If only this documentary was longer! When I a child, I asked my parents what this place was and if they had ever frequented it before. Apparently they hadn't and that was the end of our conversation about it. I grew up staring at the mural on the side of the building, an artistic reflection of the Chinese American community and the movies they had screened for decades within the building. Then one day, I saw the theater surrounded by scaffolding, half destroyed- another loss of a historical space for the Chinese community. It's a shame that their business couldn't survive.
I'm truly glad to have found this gem of a documentary in my attempts to search for more pictures of the Music Palace theater. As Chinese become more Americanized, movies become more quickly available online before they hit DVDs, and older generations grow up, businesses like these will lose their significance. Places like Mei Li Wah Coffee House were old and run by old people, but the food was good and it was my favorite place to go to with my dad. Had I been older, I would've surely loved to frequent this theater and have those fond memories of watching Cantonese films there. Sadly, my memories are just of the exterior.
For those Chinese who grew up in New York, do take a look at this documentary. Think about all those useless high rise, overpriced office and residential buildings that are being erected over places like these that have held countless memories for older generations. Think about what it was like for those first few generations of Chinese immigrants to be discriminated by other Americans, then forming a Chinatown and a [once] beautiful Music Palace to help the homesick Chinese feel at home. Then think about those businesses and landmarks that have existed and appreciate them for what they are and what they still offer.
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