Pearl River staff posing at the Tribeca store

Pearl River in 2019: A Year in Review

With 2020 right around the corner, we have a lot to look forward to — new products and partnerships, an exciting lineup of art exhibitions, and the opening of Pearl River Mart Foods, just to name a few — but as we do every year, we also love looking back. Take a walk with us down Pearl River memory lane as we celebrate 2019.

MOCA Shop by Pearl River Opens

MOCA Shop by Pearl River tote bag on a table with other items

We kicked off 2019 with the opening of our third location, the shop in the esteemed Museum of Chinese in America! You can find our carefully curated collection of Asian and Asian American items there along with MOCA's insightful exhibitions and fun events.

Closing Distances with Arlan Huang and Mee Mee Chin

Mee Mee Chin and Arlan Huang in the Pearl River art gallery during their opening reception

Our first exhibition of the year was all in the family: not only are Arlan Huang and Mee Mee Chin both artists, they’re cousins! In this heartwarming exhibition, Arlan’s beautiful oil paintings and Mee Mee’s exquisite Chinese opera costumes came together to create connections between cultures, generations, and family members. Learn more in our interview with the co-exhibitors.

Happy Year of the Pig!

Pearl River staff with Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony at OC's LNY party

We rang in the Year of the Pig with lion dancing, dumpling eating, Chinese opera singing, and pigging out with Opening Ceremony at their Lunar New Year bash.

Newsday’s Feed Me TV

Joanne Kwong and TV host Kelly Choi filming a segment of Feed Me TV

Television host extraordinaire Kelly Choi paid us a visit last fall to film her show, Newsday’s Feed Me TV, and the episode dropped in March! You can watch Kelly make the rounds around the High Line and throughout Chelsea Market, peruse our products, try on cool hats, and chat with Pearl River president Joanne Kwong.

Johnny Tang’s World of One

Photographer Johnny Tang pointing at a photograph of himself

Photographer Johnny Tang wowed us with his surreal, Matrix-esque photographs. Learn more in our interview with him.

Mindful Eating with Christine Wong

Christine Wong, author of cookbook The Plantiful Plate

We welcomed spring with some healthy eating — Christine Wong’s gorgeous cookbook, Plantiful Plate — and a delicious tasting. We also loved hearing tips and advice from the certified health coach on how to cook and eat in a mindful and sustainable way. Learn more in our interview with Christine.

Juno Shen Sheds Some (Neon) Light

Artist Juno Shen posing in front of one of her neon light mahjong tile sculptures

This year Juno Shen’s extra-large mahjong tile neon sculptures lit up our Chelsea Market store. The artist and entrepreneur also chatted with us about the inspiration behind these lucky handmade pieces.

Slant'd Magazine: Looking Back and Moving Forward

Pearl River president Joanne Kwong with owners Mr. and Mrs. Chen

“I’m always amazed by the universal joy of the Pearl River experience and the sheer power of bringing people together to discover cool, unique stuff.” So writes Pearl River President Joanne Kwong in her essay for Slant’d magazine. Read more about the story of Pearl River, from its political beginnings to its resurrection and evolution.

Lucky Chow: Food as AZN

Joanne Kwong speaking with Danielle Chang, host of TV show Lucky Chow

We had so much fun hosting LUCKYRICE founder and Lucky Chow host Danielle Chang during her visit to our TriBeCa store. Check out our segment!

Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco

Pearl River display of products in an art exhibition for the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco

This year Pearl River was coast to coast! It was great fun being part of the “On Growing Up in a Chinatown Store” exhibition in the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco. Check out our display as well as those from fellow Chinese American stores across the country.

William Yu’s #StarringJohnCho

William Yu in front of his John Cho movie posters

Writer and activist William Yu brought his viral hashtag to life through his exhibition, #StarringJohnCho: The Call for an Asian American Lead. Learn more in our interview with William.

AAGC, Banana Mag, and BUBBLE_T oh my!

Members of the artist collective Bubble_T with Pearl River president Joanne Kwong

No year would be complete with lots of fun collaborations, from adorable merch with Ally Maki’s Asian American Girl Club, to totally “baesian” hats, T-shirts, and onesies with lifestyle and culture publication, Banana Magazine, to our 2019 Pride T-shirt with artist collective BUBBLE_T. We're looking forward to many more in 2020!

Thanks to the Chinatown Partnership!

Honorees at the 2019 Explore Chinatown gala and benefit dinner

We were so humbled to be honored by the Chinatown Partnership at their third annual Benefit and Gala earlier this year. Much respect and congratulations again to all the honorees, including Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the Chen Dance Center, the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, and the legendary Asian American studies scholar Betty Lee Sung.

Our Lanterns Were Taken to the Next Level

Handpainted lanterns at the Next Level Design Week popup exhibit

For NYCxDesign 2019, we collaborated with design cooperative Next Level on an exquisite lantern exhibition. Thirty-five New York-based artists used the more than 70 paper lanterns we donated to create unique pieces of art. We even bought one for ourselves! Check out even more gorgeous lanterns here and here.

A LUCKYRICE Paddy Grows in Manhattan

LUCKYRICE's rice paddy installation at the World Trade Center

We were so excited to participate in and sponsor LUCKYRICE’S amazing rice paddy installation at the World Trade Center’s Oculus Plaza, and to provide the dragons and lanterns for their feast.

Philip Poon’s Shared Spaces

Architect Philip Poon poses by his Chinatown Gateway model

In Shared Spaces, Philip Poon brought us our first architecture exhibition. Its three parts — Chinatown Gateway, Monument to Keshia Thomas, and Share Spaces? — invited viewers to imagine how people of diverse backgrounds might occupy the same physical space. Learn more in our interview with Philip.

Pearl River Mart Foods Announced!

Pearl River Mart Foods window wraps

We announced the upcoming opening of Pearl River’s fourth location and second in Chelsea Market: Pearl River Mart Foods. Coming in early 2020! Until then feast your eyes on our supercool logo and window wraps.

Pearl River Mart in Japan

Joanne Kwong with her family in traditional Japanese clothing

This year our sourcing trip took us to Japan! We got to go to the Obon festival, a baseball game, and Pokemon heaven. We rode the bullet train, ate some amazing food, and brought some Japanese treats home for everyone to try. We can’t wait to go again!

Suzette Gabriel-Schoebitz Transforms Trash into Treasure

Photogapher Alfonso Sjogreen, jeweler Suzette Gabriel-Schoebitz, and coreographer Rafael Giovanola-Endrass

Reuse, repair, recycle. That’s the philosophy of activist and jeweler Suzette Gabriel-Schoebitz who filled our gallery with beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. Accompanying Suzette’s work were Alfonso Sjogreen’s striking photographs documenting waste throughout NYC. Learn more in our interview with Suzette and check out highlights from the opening reception.

Patricia Chang’s Kidville

Display of items in Kidville store by Patricia Chang

We reunited with Patricia Chang, one of our first designers, and helped her curate a collection for her adorable Kidville shop. Congrats Patricia!

Asian Babies: Works from Asian ‘New Yorker’ Cartoonists


Our last art exhibition of the year features 10 talented (and very funny!) New Yorker cartoonists of Asian descent. You can view ASIAN BABIES in our TriBeCa gallery until Jan. 12, 2020. Until then learn more in our interviews with the curators, Jeremy Nguyen and Amy Hwang.

Inaugural Pearl River Artist Family Dinner

Artists and Pearl River family member at artists dinner

This year we reached the milestone of 22 art exhibitions, a great cause for celebration! We had so much fun hosting our inaugural Pearl River artist family dinner. Check out the shenanigans!

Sharing Our Favorite Asian Snacks with the Feast Meets West Podcast

Joanne Kwong with Lydia Liu, host of Feast Meets West podcast

Crunch crunch! Joanne Kwong went on the Feast Meets West podcast and shared with host Lydia Liu her favorite Asian snacks. Listen to the episode.

Wonton in a Million Meet-Up

Crowd at planner meet-up for Wonton in a Million

One of our favorite collaborators, Wonton in a Million, turned four this year, and we had the chance to help celebrate by hosting a planner meet-up at our Chelsea Market store. Relive the fun day!

Launch of Pearl River Business to Business

Large decorative dragons hanging for a birthday party

While we’ve always partnered with event planners and small businesses, now we have a place where you can see our past work. Great for weddings (congrats again to Banana co-founder Vicki Ho!), parties, home makeovers, and more. Take a look at the whole business to business section.

Our Collection with PINTRILL

Collection of Pearl River x Pintrill pins

We ended the year on pins and needles: an exclusive collection with Brooklyn-based accessory and lifestyle brand PINTRILL! Learn more in our interview with the company’s co-founder, Andrew Yung.

That’s it for 2019 — we can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring! Happy New Year from all of us at Pearl River!

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