A new festival celebrating Chinatown is coming to Lower Manhattan. Hosted by the neighborhood advocacy group Welcome to Chinatown, the 88 East Fair aims to bring business and appreciation to Chinatown’s businesses and cultural institutions that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Held at the East Broadway Mall at 88 East Broadway, the fair will run on September 30 and October 1 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Streetview of murals by Richard Haas at the Manhattan Detention Complex; © Google 2022
On Wednesday, a judge ruled against halting the demolition of the Manhattan Detention Complex at 124-125 White Street at a hearing in a lawsuit brought by two artists whose works at the site may be moved or destroyed, the New York Times reports. The plaintiffs had requested a preliminary injunction; Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the request, citing a lack of proof that preserving the artworks outweighed the community value of a newly-constructed jail planned for the site. The artists–with support from Neighbors United Below Canal, a neighborhood group opposed to the new Chinatown jail–had invoked the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 as grounds for the lawsuit.
Streetview of the planned shelter site at 47 Madison Street © 2021 Google
In the second such move in less than a week, New York City has canceled plans for one of a handful of new homeless shelters in Chinatown, the New York Times reports. The planned “safe haven” shelter was to be located in the former Best Western Hotel at the corner of Grand Street and Bowery. The move follows months of vocal opposition to three planned shelters by community members who cite an increase in crimes targeting Asians and a similar announcement last Friday regarding the rollback of plans for a shelter nearby at 47 Madison Street.
All renderings courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America/ © 2022 Maya Lin Studio with Bialosky New York
The Museum of Chinese in America on Friday unveiled plans for a new headquarters designed by renowned architect Maya Lin. The new nine-story museum, to rise on the site of MOCA’s current Centre Street location in Chinatown, will expand its current footprint from 12,000 square feet to about 68,000 square feet. Lin’s design involves a puzzle-like exterior made of metal and perforated panels, a two-story lecture hall, a light-filled atrium, community space, and exhibitions dedicated to the history of the Chinese diaspora in the U.S. As Bloomberg first reported, the new museum will cost $118 million and is expected to open in 2025.
Photo on the left courtesy of Lloyd Trufelman; Photo on right courtesy of Wikimedia
The intersection that formed the notorious Five Points neighborhood in Manhattan will now be officially part of New York City’s street grid. The city has installed a sign at Baxter and Worth Streets in Lower Manhattan, marking the exact location of the original Five Points, a notorious 19th-century slum that was home to a diverse group of immigrants. Before this year’s street co-naming, there was no official marker at the site to honor the historic spot, considered to be one of the country’s first “melting pots.” But a successful effort spearheaded by Lloyd Trufelman, who is a tour guide with the Municipal Art Society of New York, along with groups like the New York Adventure Club and the Historic Districts Council led to the street co-naming, symbolizing the return of Five Points to the city 125 years later. Ahead, hear from Trufelman about his campaign to recognize the legendary neighborhood and learn how to sign up for his upcoming walking tour.
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.
Tuesday, September 21 marks the first day of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, the Asian holiday celebrates what is considered the brightest and fullest moon of the year, as well as the fall harvest. In China, where perhaps the holiday is most popular, it’s similar to Thanksgiving, with families gathering for a meal, accompanied by lantern lighting. Mooncakes, the namesake food of the vent, are another important component. The round pastries are traditionally filled with red bean or lotus seed paste, wrapped around a salted dug egg that symbolizes the moon. They’re then pressed into a mold to emboss the top of the pastry in elaborate designs, which all have different meanings. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the 13 best places in New York City to find all varieties of mooncakes, along with a few options for ordering online.
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.
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.
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.