Walking in the streets of China, you could see the Chinese characters dancing off the streams of brightly colored banners. The air was filled with the aroma of Chinese food and every restaurant was packed with people laughing, talking and sheltering from the cold outside. Wherever you looked, there were people lining the streets. Whether it be a little boy playing with the confetti flooding the roadways from Chinese New Year celebrations, or two girls sitting in front of a window, overlooking the masses of tourists and locals, or the large herds of people crowded around a few dragon processions. This unique section of New York reminded me of the many worlds that makes up NYC. Whether it be the artistic, shopping district of Soho, or the hectic, professional world of Midtown, or here, Chinatown. The shops may not be beautifully refurbished, the people not wearing designer clothes or professional attire, but there is a special feeling to this location and a special aesthetic that emits beauty. Maybe as a Chinese American, there is something resonating about seeing my ancestors’ home embedded in my home. As westernized as I may have become, there is a part of me that can never let go of my culture, even if that brings along all the stereotypes and such. When I walk down the gridded streets, although not skyscrapers, the tall buildings still loom overhead. It could be any city, but the hanging lanterns and markets of knickknacks tells me it’s Chinatown.
Photos and captions by Chloe Xiang