Collections and legacies
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2013.022.006 Oral History Interview with Marcella Dear

Marcella Dear, a longtime friend of MOCA and a generous donor of over 900 objects, joins us to discuss her exciting life and her memories of Chinatown. Marcella goes into depth about many of the objects she donated, and discusses not only their significance as sentimental objects but also how these objects were used in their original setting, at the Rice Bowl restaurant on Mott Street. Marcellas father founded the Rice Bowl, and she discusses her childhood growing up in and around the restaurant. She fondly remembers her regular clients, who came to feel like family to her over the years. She talks about her father and his eminent role within the community, both when she was growing up and afterwards. She remembers how he wanted to build a museum to house all of his collections and to share cultural treasures with the Chinatown community. She talks about how Chinatown has changed, and about how the immigrant experience has also changed. She discusses the importance of the neighborhood associations in helping new immigrants with paperwork in English and by helping them acclimate to life in the U.S. Marcella talks about her life as a young person, going to college at NYU and having parties and socials for the Chinese students at NYU and the neighboring city schools. Marcella briefly discusses the gang wars and the impact this had on the neighborhood. She ends her interview talking about memorable places in Chinatown and what they mean to her.

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2013.022.008 Oral History Interview with Pamela and Tom Lee

In this oral history husband and wife Tom and Pamela Lee share their experiences living and working in New York Chinatown. Tom and Pamela discuss their childhoods and how they came to live in New York. They both reflect on working at the butcher shop owned by his family. Tom also discusses the farm his father operated along with the tasks his mother completed at their family business. The couple also contemplates how Chinatown has changed over many decades and the cultural differences each generation of Chinese Americans experience.