New York's Museum of Chinese in the Americas hosted a book signing for Southern Fried Rice in April. Located in the heart of New York's Chinatown is this small historic but vibrant museum tucked away on the second floor of a public school building that date back to around or before the early 1900s.
I could not have asked for a better setting for the talk because the 'platform' was in their Chinese laundry exhibit, complete with a red laundry sign and authentic packages of unclaimed laundry still wrapped in the original brown paper and tied with strings behind me.
I was literally pinned against the wall as the overflow audience filled the small space. I could barely see what slides were being shown because the screen was about a foot behind me. I was not surprised in Atlanta when I spoke, but I did not think that New Yorkers would be that interested in a talk about Chinese in the South. This tight spacing afforded good eye 'contact' and rapport with the audience that included my wife, Phyllis, brother-in-law Alan and his family who came from Toronto. A former student, Angeles Cheung, just finishing her PhD in New York, and Kay Deaux, a friend from grad school days who is now a Distinguished Professor at CUNY also came to hear the talk. As if that was enough pressure, a reporter from the Chinese newspaper was there to interview me and write a story about the event.
As with my "Georgia tour," I received a warm response to my presentation. For the New York audience, the appeal was from learning about something most of them had no knowledge about. They found it fascinating to learn how Chinese managed their lives under circumstances so different from their own. It was an exciting experience for me because I could then claim that the book had been well received "from coast to coast."