Wait, hold on for a second. How did I miss this? Wall Street’s Sad Panda, an endearing New York character that Gothamist discovered almost a year ago, is not just some weird furry but an elderly Chinese man who had lost his job. While his wife works seven days a week as a private nurse, he seeks out a meager income by posing with tourists in an adorably (and unintentionally) forlorn panda suit (and sometimes Spongebob Squarepants).
Last November, Columbia grad student Michelle Tay posted this exclusive interview with 62 year old Jialing Chen, who tells his heartbreaking story about losing his job and his new life inside the panda suit. It’s a touching story about surviving in New York, a city that can be as unforgiving to its citizens as it is exhilarating.
Is the magic gone from these amazing photos of a Sad Panda wandering the streets of busy Manhattan? I say no. We’ve just uncovered a different story: one that follows the harsh but creative world of a struggling immigrant. I also need to pay more attention to my Sad Panda news.
If any of our readers are out in New York right now, please drop a weekend tip in his jar for us. We’ll pay you back.
PS. Don’t forget. Pandas are still vicious creatures when they aren’t sad.