Before the coronavirus even hit New York City last year, anti-Asian racism and xenophobia struck the city’s Chinatown neighborhoods, affecting the residents and many small businesses. Throughout the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in harassment and violence against Chinese and other Asian New Yorkers, particularly stemming from racist misinformation about COVID-19. As The City reported, the Commission on Human Rights, recorded 205 cases in 2020 involving anti-Asian incidents, a nearly “sevenfold rise “compared to 2019. Hate crimes and attacks directed at Asian Americans have continued into 2021, in New York and across the country. Ahead, we’ve put together a list of local organizations to donate, for those looking to support Asian communities across the five boroughs. While incomplete, the list can serve as a starting point and will be updated.
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Jing Fong, NYC’s largest Chinese restaurant, will close its famous 800-person dining room due to losses suffered from the COVID crisis. The iconic dim sum spot made the announcement on Friday in an Instagram post. “We are heartbroken to announce that our Chinatown location at 20 Elizabeth Street, will be permanently closing its indoor dining operation on March 7, 2021 at 8:00pm. We will continue to operate from the 2nd floor kitchen for our outside patio, take-out, and delivery until further notice.” The pandemic took its toll early on the restaurant, which was forced to shut down temporarily in March under Governor Cuomo’s order that locations of 500 or more be closed.
Photo by @just_a_spectator
Public artist BKFoxx recently debuted her new mural in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Located at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Middle School 131 on Eldridge and Hester Streets, the piece representing the Year of the Ox is titled “Onward.” The artist tells us that she was inspired by what the Ox represents–honesty, hard work, stubbornness. “No better time than now for that theme, moving forward into 2021 and learning to be resilient,” she says.
All photos courtesy of Emily Andrews for Rockwell Group
Chinatown’s Mott Street got a colorful upgrade on Wednesday with a block-long outdoor installation designed by architect David Rockwell. His firm, Rockwell Group, launched DineOut NYC earlier this summer to help New York City restaurants safely open outside by providing design templates for creative ways to use sidewalk and street space. Mott Street, now closed to cars between Mosco and Worth Streets, serves as the program’s first community-wide dining area, with multiple restaurants on the strip using the facilities.
NYC’s largest Chinese restaurant, Jing Fong, has temporarily shut its doors at 20 Elizabeth Street amid the coronavirus health crisis. The situation is two-fold for the iconic dim sum restaurant; not only is business down 30 to 40 percent, according to the Post, but since the restaurant has 800 seats, they fall under Governor Cuomo’s order that gatherings of 500 or more be shut down. The effect of the pandemic has been especially hard for restaurants in Manhattan’s Chinatown, as well as those Chinatowns in Flushing and Sunset Park.
Rendering: Handel Architects.
State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron upheld an August 2019 ruling that four towers planned for the Lower East Side Two Bridges development cannot move forward. The judge’s decision invalidates the City Planning Commission’s 2018 approval of the towers on the grounds that City Council authority regarding the land-use review process was illegally bypassed and that the controversial skyscrapers must go through the city’s full application process. The ruling prevents the Department of Buildings from issuing permits until the multi-billion dollar project has the proper approvals. The decision represents a rare victory for those opposed to the skyscrapers, including the City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and several Lower East Side and Chinatown community groups.
Rendering courtesy of Mercato Fabbrica
Plans to bring an Italian market to the First National City Bank building at 415 Broadway (or 296 Canal Street) have just been announced. The narrow block between Lispenard and Canal Streets once housed the largest commercial bank in the world and is known for its Art Moderne facade. The 35,000-square-foot interior will be transformed into Mercato Fabbrica, a “culinary destination inspired by the great markets, department stores and social clubs around the world.” The idea has been in the works since 2018 and is slated to open later this year.
A recent ruling by a panel of state appellate judges may add more delays–at the very least–to the rise of JDS Development Group’s proposed addition to the multi-tower Two Bridges development on the Lower East Side/Chinatown waterfront, The City reports. The ruling states that the property’s long-term leaseholder, Little Cherry LLC, which has 25 years left on their lease at the currently-vacant 235 Cherry Street, must have a say in how the property’s development rights are used. The developer plans to stack a 1,000-foot, 100-story waterfront apartment tower on top of and cantilevered over the Two Bridges Senior Apartments and one-story retail space–and they need the Cherry Street property’s development rights to move forward.
Rendering: Handel Architects.
State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has extended a temporary halt on the Two Bridges high-rise development after hearing testimony on several lawsuits aimed at the controversial project in the Lower East Side and Chinatown, Gothamist reports. As 6sqft previously reported, several groups of Lower East Side residents and other community organizations filed a lawsuit against the city to stop four skyscrapers from rising in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood. The lawsuits accuse the city of illegally approving the multi-billion dollar project, claiming the City Planning Commission bypassed City Council authority regarding the land-use review process and that one of the towers violates a 32-year-old deed restriction that ensures housing for low-income residents with disabilities and the elderly.
One of New York City’s most spirited events kicks off next Tuesday: the Lunar New Year. With multiple Chinatowns and Asian communities across the five boroughs, there is no shortage of events to celebrate the nearly two-week-long holiday, which is said to have originated more than 4,000 years ago. While the most well-known festivity is the colorful parade in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown, other Lunar New Year events in Flushing, Sunset Park, and Staten Island should not be overlooked. Embrace the Year of the Pig, the 12th zodiac animal said to signal good fortune, with lantern decorating events, dumpling and noodle-making classes, traditional dance and song, and sparkling firecracker ceremonies.