My favorite restaurant in New York is a hole-in-the-wall Chinese spot that is covered in dollar bills. A handful of those bills are mine. I love 69 Chinese Restaurant because it's open 24 hours and serves brown rice, but mostly because they humor me when I speak Chinese poorly. They smile, laugh (at me, but whatever), and give me fortune cookies. I'm a simple boy.
The inside of 69 Chinese Restaurant (a.k.a 69 Bayard) in Chinatown, NYC.
This couple spoke no English, but we did communicate a bit in Chinese. I was able to say that one of the dollar bills on the wall by their table was one that I'd put there. I pointed to HOLLY and said, Nàgè, wǒ de péngyǒu. It means, That one, my friend. Then the man gave me an èrhú (二胡), a traditional two-stringed Chinese instrument, to play (i.e. pose for photos). OK.
Zhègè, wǒ de péngyǒu = This one, my friend. (Дюи = Dewey, in Russian.) Of the handful of bills that I posted on the wall here last year, these are the only two still visible. I guess everyone is too intimidated to fuck with those big, bold letters.
I sent this photo to my Chinese friend, 妹妹, and she immediately recognized the èrhú (二胡). Apparently it's an instrument played only by old men in China. Or something like that. She said it's not popular in Taiwan. Also, I got a new haircut. I don't really like it. I think my head looks funny. Don't look at my head. Seriously, stop looking. I am super serious.
I love fortune cookies. Sometimes (most of the time) when I order Chinese food, it's just because I want a fortune cookie.
69 Bayard has the best fortune cookies; on the back, you can learn a little Chinese and Pinyin.