Oral histories are intimate conversations between and among people who have generously agreed to share these recordings with BHS’s archives and researchers. Please listen in the spirit with which these were shared. BHS abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.
Every oral history relies on the memories, views, and opinions of the narrator. Because of the personal nature of oral history, listeners may find some viewpoints or language of the recorded participants to be objectionable. In keeping with its mission of preservation and unfettered access whenever possible, BHS presents these views as recorded.
The audio recording should be considered the primary source for each interview. Where provided, transcripts created prior to 2008 or commissioned by a third party other than BHS, serve as a guide to the interview and are not considered verbatim. More recent transcripts commissioned by BHS are nearly verbatim copies of the recorded interview, and as such may contain the natural false starts, verbal stumbles, misspeaks, and repetitions that are common in conversation. The decision for their inclusion was made because BHS gives primacy to the audible voice and also because some researchers do find useful information in these verbal patterns. Unless these verbal patterns are germane to your scholarly work, when quoting from this material researchers are encouraged to correct the grammar and make other modifications maintaining the flavor of the narrator’s speech while editing the material for the standards of print.
All citations must be attributed to Brooklyn Historical Society:
[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
These interviews are made available for research purposes only. For more information about other kinds of usage and permissions, see BHS’s rights and reproductions policy.
Fai Ling Lee
Oral history interview conducted by Ka-Kam Chui
November 17, 1993
Call number: 1994.007.17
1:41 - 00:01:41 从南布朗克斯搬到日落公园, 其环境和发展 Moving from South Bronx to Sunset Park, area's environment and development
18:03 - 1993年的收入水平和生活开支,服装行业,兼职经验 Income level and living expense in 1993, garment industry, part-time experiences
30:29 - 从找房子变成房地产经纪人,8大道的物业发展 From house hunting to becoming a real estate agent, the property development around 8th Avenue
61:27 - 8大道的来源,在城市政府工作,在布鲁克林大学学习教育学 The origin of "8th Avenue," working in NYC government, studying education at Brooklyn College
Oral History Interview with Fai Ling Lee
Fai Ling "Alice" Lee was born in Mainland China circa the 1950s, moved to Hong Kong aged three, and immigrated to New York City at fifteen. Her family initially lived in the Bronx before settling in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. She attended Hunter College and worked in the New York City municipal finance department before taking time off to have children and raise a family. During her seven-year maternity leave, Lee nurtured her interest in real estate and began part-time work at a real estate agency. At the time of the interview, Lee worked in bilingual education at P.S. 314 in Sunset Park.
In this interview, Fai Ling "Alice" Lee discusses the development of the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn; from a sleepy, dilapidated, majority-Norwegian area in the 1970s to a thriving Chinese diaspora in the 1980s and 1990s. She describes the economic and working conditions faced by her father, who worked in a Times Square Chinese restaurant, and her mother, a seamstress in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan. The interview focuses on real estate investing in Sunset Park; home prices, mortgages, rental income, and risks. Lee also mentions her position as a bilingual educator at P.S. 314 in Sunset Park. Interview in Cantonese conducted by Ka-Kam Chui.
Brooklyn Historical Society collaborated with the Chinatown History Museum (now the Museum of Chinese in America) in order to conduct a series of oral histories with residents of the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Cantonese, Mandarin, and English language interviews focused on what was then a new presence of Chinese and Asian immigrants concentrated along Eighth Avenue. Among the topics that are explored in the interviews are tensions between different groups of Chinese immigrants, crime and safety in the neighborhood, Sunset Park's relationship to Manhattan's Chinatown, and how long-term residents of Sunset Park had adjusted to the area's "newcomers."
CitationLee, Fai Ling, Oral history interview conducted by Ka-Kam Chui, November 17, 1993, New Neighbors: Sunset Park's Chinese Community records, 1994.007.17; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Lee, Fai Ling
- Chinese Americans
- Economic conditions
- Real estate business
- Working class
- Bronx (New York, N.Y.)
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Chinatown (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- Sunset Park (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidNew Neighbors: Sunset Park's Chinese Community records