I went to get baos at Mix um (Mei Sum?) Bakery down that back alley next to all the fabric stores, arch stone... sometimes we call this part of Chinatown Vietnam Street and indeed this bakery also sells Banh Mi.
The tv was playing an old Hong Kong Soap from the 80's and I recognized a young Tony Leung Chieu Wai and some other dudes... the really hot actress that is in all the movies that are violent and almost pornographic... except they are all super young.
This bakery is one of the ones that still has that really old feel to it. No Boba Tea... the tables and chairs are from old classrooms, the altar is prominent and old men go there to sit and talk and read the newspaper.
A guy comes in to deliver clean uniforms and towels... and not that race matters, except it does, but he is white. I only mention this because if you were to make a movie about this, the laundry guy would be Chinese. In fact in some narrative about immigrants working jobs that nobody wants you would have the bakery owned by whites and the delivery guy is Chinese.
I'm just saying sometimes the reality is the opposite. Now who actually owns the cleaning company I don't know... but I am saying this white guy is working hard too and the ensuing conversation and interaction shows that everything is connected. Like the Bakery provides baos but they also have to pay for these towels which provides business for these cleaners.... costs that I never thought of because I never owned a bakery.
I look at the price of a Bao which is a dollar or under, and the traffic of people that come in and out of the bakery, and my what rent costs and all the people that are working there, heat light, gas... how the hell does a place like this make any money? Are they making money?
I mean I guess Starbucks has all these same costs too, but they are a franchise and the biscotti is made god knows when and lasts for god knows how long and costs like $4 along with the $6 coffee and people line up out the door and then they are gone off to work.
And people who lament the changes in Chinatown the most, on their way to work or play in Chinatown... I'm just curious as to what coffee they buy?
I am the worst though because I do not spend money in Chinatown but a few times a week. But shoot if I worked near there I would use my money like a sword as a way to fight. In fact the few days that I do work there.. .that is exactly what I do.