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2013.022.009 Oral History Interview with Wing Lee

Tomie Arai and Janice Lau sit down with Wing Lee to discuss his life and his experience growing up in and around New York Citys Chinatown in the 60s through the 80s. Wing talks about what it was like as a kid being raised in the US with Chinese parents, and growing up on the streets of Chinatown. He talks about the schools he went to in the area, and all the spots the neighborhood kids used to hang out. Later on in his late teenage years, he describes the experience at a popular neighborhood bar called Grandpas. Wing describes the atmosphere at Grandpas, the regulars there, and how he was eventually asked to design a t-shirt for the bar as well as a large mirror to hang in the space. He touches on the gang presence in Chinatown in the 70s, and describes the changes he has seen in the neighborhood since his youth. He feels hopeful for the future of Chinatown and believes that the quality of life has improved for your average Chinatown resident. He is excited that the area is now taken seriously politically and that Chinatown has Asian and Chinese representation within the city government. Wing is an artist, and he is excited to see the museum documenting this important community history.