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Pvt. Danny Chens former apartment

About this listing

Apartment where Pvt. Chen lived with his family

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Chinatown
Residential, Asian/ Pacific/ American, Housing

Nominations

Robert Lee, Nominated during the Asian American Art Alliances Locating the Sacred Festival

This apartment, at Elizabeth Street and Grand Street in Chinatown, NYC, is where Danny Chen lived and grew up with his parents for ten years of his life.

Danny Chen was born in New York City in 1992, and he died in Afghanistan in August 2011, when he was nineteen years old. He attended Chinatown Head Start when he was three and four years old, learned English there very quickly, and went to MS 131 in the neighborhood. He joined the army, went through basic training, was transferred to Fort Wainwright in Alaska, where he celebrated his nineteenth birthday. He waited enthusiastically to be transferred into a combat zone. Through all this time and during his brief duty in Afghanistan he endured racially charged treatment by his superiors and his fellow soldiers, abuse that went as far as torture, such that when he was found dead in a guard tower, eight of his fellow soldiers were charged with involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide. These military trials, held in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, failed to bring justice to Danny Chen, his family, his community, to Asian Americans, and to all Americans.

Let this sacred site be a condolence, a remembrance, and a reminder of Danny Chens bravery, his will and desire to overcome the obstacles to do well and demonstrate his courage, of this Asian American community that gave one of their own in the service of this nation, and of the diverse peoples that make up this country and the richness in culture and lessons in tolerance and compassion they offer us all.

92-96 Elizabeth Street is just below Grand Street. The apartment where the Chens lived is on the second floor, past the small courtyard. It is a small apartment, and Danny was not able to have his own bedroom. The buildings arched entrance leads through an area about thirty feet long, and into the central courtyard, which is currently used for storage and custodial supplies. The courtyard is about thirty feet by twenty-five feet, and there may be room for a marker or plaque, or even a piece of public art, which would designate the site as a sacred site. It could also tell viewers where to find more information about Pvt. Danny Chen. (September 2012)


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