For me, at least, this answers the question of whether to use Traditional or Simplified Chinese in our event posters. Full article here: https://eyeondesign.aiga.org/tracy-ma-takes-us-on-a-typographic-tour-of-the-signs-of-manhattans-chinatown/
Chinatown International District
Check out these sweet photos from Stephen Cysewski of the International District! It's cool to see places that are now under construction or closed come alive through these old photos. This place has changed so much and yet barely at all... http://www.cysewski.com/seattleweb/international/index.html
Today was a good day. It was a good day because after a year and a half of planning, Tai Tung finally got its sign. The two-sided neon blade sign is an almost exact replica of the original neon sign that once marked the entrance to the restaurant.
Tai Tung opened in 1935 and is the oldest operating Chinese restaurant in Seattle. It has remained a community anchor for this neighborhood ever since. The restaurant is owned by the Quan family and over the years has been passed down from father to son. Third-generation family members Harry Chan (pictured below) and Tommy Quan run the restaurant now, with many family members from the fourth generation helping out.
Harry has worked at the restaurant since 1968, and I met him in the summer of 2016 when I first started working at SCIDpda. One of the first projects I worked on was to coordinate the design and installation of this sign for Tai Tung. I still can't believe it's up now. I've been staring at renderings of this thing for so long that it feels surreal seeing it installed and lit up with my own eyes.
This sign means a lot to me for many reasons. Seeing Tai Tung thrive reminds me of the importance of a community-oriented businesses and supporting small, immigrant-owned businesses in the CID and elsewhere. The sign reminds me that immigrant communities have faced many waves of xenophobic legislation designed to keep us away, confined, or out of the U.S. altogether. Despite these racist laws, immigrants and refugees have been able to start businesses, begin new lives, build communities, and create spaces for ourselves like the Chinatown International District.
This sign reminds me that context and ownership matters. One usage of "chop suey" can be very different from the next, depending on who is using it and for what reason. The fact that the sign says "chop suey" today is an act of taking back a term that was turned on its head by racists and xenophobes to fuel anti-Chinese sentiment and legislation. Tai Tung has been serving chop suey - a Chinese American dish born in San Francisco during the California gold rush - since the day it opened. And although chop suey began as a dish in the United States, it grew to name an entire Chinese American cuisine that was known for using what was found and using everything you have. The term in question was not denigrated at the beginning, and this was an opportunity for Tai Tung to begin to reclaim the term.
All in all, this has been one whopper of a project to coordinate. I will be taking its lessons with me for many more projects to come. Thank you to everyone that helped us on this project. It truly took a village and I am forever grateful for this community's resilience, spirit, and support.
A public hearing regarding the proposed zoning changes within the Chinatown International District will take place in City Council Chambers on June 1st at 6 PM. City staff will be available to answer questions at 5:30 and there will be a short presentation on the proposal at 6:00 p.m. followed by public comment. For those who wish to testify, sign-up sheets will be available starting at 5:30 p.m.
Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Maiko Winkler-Chin and all the other amazing women at SCIDpda and IDEA Space that I get to work with on a regular basis. Y'all are the shit and you keep me going.
Video and write-up also here.
Since the last thing I posted about Christmas was a little grim, here's something from the C/ID and from one of my favorite neighborhood mentors to warm your heart. I feel so lucky to be working with community leaders like Kerry. Thank you for all that you do!
Just a few shots from last week's API Arts & Crafts Fair. So awesome to see so many API artisans in one place!