Time Capsule: NYC’s Chinatown In The Early 1980s

Curators’ Corner

Time Capsule: NYC’s Chinatown In The Early 1980s

As a young photographer in 1981, Bud Glick was tasked by the New York Chinatown History project, now the Museum of Chinese in America, to photograph residents in New York’s Chinatown, a part of the city that was in the midst of transition and upheaval.

With little to no Chinese vocabulary in his arsenal, Glick approached community members and asked if he could take portraits inside their homes. An outright ‘no’ was the most common answer, but Glick persisted for three long years until he shelved the project indefinitely.

After revisiting the photos three decades later, Glick realized his collection had aged into a perfect time capsule.

“When you look at images from another time, often many years later, you see things you didn’t see before … your photographic style may have been a certain way but we also evolve … I saw things photographically that I really liked and saw things that had historical meaning, as well as a personal meaning for me,” he told Slate.com.

Photos courtesy of Bud Glick