zongzi/粽子, glutenous rice with various tasty goodies wrapped in bamboo leaves. We'll talk a little about the holiday itself and the rituals that are observed. You'll learn about the ingredients and all the steps to make your own joong/zongzi/粽子. There will be homemade joong/zongzi/粽子 in class for you to taste, and a bi-lingual ingredient list for you to take to our favorite Chinatown dried goods grocer and event sponsor, PoWingHong. Best of all, you will bring home joong/zongzi/粽子 you've wrapped to share with your loved ones (or eat them all yourself...that's fine).

Everyday Chinatown Project Reception & Walking Tour - Friday June 7th @ Pearl River Mart 6:00-7:15pm

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Experience "Everyday Chinatown" artifacts with new eyes and ears! Artful displays of everyday artifacts are paired with audio stories accessible through your phone. Dial in on your cell phone to listen in on our community members as they share stories about common Chinatown household items in Cantonese, English & Mandarin. Window displays of these artifacts are hosted by several Chinatown businesses from May 31st through July 1st. This project of cultural translation, self-representation, and inter-generational exchange is funded by the Citizen's Committee for NYC.

This Friday, join us at Pearl River Mart for a small reception and a guided tour of the project sites.

Everyday Chinatown artifacts can be viewed daily at these locations:
MK2, 139 Centre St
Universal Optical, 38 East Broadway
Po Wing Hong, 49 Elizabeth St
Pearl River Mart, 395 Broadway

Haven Cafe, 145 Mott

THINK!CHINATOWN Team for Everyday Chinatown:
Wilfred Chan audio story collector/presenter,
Jennifer Lai, Aaron Reiss - audio editing,
Ying Bonny Cai & Leise Hook- display design,
Yin Kong - project production

Citizens Committee for New York City, Material For the Arts
Sophia Ng Tsao and Po Wing Hong
Kenneth Ma and Mott Optical
Joanne Kwong, Angela Tung and Pearl River Mart
Lily Huang and Hamilton Madison House
Meemee Chin, Richard Young & all the T!C Volunteers

Help Tell Chinatown's Stories on HowToChinatown.NYC

The HowToChinatown.NYC web project is kicking off again for 2019! We need your help to tell stories about Chinatown's small businesses. Come to our workshop this Sunday— food will be provided.

Part A — Training Workshop: Sun Mar 31, 1:30pm 
We'll (re)introduce the project and demo the platform.
Part B — Story Workshop: Sun Mar 31, 2:00pm
Volunteers who have stories in progress: we'll help you finish!

Location: The Florentine School, 219 Park Row. Please RSVP here.

About the Project

HowToChinatown.NYC's goal is to build an online platform to support Chinatown by working with local businesses to build an web presence, while providing an alternative to sites like Google and Yelp. 

The beautiful stories of Chinatown you help to create will be hosted on HowToChinatown.NYC website, which will feature a map-based narrative about Chinatown.

As a volunteer contributor, you will be trained on how to use our platform. You will build relationships with local businesses and help them build an online presence. Volunteers with Cantonese or Mandarin language skills are especially needed. 

Volunteers will:

- Engage with 3-5 businesses (at your own pace)
- Attend one training workshop for the HowToChinatown.NYC platform
- Produce stories about 3-5 businesses for HowToChinatown.NYC (we'll provide support at the story workshops)

Learn about the ULURP for 124-125 White Street


Let's empower ourselves. Respond more effectively to the City's plan for additional jails in Chinatown @125 White St.

Think!Chinatown has invited the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) to teach a workshop on ULURP, the long and complicated process which major land use changes get reviewed and approved in NYC. Let's learn more about the process!

March 7th, 2019
Florentine School 219 Park Row



  1. An introduction to the ULURP process

  2. A role playing activity to use the ULURP process in an abstract scenario

  3. Briefing on the timeline of events to date regarding the detention center plans in Chinatown given by reps from Neighbors United Below Canal followed by Q&A with the CUP workshop facilitator.

The goal is to empower our community with the information we need to best use the ULURP process to ensure our concerns are addressed. This is not a politically-biased event. The workshop is for 30 participants. Priority will go to Chinatown residents, and organization leaders who will pass on the knowledge to their groups. Thank you to for supporting this workshop.


Following the workshop, T!C will create a bi-lingual (Chinese/English) ULURP process guide specific to the Chinatown site. This document will be distributed freely to all Chinatown organizations and local media. Thank you to Chung Pak LDC for sponsoring the production of the action guide.

Reminder: Lantern Viewing Party Rescheduled for Thursday, Feb 21, 6-8pm @ 5 Essex

Hello! This is a reminder that the Lantern Viewing Party has been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb 21st from 6-8pm @ 5 Essex Street.

We’re rescheduling this outdoor event due the cold weather. Thursday will anticipate warmer temperatures, which should improve the experience for both our volunteers and visitors.

We hope we did not cause any inconvenience, and look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

Lantern Viewing Party [UPDATE! Moved to Thursday, Feb 21, 6-8pm @ 5 Essex]



Due to the cold outdoor weather on Tuesday, February 19th, we are moving the date of the lantern viewing party to Thursday, February 21st.

We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to see you join us on Thursday!

The Lantern Festival marks the first full moon of the (Lunar) New Year and last day of the Lunar New Year festivities. Join the T!C team in celebration as we view artist LuLu Meng's "Totality" Lantern along with the many lanterns decorated at the Museum on Eldridge Street (see Feb 17th workshop details). It'll be cold in the bamboo grove, so dress warm, and we'll have a few things to warm you up...

Thanks to DLJ for sponsoring the art!

Totality 全福 - Artist statement by LuLu Meng

photo credit: Mark Breckenbach @hushwashere

photo credit: Mark Breckenbach @hushwashere

The lantern art installation draws its inspiration from an object appropriate for the Year of the Boar: a piggy bank. Instead of directly referencing the image of a piggy bank, the circular lantern art piece with a square collection box at the center focuses on its symbolic meanings and reflects the idea of completion and reunion. (圓滿、團圓) . It also refers to an ancient Chinese coin.

Totality is an extended public project from Lulu’s ongoing work series, Look into the Mirror. The front surface of the lantern is mirrored. Yet, under different lighting conditions, one can see what is inside the lantern, or see one’s own reflection juxtaposed with what is inside.

Scattered inside the circular lantern are numerous red envelopes, some with handwritten notes on them. These red envelopes are from Lulu’s parents and other family members, given to her throughout the past twenty years. Each envelope represents a special occasion in her life: birthdays; entering high school; college; and celebration of the Lunar New Year.

In a way, this lantern is Lulu herself. What's inside is personal. It is covered, but is always there. It reveals itself when the light is right.

LuLu Meng is a New York-based artist born in Taipei, Taiwan. Her multidisciplinary practice, including installation, sculpture, photography, drawing and video, explores the difference and similarity among cultures and people.

[Feb 17, 2-4pm] Decorating for the New Year at Museum on Eldridge Street


Celebrate the new year with our neighbor, Museum at Eldridge Street. In the sanctuary of this historic synagogue there will be warmth, tea, and friendly T!C artists and volunteers to create Lunar New Year decorations with you. We’ll have some calligraphy demonstration & instruction, along with stencils to help participants young and hold create a red square door decoration and lanterns.

The Chinatown New Years parade passes right by the museum (12 Eldridge Street) so stop in for a chance for free admission to explore this beautiful space and to make new friends with the T!C and Eldridge St crew!

This free event is supported in part by Fay & Tung Associates, LLC and DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners.

全福 "Totality" by artist, LuLu Meng


[Feb 5] Look out for LuLu Meng's lantern installation among the lion dances, confetti, and all the hot & noisy celebrations of New Years day. The T!C team will carry the art piece up and down Mott St, before it's installation at the bamboo garden at 5 Essex St. We'll be starting from the south end of Mott St approximately at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

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Totality 全福

The lantern art installation draws its inspiration from an object appropriate for the Year of the Boar, a piggy bank. Instead of directly referencing the image of a piggy bank, the circular lantern art piece focuses on its symbolic meanings and reflects the idea of complete and reunion. (圓滿、團圓) .

LuLu Meng is a New York-based artist born in Taipei, Taiwan. Her multidisciplinary practice, including installation, sculpture, photography, drawing and video, explores the difference and similarity among cultures and people.

Thank you to DLJ for sponsoring the artwork.

Chinatown Arts Week 2018 Video!

Thanks for joining Think!Chinatown for our first Chinatown Arts Week. We had so much fun learning about Chinatown culture together. For those who were not able to make it, or for those who want to relive it, here is an amazing video filmed and edited by Eric Jenkins-Sahlin with footage from Charlotte Li & Birdie Park. 

We work hard to create free events like ChAW for the community. With your support we'll be able to continue with more activities in 2019. Please consider contributing to T!C during this giving season,

Chinatown Arts Week 2018: The Highlights

We are so excited to organize our first Chinatown Arts Week! There are many arts happenings in the neighborhood we are working on highlighting on our new platform, HowToChinatown.NYC which will be online in a few days, but for now we’d like to share with you the events Think!Chinatown is presenting for Chinatown Arts Week:


Wednesday Oct 24th 2018, 5:30-7:00pm info session, 7-9:30 celebration @ 5 Essex St

Celebrate the first Chinatown Arts Week with musical performances by Mencius Music Society, projections from Asian American art archives, tastings from Ming River Baijiu, Chinatown eats, and drinks with new and old friends. Come by at 5:30pm to hear Think!Chinatown and partners present their new map-based platform, HowToChinatown.NYC. We hope that Chinatown organizations will find this platform as a useful tool to cross promote, find synergies, and work together to strengthen the neighborhood.

Thank you to our hosts, DLJ for supporting this event.



Saturday Oct 27 2018, 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm @ 123 Elizabeth St

Sit down for a few rounds of tea with Mr.Chen. Learn about his wide collection of tea, specializing in leaves from Fujian.  If you ask, he’ll share pictures of where the tea comes from and how the tea is produced. $10 a sitting (20-30 mins, and please tip if you stay if you linger). Seating is limited, so circle back around if he’s full up.



Sunday Oct 28th 2018, 11:00 am-12:00 noon @ Forsyth Plaza

Practice Tai Chi and make new friends with an amazing view of the Manhattan Bridge. Shifu Sherry will take us through empty hand formations. Wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Suggested donation: $5-$20 cash for instruction.

Sherry Zhang Xiao Qin is a faculty member at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, teaching tai chi and qi gong. A native of Hubei China, she holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Chengdu Physical Education Institute in Sichuan and was an associate researcher at the Chinese Wushu Research Institute in Beijing. Zhang also worked for the China Wushu Association for 15 years and was certified by the Association to teach tai chi and qi gong.



Sunday Oct 21st 2018, 1:30-4:00pm (meet up at 5 Essex St)

Urban Archive is organizing a digital scavenger hunt for Chinatown Arts Week! The Hunt will be all across Chinatown, but we’ll meet up first at 5 Essex for hot cocoa and instructions. Enter in teams, or pick up a team with new friends! Explore Chinatown’s architectural history… maybe visit a local museum, and perhaps you’ll win some prizes from sponsors Pearl River Mart and the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Prominent Chinatown photographer, Corky Lee, will share stories from his series, “Bygone Chinatown” which is mapped on our HowToChinatown.NYC platform.

Thank you for DLJ for hosting the event.



Sunday Oct 28, 2018 5:00-6:30pm @ 21 Pell

What are hands made for? Are they for scratching, rubbing, or counting beats? In this work a mother holds her daughter’s hand, which conveys how the previous generation took care of the next generation. It also tells how a self-taught artist, Lisa Shia, used her paintings to document her life stories growing up in Meng Xia through a scroll that she painted. The show’s elements include shadow and light, object manipulation, Kamishibai style storytelling, and music.

The show is 20 minutes and will be performed twice: 5pm in English (英语) 6pm in Mandarin (普通话) Doors Open at 4:30pm. There will be a post performance Q&A with the artist.


Monday Oct 29, 6:00-8:00pm @ 5 Essex

VOTESart is non-partisan organization that works with musicians to engage their local communities through pop-up concerts in community spaces. The program will include a special selection of classical music for a Chinatown audience and feature excerpts of Chinese Opera performed Eastern Fuzhou Opera Association. Audience members will be engaged in bi-lingual get out the vote activities interspersed through the performance.



Tuesday Oct 30, 7:00 – 8:30pm @ HT Chen Dance 70 Mulberry

Chinatown Arts Week will close with a night of readings by Asian American writers curated by Julie Chen. Stay tuned for more info.


Cooking With Granny Storytelling Event: Grandma Mamie's Medicinal Chicken Soup


Cooking With Granny comes to Chinatown! Just as you start feeling the sniffles from seasonal changes, have a taste of Grandma Mamie Chinese Medicinal Chicken Soup, a recipe that has been in her family for generations. Grandma Mamie will talk about 补品 (traditional Chinese herbs) used in soups along with the cultural stories that bring this dish to life and puts the immigrant grandmother in her much-deserved spotlight. Grandma Mamie will show a few other herbal remedies relevant to the change in weather in autumn. Learn about Chinese concepts of food as medicine and connecting to our natural environment. 

Cooking with Granny is a video and event series where diverse immigrant grandmothers cook and tell stories. Events include their signature Cooking & Storytelling Sessions and Grandma Dinner Parties. They have been featured on the New York Times, NBC, and Food and Wine, among others. Italian Grandma Gerarda is taking the stage with an interactive gnocchi session in October!

Follow Cooking with Granny on Twitter and Instagram @cookingwgranny. 

The Cactus Store is a shop and education center that specializes in rare and bizarre varieties of cactus and desert plants from around the world. The NYC location features a greenhouse and our new cold-hardy bamboo garden which is open to the public. Over the past few years, they have collaborated with different scientists, writers and artists to host a wide range of gatherings including poetry readings, listening parties, and small-scale performances. This year, they’ve collaborated with DLJ to open up 5 Essex Street to different minds and mediums through films, workshops and presentations in effort to provide a free, all-inclusive, alternative source for cultural and practical information connected to the natural world. Follow them @hotcactus_la


Think!Chinatown Summer Moon Benefit Party 2018

Thank you for joining us! Thank you for supporting us!

Here is a video recap of that wonderful evening spent together in June this year! 

For a night celebrating culture and community, we gathered artists and friends to enjoy music, drinks and delicious Chinatown eats.
Chinese dancer Ling Tang graced us with her beautiful dance performance, accompanied with music by the talented Zhou Yi and Yimin Miao from the musical group Ba Ban. We were also enchanted by the award-winning vocalist Vivi Hu as well as by Chien Chien Lu and Santiago Sebastian Chiriboga from the band little BUH. 

Thank you to Sheng Lin for creating this video, and a big thanks (and music credits) to Little BUH for the amazing performance. Much love to the other performers of the night: ViVi, Meemee Chin, Ling Tang & the Ba Ban Music Society. It couldn't have been done without the generosity of all our sponsors: Ming River Baijiu, Tsingtao Brewery, Hiro Sake, Alimama, Oriental Garden & Luv Tea. To the Think!Chinatown team of volunteers & love love!

Poetry Night! Wed June 20th, 6:30-8PM @384

Join us next Wednesday night for a very special poetry reading, hosted by our very own Julie Chen! Readers will include Cindy Tran, Sarah Wang, and Kiran Bath.

Cindy Tran is a 2018 Poets House Emerging Poets Fellow. A recipient of fellowships from The Loft Literary Center and Brooklyn Poets, her work appears in AAWW's The Margins, Nice Cage Magazine, and Copper Nickel, which gave her an Editors' Prize. In her free time, Cindy writes Yelp reviews, hoping that someone will search for a pork sandwich and find a poem about sandwiches and racism. Visit her at

Sarah Wang has written for n+1, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Conjunctions, Stonecutter Journal, Joyland, 6x6, the Asian American Writer’s Workshop, Story Magazine, The Third Rail, and The Last Newspaper at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, among other publications. She is the coeditor of semiotext(e)’s Animal Shelter. See more of her work at

Kiran Bath is a multi disciplinary artist from Brooklyn by way of Sydney. Her poems have been published in Tidal, Antiserious, Typishly and other journals. Kiran stays true to her Gemini ascendant and moves between dreaming up poetry to writing critical essays, to storytelling via photography to human rights activism via her attorney hat. Kiran is obsessed with the art of storytelling and is still trying to get over how bad coffee is in America.

Wine reception starts at 6:30pm and readings begin at 7pm.

Community Day, June 17th 12-6pm

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Come join us for an activity-packed Sunday, starting with an hour of Taichi from 12-1PM, followed by tours of his exhibit by James Chan himself in English and Chinese from 3-5PM. Amy Chin will be leading a Chinese-American geneology workshop at 5:00PM. Bring your friends and family!

"Where Are You Really From?" follows artist James Chan’s journey through his own genealogy research, as he learns more about his paternal family history. Beyond his grandparents, Chan never knew how he was related to family members he had met throughout his life. Family reunions were a foreign concept to him and the nearest relatives were thousands of miles way.

Using secondhand accounts, historical research, photos and unreliable personal memories, Chan takes the winding path to document his family’s history before it is lost forever. Along the way, he confronts key moments of reflection on personal identity and relationships. The discoveries, family stories, musings, and challenges encountered during the project are presented in a series of illustrations and paintings.

James Chan's "Where Are You REALLY From?" opens Wed Jun 6

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Think!Chinatown Community Art Space @ 384 Broadway, NYC

June 6 – 23, 2018

Opening reception: Wed June 6 at 6 – 9 PM

Hours: [Tues – Fri] 6:30 – 8:30pm  [Sat & Sun] 2 – 6pm

Where Are You Really From?  follows artist James Chan’s journey through his own geneology research, as he learns more about his paternal family history. Beyond his grandparents, Chan never knew how he was related to family members he had met throughout his life. Family reunions were a foreign concept to him and the nearest relatives were thousands of miles way.

Using secondhand accounts, historical research, photos and unreliable personal memories, Chan takes the winding path to document his family’s history before it is lost forever. Along the way, he confronts key moments of reflection on personal identity and relationships. The discoveries, family stories, musings, and challenges encountered during the project are presented in a series of illustrations and paintings.

About the Artist
James Chan received a BFA in Kinetic Imaging from Virginia Commonwealth University. He plans to continue working on the Where Are You Really From? project to learn more about his family and the history of overseas Chinese.

Hashtags: #JamesChanIsFrom #thinkchinatown #384BroadwayNYC

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @thinkchinatown



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  • Think!Chinatown Community Art Space @ 384 Broadway
  • Opening Reception: Saturday, May 12th from 6-8pm
  • Open Hours: May 13-27 / Monday and Tuesdays (2-7pm), Saturdays and Sundays (12-6pm)
  • Workshop Dates: Sundays (May 13, 20 and 27*) from 1-5pm
  • Closing Reception: Sunday, May 27th from 4-6pm

Come You Back to Maynila Bay is a community engagement printmaking project by Karl Orozco that uses hand-carved mahjong tiles to retell family narratives of his lola’s1 underground gambling den in the Philippines. In partnership with Think!Chinatown and ChaShaMa, Orozco will activate the space at 384 Broadway to create a public game hall and lead intergenerational printmaking workshops with Chinatown's youth and elders.

As a Filipino-American artist and educator, Karl Orozco’s work grapples with the legacy of colonialism and seeks to challenge assumed notions of family, migration and power. Influenced by Tagalog creation myths, sociolinguistic research, and historical accounts of colonial resistance, Orozco has deconstructed meaning throughout the traditional Chinese mahjong tile set and reinterpreted them for a Philippine worldview. Orozco wrestles with the cultural dominance of the Philippines and seeks to reclaim a visual heritage lost through centuries of inter-Pacific trade, Spanish colonization and U.S. imperialism.

Orozco will run printmaking workshops throughout Sundays in May where he will invite audience members to play games of mahjong and create printed “bills” recording their winning hands. Inspired by his lola’s Manila gambling den - conceived to keep her absent husband homebound - and by his own childhood experiences being told that mahjong was “a game for adults”, Orozco hopes to create an inclusive gaming space where participants of all ages feel engaged and leave lucky.

1 grandmother in Tagalog

Karl Orozco is an artist and educator based in Queens, NY. Orozco is a teaching artist at the Queens Museum where he teaches sequential art, printmaking and animation. Orozco was a fellow at the 2018 Denver Independent Comics and Art Expo. In 2017, his sci-fi comic Low Tide was featured in New Frontiers, a comics anthology and exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum dedicated to the life and activism of actor George Takei. He is the upcoming 2018 National Artist-In-Residence at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, NV where he will continue his mahjong print practice and transform the downtown Vegas gallery into a public casino.

384 Broadway is a temporary art space presented by THINK!CHINATOWN and Chashama. With the mission to increase representation of Asian American artists and themes of concern to our community, this project seeks to test new ways galleries in Chinatown can better engage the neighborhood with cross-cultural and inter-generational practices. This project is not a commercial endeavor and is largely run on the energy of community volunteers. 

THINK!CHINATOWN is a collective of neighbors and advocates working to keep Chinatown a vibrant place of inter-generational learning, cultural production & civic engagement. We are here to listen, to respond, and to build Chinatown's capacities as a strong immigrant neighborhood of NYC. Our mission is to attract & connect resources for Chinatown organizations & businesses using the tools of design & community engagement. Join us in connecting past, present & future to ensure a resilient Chinatown.

Thank you to Tsingtao Beer for sponsoring the reception.

Hashtags: #ComeYouBack #thinkchinatown

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @thinkchinatown