Today's City section offers an depressing, if also interesting and unsettling, glimpse into a New York world that we normally don't see: the six feet by six feet hotel rooms in which Chinese men (there are others for women) can stay as they move among restaurant jobs across the country. Specifically at the residents of the Sun Bright Hotel on Hester Street and the Bowery after a stabbing there.
At the Sun Bright about 60 men sleep in a 6'x6' rooms that rent fro $10-15 dollars (the closer you are to a window the more it costs), share one bathroom and have grates for ceilings. "Tenants often subsist on meals of rice porridge, dried fruit and restaurant leftovers." When one tenant goes to jail he finds that his prison cell "had a private bed, a sink, a toilet, a shelf for his personal effects, even a window. It measured 60 square feet, almost double the size of his room at the Sun Bright Hotel."
"The truth is that we are slaves here," one man from the Sun Bright tells the Times reporter. "We are the new blacks." When asked what he does for a living the man "laughingly said, in broken English: 'I make your chicken lo mein.'""
Photogrpah by Chang W. Lee for the New York Times.