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Chinatown, Policy

Map data © 2020 Google

The city will nearly double its investment in the restoration of a historic Chinatown building that was destroyed in a fire last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday. After committing $80 million last July to the rebuilding of 70 Mulberry Street, a former public school constructed in the 1890s, the mayor said the city will tack on another $90 million, for a total of $170 million. In January 2020, a fire significantly damaged the site, forcing out five nonprofit organizations. According to the city, all of the groups will be welcomed back as tenants.

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Chinatown, History, Landmarks Preservation Commission

Photo by Ken Lund on Flickr

New York City gained its first landmark related to Chinese American history and culture on Tuesday. The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the Kimlau War Memorial, a tribute to Chinese American veterans located in Chinatown. Designed by architect Poy Gum Lee, the memorial honors Americans of Chinese descent who died during World War II and has served as a gathering place for veterans.

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Chinatown, Manhattan, Restaurants

Photo by josh s jackson via Flickr cc

New York City’s largest Chinese restaurant is downsizing. This Sunday, Jing Fong, will close its Elizabeth Street location, the 20,000-square-foot restaurant known for its 800-person dining room and as a hot spot for dim sum. Thankfully, the iconic spot will be staying in Chinatown, as Eater NY reported, with a new 125-seat restaurant opening in July.

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Chinatown, City Living, Restaurants

886’s Taiwanese Fried Rice (left); Wing Hin’s Shrimp Fried Rice (right). Courtesy of Send Chinatown Love + Umamicart.

Wing Hing Seafood Restaurant, 46 Mott St., Grand Tea & Imports, 886–these are just a few of the restaurants featured in the new digital cookbook Around the Roundtable: Recipes for Chinatown Favorites that was created to support Chinatown businesses. The free, downloadable cookbook comes from Send Chinatown Love, an entirely volunteer-run organization whose goal is to provide relief to small, immigrant-owned Chinatown businesses impacted by the effects of Covid-19.

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Featured Story

Features, NYC Guides

Photo by Mobilus in Mobili on Flickr

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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Chinatown, Restaurants

Photo by josh s jackson via Flickr cc

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.

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Art, Chinatown, holidays

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.

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Chinatown, Design, Restaurants

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.

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Chinatown, Restaurants

Photo by josh s jackson via Flickr cc

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.

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Chinatown, Lower East Side, New Developments, Policy

two bridges

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.

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