Chinatown Soundscape Haiku

As we walked down Canal Street, our group held our cell phones out, ready to capture audio or photos that could only be taken from Chinatown. We wanted to find what makes Chinatown so unique from the rest of New York City. We found that what makes Chinatown what it is the people. Most of the sounds we recorded were sounds of people interacting with each other and with space. There was a lot of yelling and movement that it was overwhelming at times, but that’s just part of Chinatown’s atmosphere. The yells were not senseless of course, people simply wanted to get the good end of the bargain. The grocery store was filled with the sounds and smells of fish. Packages were hastily being stacked away on the shelves. Everything in Chinatown was fast past, similar to the rest of the New York City atmosphere. Even when we sat down at a dim sum restaurant, the bustle didn’t stop. The clanking of plates and voices would fill the small restaurant.



Plastic bags crumple,

Loud footsteps coming closer.

“Michael Kors watches?”


words I do not speak.

there were too many bright lights

asked them to dim some.


Layers of voices

Swim and scratch against my ears.

“Its only five dollars!”



A distant rushing

Cascades of water falling

Fish in the tank gulp.


crowded alleyways.

strangers i have never met.

cities worlds apart.


Laughters and chatters

Forget the table manners

Words collect in space



Wheels clank against rocks

Asphalt prevents a smooth ride

Old lady pulls hard



“Have you had dim sum?”

Chop chop clank clank stack the plates

The dumplings are gone.



Static of TV

Peppy voice advertising

“Do you want massage?”


the click of chopsticks.

sounds of too many voices.

foreign symphony.

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