Anthony Wang

Resident of senior housing in Coney Island was born in Shanghai and survived the Cultural Revolution

This interview was conducted and recorded in Mandarin Chinese. Read Xiaoyan Li's transcript and translation below. 

Anthony Wang, a resident of senior housing in Coney Island's West End, was born in 1947 into a wealthy family in Shanghai. When he was a boy, his father, a high level official in the police department, was identified as a counter-revolutionary and sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp.  As a result, Anthony suffered discrimination and was denied higher educational opportunities despite his academic achievements. He was left with no choice as a young man but to join a construction company working in remote regions of China. He shares memories of those difficult times and of surviving the Cultural Revolution. 

At age 40, Anthony decided to immigrate to the United States. Arriving in 1992, he found his first job at a Chinatown gas station and later ran a nail salon in Brooklyn. He talks about his life as a retiree living in Coney Island, his apartment in a building owned by the non-profit New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, his experiences during Hurricane Sandy, and highlights of the neighborhood.