W.O.W Founding Members
Nancy & Shuck Seid have been running Wing on Wo & Co. in partnership for over forty years. Nancy inherited the shop from her father in 1964. Since then, Nancy and Shuck have made a tradition of traveling to Hong Kong and China on annual buying trips. Everything that you see in the shop today has been hand picked by the couple with love.
Betty is Nancy's sister, and Wing On Wo's "number one" employee. Betty began helping in the evenings and on weekends while working a full time job until she retired in 2009. Betty is a force to be reckoned with; she has single-handedly driven our inventory management and is the busiest bee you'll find at 26 Mott Street.
Gary is one of the stewards of our family, creating traditions and contributing to Wing On Wo's community legacy. He is the most multi-talented founding member, serving as W.O.W.'s resident woodworker, cratemeister, certified yoga instructor, and nunchuck pro. Gary is excited about the W.O.W Project's mission and is driven to make it sustainable for generations to come.
Mei is the 5th generation owner of Wing on Wo and the founder and director of The W.O.W. Project. Mei is passionate about building a socially-minded business model for Wing on Wo and is so appreciative for this opportunity to create something meaningful with a community of people she loves.
Photo credit: Teddy Wolf
W.O.W Family Team
Fourth generation of the Wing on Wo family, Lorraine has been serving customers since her teens. These days you will most often find her tending to the window garden and pairing succulent varieties with porcelain pieces. Lorraine is also W.O.W.'s resident curator, providing artistic direction for our shop. Lorraine is thrilled to support Mei in her vision for the future of W.O.W.
To Evan, Wing on Wo has been a time capsule that represents both his family's ancestry and Chinatown's history. Evan is focused on capturing moments and objects that are representative of W.O.W. to share with our community. At your service, Evan brings you your daily dose of Chinatown NYC via @wingonwoandco!
Lina was raised at Wing On Wo. It is where she learned all of life's most important lessons from W.O.W's trifecta: hard work and respect from Shuck, compassion and love from Nancy, diligence and sensitivity from Betty. Lina helps drive W.O.W.'s strategy and is appropriately equipped for all brainstorming sessions with gummy bears for Mei in tow. Granddaughter, daughter, and most proudly Mei's 姐姐, Lina couldn't be more excited to support Mei in bringing the vision for W.O.W. to life.
Kara is passionate about harnessing the power of social media to grow @WingonWoAndCo's presence inside and outside the community. She is our in-house tweet mistress, putting her real-time tweeting and live-streaming skills to work at W.O.W Project panel discussions. Be sure to follow @WingonWoAndCo on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
W.O.W. SHOP TEAM
Nate is W.O.W.'s director of product. He has been living in Jingdezhen on and off for about 4 years and knows the ins and out of the city like the back of his hand. In addition to being an expert at bargaining and closing porcelain deals, Nate is also a filmmaker. Nate's most recent documentary short, '手成' City of Hands, profiles four young members of Jingdezhen's ceramics community. Nate has worked on multiple film projects documenting the lives of artists in China. He is extremely grateful to be able to use his experience with ceramics to keep Wing on Wo stocked with both new pieces and exciting artisan and classic pieces that never go out of style.
Juliet Phillips is a visual artist from Brooklyn. Her work follows a curious winding narrative through painting, drawing, animation and sculpture and is informed by the objects she collects-- a practical way to digest the city! She loves Wing on Wo & Co. and is so grateful to be a part of the creativity and progress that The W.O.W Project embodies.
W.O.W. Fellows & Interns 2018-2019
Emily is a second-year student at Barnard College who recently moved to New York City/Lenape land from Vancouver, Canada/unceded Coast Salish territories where they reconnected with its Chinatown through intergenerational community building and grassroots political organizing. Emily is very excited to continue this work in Manhattan's Chinatown with the W.O.W. Project by connecting with the vibrant intergenerational community here and continuing the political conversation about changing Chinatowns. They are very grateful to be a part of the W.O.W team as they are constantly inspired by and learning from their teammates' dedication to justice and community through arts, culture, and activism.
Jade is a mixed, Chinese and Jewish American student in her last year at Barnard College, where she studies urban sociology and environmental science. She loves learning about neighborhood histories, and is writing a senior thesis on critical cartography and counter-mapping practices as forms of activism in New York City. In her free time, Jade likes to cook with her friends, make zines, sing in choirs, and ride her bike. Jade is working on W.O.W. Public Programs this year, and is thrilled to be building community and Asian American power through art with the rest of the W.O.W. team!
Cynthia Yashi Tong is a senior at New York University studying Public Policy. Born in Shenzhen, China and raised in Irvine, California, she hopes to connect with her two identities through deeper engagement in the Asian American community. Ever since moving to NYC, Manhattan's Chinatown has been a place of comfort and familiarity for her; Cynthia joined the W.O.W. project to learn how she can not only help preserve the culture and histories of such a meaningful place, but also introduce to more people the beauty of Chinatown. She can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and Korean—and can probably beat you in a pork bun eating contest.
Cathy is a current junior in Townsend Harris High School and joined WOW not only for their meaningful aspirations, but as a stepping stone to gain better communication skills. WOW provides her with an opportunity to help and preserve the community she grew up in and the rich culture ingrained in this small space. She hopes to grow as a person and to be one step closer to being able to answer the question "Who Am I?".
Fanny is a first generation Chinese American who has always wanted to explore Chinatown but never had the chance to fully do so. She knows the significance Chinatown holds and has historically represented but wants to dig deeper and learn more about the people and culture while mentally etching the map of Chinatown in her head. Fanny is excited to be a part of W.O.W because it gives her the opportunity to get to learn more about the landmark and intergenerational community through art, culture, and activism. She strives to actively participate and form meaningful relationships in order to better understand the community.
Raina Liu is currently a freshman at Columbia University. They were born in Manhattan and raised in Cleveland, Ohio by Chinese immigrant parents. They joined the WOW Project to get more in touch with their Chinese American identity and roots, especially through a young/queer perspective. They hope to make their parents proud.
W.O.W. Intern Alums
Jenni is a proud Chinatown local! She loves being a part of the W.O.W. Project and can't wait to engage with people of all ages, languages, and histories about the future of Chinatown. She is inspired by the Chinatown residents who came before her, without whose strength and resiliency Chinatown would not be the vibrant cultural enclave it is today. She loves acting and filmmaking, and will always keep fighting for the day that Asians, as well as other minorities, are accurately represented in the media.
Jamie is a third/second generation Korean-American from Yorkville but has spent a lot of her childhood exploring the streets of Chinatown. She is a recent graduate of the Brearley School and will be attending Brandeis University in the fall, where she plans on pursuing subjects like Chinese and sociology as well as activities like the varsity fencing team and social justice oriented organizations. She decided to join the W.O.W Project to learn more about the history of ethnic enclaves and their relationships to gentrification in New York City. One thing she has particularly enjoyed about working at W.O.W is seeing and learning about how grassroots organizing is maintained and developed!
Michelle Lee is from Two Bridges, which is right outside of Chinatown. She is currently a sophomore majoring in Film & TV Production at NYU Tisch planning to double major in economics or Asian American studies. Since she's a first generation kid, her connection with Chinatown and its residents feels like a huge part of her identity. She is thrilled to be a part of a project that stands so strongly for growth and community.
Pearl is currently a junior at Hunter College High School and although she lives in Queens, she is passionate about her second home in Chinatown. In the last year, she has been trying to find new ways in which to be more actively involved within the community. This included interning at the TRC, which was an eye opening experience into topics she is now interested in learning about, such as the spread and effects of gentrification. She was drawn to the W.O.W Project for various reasons, but in particular, the idea of being a part of intergenerational conversations about the changes occurring within Chinatown was so exciting. Through being a part of the W.O.W project, she hopes to not only give back to the community she grew up in a more tangible way, but to also be able to get her peers to become interested in talking about the intricate, complex, and beautiful environment of Chinatown.
Whitney has always defined herself by her two worlds - Asia and America. To explore and better understand her intersectional identity, she’s spent her high school years interacting with her Chinese-American community, whether that be through serving on the Neighborhood Advisory Board, or through visits to special exhibits at the Museum of Chinese in America! Though she has always been tied to Chinatown, her interest in Chinatown was piqued by a term paper she wrote, which explored the sensationalization of early Chinatowns by the white media. The W.O.W. Project provides a space for her to explore the story of Chinatown further.
Wenjing Lin is a first-generation Chinese immigrant deeply rooted in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Provoked by the corrosive spread of gentrification in the low-income communities, she seeks to devote her own effort in community organizing in hopes of preserving the community and its cultural essence. She is particularly interested in joining W.O.W's effort in encouraging community dialogue and preserving the culture through arts and activism.
Kevin Louie is a sophomore at Bard High School Early College in Queens. He is very proud to be on the W.O.W team because of his desire and aspiration to play a role in community. Kevin wants to spread happiness and socialize with the people in order to benefit the environment. He felt he needed to go out of his comfort zone and into a new community where he can express himself in a way he did not before. Luckily for Kevin, he ended up with the W.O.W team. With all the amazing people on the W.O.W team, He is able to be himself and continue growing as a person through this once in a lifetime opportunity.
A lifelong lover of cute school supplies doting Sanrio characters and the icon that is Sailor Moon, Donna Karimi was born and bred in the Woodside, Queens. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and a former intern of the W.O.W Project, she recently taught English to high school students in Lishui, China. Since then, she has reconnected with W.O.W because she still believes in it’s mission statement, hoping to preserve the history and culture of Chinatown on an intimate level while having important discussions about the shifting landscape of the neighborhood. She hopes to continue to contribute in any way she can to make this possible.