When I moved from Texas to the big scary city I used to lurk around in Chinatown as a form of self soothing. Especially after some intimidating new social experience or challenging living-life adjustment (see: Where the hell do you buy linens? Also, How am I going to carry things home? With my arms… all the way?) I would find comfort stepping across invisible boundary lines into a familiar land of open air groceries and fish-selling men less a few teeth yelling stuff at me. Not possessing the ability to speak Chinese much, I couldn’t supply a very logical reason for feeling this way.
After living here for some time I am incrementally more at home in lots of different neighborhoods in the city, but obviously my care for Chinatown has only deepened. And so, when I saw this picture my brain exploded with glee. These two guys are the essence of what is amazing about Columbus Park in New York City’s Chinatown, a place where old people congregate to jam Peking Opera. Jam hard, too. Their music is not for wimps. It is loud, percussive and strange, full of high-pitched wailing and gender swapping, and sometimes you have to take your shirt off to do it. Also, if you are hipster enough, you might want a tallboy to go with it.
Michael Gratz took this last week.