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 11 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.
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.
Rendering: SHoP Architects
Three projects that include the construction of four towers and the creation of nearly 3,000 housing units in Two Bridges meet all zoning requirements and can move forward without City Council approval, an appeals court ruled Thursday. The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s ruling that had stopped the Manhattan megaproject from going ahead.
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.