Friday, December 10, 2010

Man who died in hit-and-run accident is locally famous

DCist is reporting that the man who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run bicyclist in an alley near the Convention Center is somewhat of a local celebrity.  He was an old Chinese man who has been around since Gallery Place was just Chinatown.  A real Chinatown.

Andy Carvin of NPR writes about him:
Several times a week, first thing in the morning, I'd see them strolling counterclockwise around the block down 7th Street. No — strolling is too strong a word. They shuffled at a slow, deliberate pace: The elderly gentleman slightly dragging one foot as his wife ambled at the same pace, sometimes supporting his arm.
I probably saw them hundreds of times over the last four years. Apart from colleagues I'd routinely see coming and going from NPR, they were the most recognizable people in our neighborhood. They rarely ever spoke; over those four years, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I heard them talking softly in Chinese. With quiet dignity, they'd stroll down the street, she in a sweater and he in a cap, his hands held behind his back as if deep in contemplation. Sometimes he had a mysterious smirk of authority on his face, almost like a small-town mayor making the rounds in his community.
I never got to know him. I don't even know if he even recognized me each day in the same way that I always recognized him. But I feel a profound sense of loss with his passing — not only for his wife and family, but for Chinatown itself.

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