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The Life Of Wild Lily Tea Room-The Beginning

This is the first article appeared in NYTimes (May,7 1998) before the wild lily tea room even opened, nor had I signed the lease, from the "too smart for his own good landlord, Max, who put us in touch of NYTimes, owned the gallery next door. I remembered Max called me few days before signing the lease," Ines!" He said, "I have seen many people in my life, but you are different, you will make it!" I thought why you called me before 10am to wake me up to pay such a compliment. The NYTimes piece appeared the next day then I signed the lease few days later. 
Max had a grand vision to launch his Chinese Artists with a Chinese tearoom within his gallery. It was before the Chinese contemporary art boom. Max had a master mind of planning and twisting. ( to be explained later..)

The drawing in the Times article was hand-rendered by David, my dear friend, the architect of wild lily tea room. We had numerous meeting talking about life and what my vision was for this special place I wanted to create. He kept saying over and over again," leap of the faith" in the meeting. I was too young to grasp that he was reflecting upon his own career and life, and his implication of the danger involved in opening a food business in NYC to me. Everything in my head was all about creating wild lily and nothing left reserved for "faith". Being young and ignorant did help me to focus on making it happen. I told him, " I want a space is not Victorian, but for both male and female like a unisex barber shop. I like to have a large communal table and stools to create the casual feel of having tea. Extremely unique bathroom that people would talk about it after they leave. I need table is spacious enough to serve food, no tiny French bistro small table. People can have some privacy and being intimate. And a POND!" He did it all in just 480sqf… He asked if I needed a pond, it had to be big enough. I would 6 seatings. I didn't care. I did not know how to calculate the seating, economic scale,…. The focus of my vision was so strong that a Pond was essential. That 6 feet pond brought so much attention and it was priceless.