Women watching funeral proceedings across the street, Columbus Park, 1983, New York Chinatown. (Bud Glick)
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Robert Glick , better known as Bud, believes, “When we do documentary photography, we establish a permanent bond with those we photograph and the community in which we work.” In the early 1980s, Glick was working as a photographer for the New York Chinatown History Project, which is now the Museum of Chinese in America. The goal of his work was to document the community as it transformed from an primarily older, male population to a generation of young families due to rapidly expanding immigration. Laws that had stifled the influx of Chinese families, starting as early as 1882 with the Chinese Exclusion Act, had been lessened but did not allow large-scale immigration until 1965.

Glick has recently been resurfacing his photographs in hopes of reconnecting with the people he met during that time. Glick notes a specific portrait. “Among others, I also connected with Vincent Lee, a 35-year-old man whom I photographed sleeping in his grandfather’s lap in 1983. I’d been wondering if/when I would be contacted by the boy in his grandfather’s lap (Vincent). He saw the photo online and contacted me in February 2016.” Vincent took Glick back to the scene of the photo, his childhood home at 9 Eldridge Street.

Funeral, 1983, New York Chinatown. Italian-American men hold funeral banners; although the funeral home had changed to Chinese ownership, some of the Italian American men still worked at the funerals. (Bud Glick)

San Gennaro Festival, 1983, New York Chinatown. (Bud Glick)

PS 1 playground, 1982, New York Chinatown. (Bud Glick)

He met with another man, Freeman Wong, who also saw Glick’s photos online and was delighted to recognize family and friends.  Glick said, “Freeman’s response deepened and indeed changed my understanding of the work. When we do documentary photography we often see the photographs that we give back as simply a means to an end. However those giveback photos become part of a family’s personal history. Years later they will remember their loved ones (and even themselves at a younger age) through the photos that we give back. Freeman showed me his iPhone. The wallpaper is the photo that I took 36 years ago.”

Tony, Catherine St., 1981, New York Chinatown.  Freeman Wong  recalled Tony to Glick as a family friend. (Bud Glick)

Rebecca with her children in their kitchen, 1982, New York Chinatown. (Bud Glick)

Kam Ho Lee with his grandson Vincent Lee, 9 Eldridge St., 1983, New York Chinatown. (Bud Glick)

Wah Nan Co., 46 Mulberry St., 1982, New York Chinatown. (Bud Glick)

Bachelor Apartment, Bayard St., 1982, New York Chinatown. The four men who lived there ate and slept in the main room. (Bud Glick)

Big Tall Chin, Sam Wah Laundry, Bronx, 1982, New York Chinatown. (Bud Glick)

Mrs. Chiu in her apartment, 1981, New York Chinatown. Mrs. Chiu had been separated from her husband for most of their marriage because of U.S. immigration laws. (Bud Glick)

Bachelor Apartment, Bayard St., 1982, New York Chinatown. The apartment had a bed in each corner, one for each of the four men living there. (Bud Glick)

Robert Glick is working with Jack Tchen, co-founder of NYCHP and MOCA, to combine his photographs with personal histories to further the understanding of the history of New York Chinatown.

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