Chinese American grocers
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2008.040.008 Oral History Interview with Betty Sze October 25, 2007

Betty Sze discusses her vague memory of spending her early childhood playing outside of the Grand Machinery Exchange building, which was located on Centre Street. Her father owned a produce wholesale supply company, while her mother worked in factories. In her interview, she describes gentrification in terms of rent-prices consistently rising, developers becoming more aggressive in planning building projects, and entire neighborhoods such as Little Italy, being taken over by Chinese residents and businesses. Sze characterizes present-day Chinatown as a place that is more attractive to “Westerners” and inviting to tourists. She views tourism as having a positive economic effect on Chinatown, as well as contributing to the vibrancy of the neighborhood, but she also acknowledges that tourism has driven prices up and perhaps detracted from the authenticity of the Chinatown experience. While she has seen many of the special landmarks from her youth disappear from Chinatown, she still considers the neighborhood her spiritual home and an authentic Chinese American experience.