Last week, when Steve and I were moving things into the building that housed my family’s Imperial Dynasty and Chinese Pagoda restaurants, I became obsessed with the old phones that were left over.

Behind the front counter of the Chinese pagoda, her black rotary phone sits on a shelf, a red rotary phone hangs on the pantry wall. I was flooded with memories of answering that phone and getting takeout orders of curry tomato, sesame chicken chih-ma, and pineapple pork polo.

In the pantry area of ​​the Imperial Dynasty, a push-button desk phone sits on a small table next to a sad-looking telephone set. I remembered the many nights I drank too many times when I scooped up coconut ice cream, tossed salads, and answered that phone, seemingly all at the same time.

Arianne Wing is the co-author of Noodles Through Escargots and co-owner of LT Sue Tea Room and Emporium, benefiting the restoration and preservation of China Alley. She can be reached at [email protected]

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