Flushing Neighborhood Tour 2: Childhood in a Chinese American Hand Laundry





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Published on Aug 15, 2012

Alvin Eng tells tales of growing up in Flushing:

As a child, my parents ran a Chinese Hand Laundry at 29-10 Union Street in Flushing. We were one of a handful of Chinese/Asian families living there. By the time I graduated Flushing High School, my hometown had become New York's second Chinatown, aka The People's Republic of Fluuu-shing. Diploma in hand, I graduated into a brave new world where I was one of the few Chinese citizens of Flushing who could not speak fluent Chinese. In the interim, I had faced all of the challenges and travails that most children of non-English speaking immigrant parents went through in those days. By the time I overcame these obstacles and finally assimilated... there was no more "there" to assimilate to. Maybe this is how Pu-Yi, China's legendary last emperor, felt when he finally left The Forbidden City. My play, "The Last Emperor of Flushing," chronicles my odd odyssey of growing up in Flushing, Queens.

Alvin Eng is a playwright, performer and educator. He has performed his memoir monologue plays, "The Last Emperor of Flushing" and "The Flushing Cycle" at the 1st Asian Cultural Festival at Queens Theatre in the Park, Dixon Place, Urban Stages, Bowery Poetry Club, The Knitting Factory and Pan Asian Repertory Theatre. In the Emperor's persona he gave a commentary on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." "Their Town," his Thornton Wilder-inspired play, was presented off-broadway by Resonance Ensemble on Theatre Row. He is also the author/editor of the oral history/play anthology, "Tokens?" The NYC Asian American Experience On Stage (Temple University Press/Asian American Writers Workshop) that includes his play, "The Last Hand Laundry in Chinatown." His poems, lyrics and plays have also been published in Performing Arts Journal (MIT Press), American Theatre Magazine and the Nuyorican Poets Café anthologies, Aloud and Action. He was a founding member and principal songwriter for the now defunct middle aged Asian American rock band, The Emperor's Club. He is currently writing a play inspired by Alberto Giacometti and a prose adaptation of his memoir plays.

Hosted by Alvin Eng. Filmed by Christina A. Voros. Edited by Lee Eaton and Suzanne Barber.

Watch Alvin Eng's other stories on the rest of his Flushing Tour, by visiting http://www.cityofmemory.org/map/#/tou....

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