Chinese New Year in NYC

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The coldest day in New York since 1916 – around minus 10 in the middle of the day and did we feel it. Waited patiently for the Chinese New Year Day parade but either there wasn’t much to see or they were saving the best until last I didn’t stay to find out. Had to leave after a good 1 hour waiting as my toes and fingers were beginning to loose sensation.

Chinatown is like stepping into a different era, a totally different space with all manner of shops cheek by jowl. Mostly saw grocery and little convenience stores and didn’t see many restaurants but felt more of a lived in place than say London Chinatown. It boasts the biggest population of Chinese in the Western Hemisphere and I’m looking forward to meeting with University Settlement people who are based there and work with the community.

Caught the last performance of George Takei’s Broadway Musical Allegiance. Telling the shameful and still little known story of the Japanese Internment camps during WW2. Most people I had met here hadn’t bothered going to see it after it received mediocre reviews but despite the not very interesting songs and bog standard tunes (apart from one in Japanese – they should have had more!) I still found it moving and excellently performed by the nearly all Asian American cast and George Takei was a perfect ojii-chan. Granted this was his own personal family story but this is the first [Broadway] musical created by Asian Americans, directed by an Asian American and with a predominantly Asian American cast with an Asian-American viewpoint informing the work so I could forgive the songs. The theatre was packed with a very vocal and appreciative audience equal to Hamilton with standing ovation at the end and what’s more a large contingent of East Asians in the audience. I’m really pleased I managed to see it before it closed.