As many other New York City ethnic neighborhoods have diminished or disappeared over the years, Chinatown continues to grow and prosper. Roughly bound by borders at Hester and Worth Streets to the north and south, and Essex and Broadway to the east and west, Chinatown is home to largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia. With this in mind, architecture firm ODA New York, known for prioritizing people over architecture, has proposed a unique and beautiful new gateway to the neighborhood at the Canal Street Triangle. ODA’s typical designs can be a bit boxy, constructed with heavier materials, but there is always a lightness to them, whether through the infusion of glass, archways, or greenery. Combining new technology with traditional Chinese symbolism, “Dragon Gate” will delicately weave the duality of Chinatown’s old and new into a strong structure, both in symbolism and material.
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Revised Design for 312-322 Canal Street courtesy of Paul A. Castrucci Architects
For Trans World Equities and Paul A. Castrucci Architects, the third time is truly the charm. Nearly seven years after they first proposed a plan to replace a row of five buildings at 312-322 Canal Street with a residential building, the Landmarks Preservation Commission officially approved on Tuesday the duo’s revised design. The updated plan reduces the height of the building from nine to seven stories and mutes the color of the facade from a bright-red brick to terracotta. During the developer’s third presentation for LPC, the commissioners said the building’s rhythm and height will now fit better with the district, according to CityRealty.
Rihanna began renting this duplex penthouse at 129 Lafayette Street back in 2013 for $39,000 a month. Since then, the rent has climbed to $50,000, which could be why it’s now hit the sales market for $16.95 million (h/t NYP). The sprawling home, located on the border of Chinatown, Little Italy, and Soho, has a massive 2,500-square-foot wrap-around terrace with Empire State Building views, a steel-and-wood floating staircase, custom concrete flooring, and an open layout perfect for hosting soirees.
Living in any of One Manhattan Square‘s 815 units is a pretty extravagant opportunity; the 800-foot Two Bridges tower will boast more than 100,000 square feet of over-the-top indoor and outdoor amenities, ranging from a tree house with fire pits and stargazing observatory to a 70-seat movie theater and bowling alley. But those 25 condos on the upper floors will be afforded an even more luxurious lifestyle, with “limitless bird’s eyes vistas” of the skyline, Brooklyn, New York harbor, and the East and Hudson Rivers. According to a press release from developer Extell announcing this Skyscape Collection, the deluxe residences are mainly three-bedroom homes, along with the building’s five five-bedroom penthouses, two of which are duplexes (one of these already sold for $13 million).
96 Baxter Street via Google Street View
The 13-story, 88-unit rental building for low-income seniors at 96 Baxter Street in Chinatown has opened its waiting list to new applicants this week for the first time in 25 years (h/t Lo-Down). Only people aged 62 and older (over 18 if they are mobility impaired) can apply. The units rent for 30 percent of one’s annual income; studios are available to those earning less than $33,400 a year and one-bedroom to those earning less than $38,200. The waitlist originally contained over 3,000 names, a number which now stands at only a handful. Among the building’s current tenants, two are reportedly 108 years old. The youngest residents are about 85.
Chinatown, image © Chaz Langley
Many New Yorkers navigate Chinatown by its famous street names; East Broadway, Mulberry, Canal and Orchard. However, for many Chinese immigrants living in the area who do not speak English, these names are not used. Instead, descriptive nicknames (translated from Chinese) exist like “Hatseller Street,” “Garbage Street,” and “Dead Person Street.” Even more interesting, to help Chinese New Yorkers navigate the city, maps with these streets labeled in their Chinese nicknames are made and distributed. A reporter from This American Life, Aaron Reiss, began collecting these maps and discovered the lesser-known nicknames for a lot of these city streets, many which have four or five different labels.
Mayor Bill de Blasio declared Wednesday that he wanted “more rat corpses” in a $32 million crusade to rid the city’s most plagued neighborhoods of the scurrying scourge. The New York Times reports that parts of lower Manhattan, the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx are the focus of the latest campaign that hopes to reduce the number of rats in those areas by 70 percent by the close of 2018. Among the battle’s newly-forged weapons are 336 $7,000 solar-powered rat-proof garbage bins and an EPA-approved–and apparently very effective–method of killing rats in their holes using dry ice.
If you’ve walked down Chinatown’s Canal Street then you’re certainly familiar with a string of stores at 312-322 Canal Street hawking cheap souvenirs to tourists and passersby. After a proposal to renew the depressed stretch of shops with a brand-new brick construction failed to pass Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) muster in 2011, a new, much more ambitious plan to replace the ramshackle building has finally emerged.
The historically low-income, low-slung neighborhood of Two Bridges–the area along the East River, near the footings of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges where the Lower East Side meets Chinatown–has become a high-rise hotbed over the past year. Despite the controversy that the four planned projects, all upwards of 700 feet, have caused, they’re moving along fairly swiftly, and The Lo-Down now has the big reveal for the final site–Starrett Group‘s 259 Clinton Street. Perkins Eastman Architects have designed the 724-foot, 62-story glass tower, which will have ground-floor retail and 732 apartments, 25 percent of which will be permanently affordable with a good chunk being set aside for low-income seniors.
6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Chaz Langley explores the people and establishments breathe life into Chinatown. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Nashville native Chaz Langley moved to New York to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter/actor/model, but along the way began snapping iPhone photos of his adopted city as another creative outlet, finding the process therapeutic. Through his Instagram account, he tells the stories of the people, places, and things that inspire him, using his other skill set of graphic design as a way to curate his collections. In “A Stroll in Chinatown” he captures the unique cultural establishments of Chinatown and the everyday comings and goings of the neighborhood’s residents.