Chinatown, Now and Then

My new Lydia Chin/Bill Smith book, FAMILY BUSINESS, is set in Chinatown and concerns real estate. (Well, this IS New York.) To celebrate we’re showing some (mostly vintage) Chinatown photos here on the blog. This Library of Congress photo is from 1903. The shop on this corner, though under a different name, still sells imported porcelains, dolls, toys, etc.

To learn more: https://bit.ly/3H6L10Q

2022 Calendars!

Hey, youse guys (as we say in the Bronx)! The 2022 SJ Rozan Calendars are here! For your gift-giving, including to yourself, pleasure. Extra added attraction: all profits from this year’s calendars will go to Planned Parenthood. Because dammit. Helpful hint: click the link, not the photo.

 

Plant Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bella the Cat

Chinatown, Now and Then

My new Lydia Chin/Bill Smith book, FAMILY BUSINESS, is set in Chinatown and concerns real estate. (Well, this IS New York.) To celebrate we’re showing some (mostly vintage) Chinatown photos here on the blog. The Library of Congress calls this one, from 1909, “Police Detectives Guarding Chinatown.” I may be wrong, but these guys don’t seem entirely on top of things…

Until the 1970’s the NYPD had virtually no Asian cops. The White officers and detectives at the 5th Precinct couldn’t speak Cantonese. As far as the NYPD was concerned Chinese crime wasn’t their problem unless it interfered with White tourists. The Chinese residents, for their part, didn’t trust the NYPD at all. They felt the cops couldn’t protect them from the tongs and gangs, and they were right. So both groups wanted to have as little to do with the other as possible.

Which is the true (and racist) meaning behind, “It’s Chinatown, Jake.”

For more on this photo: https://bit.ly/3F0noVR

 

Chinatown, now and then

My new Lydia Chin/Bill Smith book, FAMILY BUSINESS, is set in Chinatown and concerns real estate. (Well, this IS New York.) To celebrate we’re showing some (mostly vintage) Chinatown photos here on the blog. (Sorry about the resolution on this one, but it’s a beauty nevertheless.)

 

 

Interior view of tearoom in Chinatown, New York City, N.Y., c1903
Library of Congress

Chinatown, now and then

My new Lydia Chin/Bill Smith book, FAMILY BUSINESS, is set in Chinatown and concerns real estate. (Well, this IS New York.) To celebrate we’re showing some (mostly vintage) Chinatown photos here on the blog.

 

 

View from the Manhattan Bridge along E. Broadway, Manhattan

Vergara, Camilo J., photographer

Chinatown, now and then

My new Lydia Chin/Bill Smith book, FAMILY BUSINESS, is set in Chinatown and concerns real estate. (Well, this IS New York.) To celebrate we’re showing some (mostly vintage) Chinatown photos here on the blog.

 

Store and restaurant in Chinatown, New York, c1903.

Credit: Retrieved from the Library of Congress

FAMILY BUSINESS is on the way!

 
 
The new Lydia Chin/Bill Smith novel, set in NYC’s Chinatown, will launch 6pm Tuesday Nov. 23 at NYC’s Mysterious Bookshop, 58 Warren St. NY NY.
 
Come on down!

Hey, check me out! A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review!

 

Some love from Publisher’s Weekly!

 

SJ Goes to Opening Night at the Met

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through the wonderfulness of a friend I scored a ticket to the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera season. This was a particularly exciting opening night because of course last year there was no season at all. Still, I might not have gone; opening night is fancy and I’m not a fancy kinda gal. But the season opened with FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES, Terence Blanchard’s opera based on Charles Blow’s memoir. I very much wanted to see it, so I accepted the challenge of dressing as though I almost fit in. Silk shirt, silk trousers, embroidered silk Chinese slippers — I don’t wear heels — and there I was, among the ball gowns, capes, embroidered sequined jackets… and you should have seen the women, too. No, seriously, everyone looked great.

And the opera? I’m far from knowledgeable enough about opera to be qualified to review it, but it seems unfair to tell you I went and then not tell you how I felt about it. So: the performances were great. Angel Blue, especially, and Will Liverman, were mesmerizing, and Walter Russell III, who plays Charles as a child, has probably had his life ruined by getting a standing ovation on opening night at the Met. The music I also loved. Blanchard drew on many sources and handles his transitions seamlessly. I was disappointed in the libretto. An opera’s not about the libretto, and most are probably disappointing but luckily in languages I don’t speak. I’m probably too word-oriented and placed too much emphasis on it.

The most interesting thing about this opera, though it’s by a Black composer based on the memoir of Black man and performed by an all-Black cast, is that it’s not a Black story, if by Black story you mean a story about racism, a story that defines Black people in terms of how they’re situated in the White world. This opera is about making choices, about a child becoming an adult, about leaving, or not leaving, the past behind. That these universal themes are dealt with in the context of a Black man’s life, instead of the default White life, is, if you ask me, the real cause for celebration.

Ode to a Mosquito

With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning (though I’m sure she felt the same).

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.
I loathe thee to the depth and breadth and height
My skin can itch, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of buzzing and ideal sprays.

I loathe thee to the level of each day’s
Most quiet need, by citronella candle-light.
I loathe thee freely, as I slap at night.
I loathe thee purely, as thou escape’st my gaze.

I loathe thee with the passion put to use
In my old bites, and with my childhood’s tears.
I loathe thee with a loathing I don’t lose
When summer wanes. I loathe thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but loathe thee deeper after death.