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.
70 Mulberry Street, Map data © 2020 Google
The Museum of Chinese in America has launched an online fundraiser after a fire likely destroyed most of its extensive archive. Last Thursday night, a fire broke out at 70 Mulberry Street in Chinatown, in a building that housed a number of nonprofits, including about 85,000 irreplaceable items from the museum’s collection. According to the New York Times, priceless artifacts like traditional wedding dresses from the early 1900s and documents from 1883 about the Chinese Exclusion Act are thought to be among items lost.
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.
Rendering via Handel Architects
A group of Lower East Side residents on Friday filed a lawsuit against New York City to stop three luxury developments planned for Two Bridges. The residents, who are being represented by the Lower East Side Organized Neighbors (LESON) and the Asian-American Legal Defense Fund, argue the new skyscrapers violate zoning rules meant to protect against out-of-scale development (h/t Bowery Boogie).
Via Handel Architects
During a City Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday, local residents and officials of the Two Bridges community voiced their strong opposition to four towers planned for the Lower Manhattan neighborhood. Those who testified against the buildings questioned the developer’s draft environmental impact study (DEIS), which found the projects would not cause displacement, amNY reported. Developers also announced measures to mitigate the potential adverse effects on the neighborhood, which include upgrading the F train station at East Broadway, improving public parks, and implementing flood protection measures.
259 Clinton Street via Perkins Eastman
Additional details and a new rendering have been unveiled this week for a 62-story Lower East Side skyscraper designed by Perkins Eastman Architects, nearly two years after 6sqft first wrote about the project. Located at 259 Clinton Street, the tower is a part of a controversial three-building project coming to the waterfront of the Two Bridges neighborhood. According to YIMBY, latest plans for 259 Clinton Street, developed by Starret Development, call for a 730-foot tower, slightly higher than an earlier 724-foot proposal.
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.