Five Questions with Pedro Garcia & Lokki Chan
April 17, 2013

The “Five Questions” series introduces readers to Tenement Museum staff working behind the scenes. This week’s double-header features Pedro Garcia and Lokki Chan, two of the Museum’s Education Associates who create and facilitate our ESOL offerings, Citizenship Now program, multi-lingual tours and more!  

Pedro Garcia, Education Associate

1. What brought you to the Tenement Museum?
It looked like a cool place to work. Cool as in pleasant and stress-free environment, temperature wise was another story altogether.

2. What is your personal connection to immigration?
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and when I was 10 years old my parents brought us over to NYC.

3. What’s your favorite shop or restaurant on the Lower East Side?
I really enjoy going to Panade. I can talk to Yvette about anything, politics, the LES, love and life in general.

Pedro in Schneider's Saloon

Pedro feels right at home in our re-created Saloon

4. What makes someone a New Yorker?
A New Yorker is someone who falls asleep on the subway and wakes up on time to get off at the right spot. A New Yorker is not afraid of any neighborhood in NYC, whether it’s poor or rich. A New Yorker will know the difference between good and bad pizza.

5. Of all the families whose stories we tell here, which family would you most want to spend a day with and why?
I would like to spend the day with John and Caroline Schneider. I used to say the Baldizzis but I’ve been curious about the Schneider family dynamic. John was kind of like me in that he spent more time here in NYC than in his country of birth. This is relevant as I think about my own decisions regarding how I Americanize; what do I preserve of my original culture and what do I adapt? I think the Baldizzi family completely assimilated, unlike the Schneiders who seem to have been more German-American. I want to be Hispanic-American not just American.

Lokki Chan, Education Associate

1. What brought you to the Tenement Museum?
I went to the Museum on a field trip when I was in high school, and I had a fond memory of coming here. I always enjoy studying history, especially American history. After I graduated from college and was in search of a job, I saw on the Museum website that the Museum was in need of an Educator.

2. What is your personal connection to immigration?
My family and I left Hong Kong in 1990, immigrated to the suburbs of Toronto, Canada, then in 1997 we transplanted once more to New York.

3. What’s your favorite shop or restaurant on the Lower East Side?
A tiny restaurant on Canal Street named “28 Ming’s Caffe” (28 Canal Street). It serves simple Hong Kong comfort food. It also has a TV that broadcast shows from Hong Kong.

Lokki in Baldizzi Apartment

Lokki visits the Baldizzi family kitchen at 97 Orchard Street

4. What makes someone a New Yorker?
Frankly, I have no idea. I have not given a lot of thoughts about the characteristics of a New Yorker. But I read somewhere that there are things that develop over time and make one a New Yorker: You become a New Yorker once you walk very fast everywhere and you complain that the person in front of you is walking too slowly. Or you love to give directions to a cab driver… You have an opinion on everything: where’s the best slice of pizza; where the best bagel is.

5. Of all the families whose stories we tell here, which family would you most want to spend a day with and why?
The Baldizzis. I imagine Rosaria would serve me a “fried egg on a roll with butter” (no ketchup for me though). Relaxing, playing checkers, listening to the radio, then Josephine, Johnny and Rita Bonofiglio (a neighbor of the Baldizzis) would invite me to go to the Nickelodeon.

— Posted by Alana Rosen