The Chinatown Working Group, the local community planning group including over 50 local tenant associations and tenant and labor advocacy organizations, family, community and business associations and social service organizations, will hold a town hall on its work so far and the future of Chinatown: Wednesday, June 26, 2013, from 6pm to 8:30pm, Middle School 131, 100 Hester Street, Manhattan. For flyers in English, Chinese or Spanish, or for more information, contact
The Chinatown Working Group and its consultants, the Pratt Center/ Collective Partnership invite you to a
TOWN HALL on the future of Chinatown and the surrounding areas
The Chinatown Working Group (CWG) has been developing recommendations aimed at ensuring appropriate development in Chinatown and its surrounding areas that benefits existing residents and businesses and strengthens this important cultural and historic neighborhood.
Concerned about losing Chinatown’s affordability and unique character and culture?
DATE: June 26, 2013
TIME: 6pm – 8:30pm
PLACE: MS 131 (Auditorium), 100 Hester Street (corner of Forsyth street), Manhattan. Closest subway: Grand Street (B & D trains).
Mandarin, Cantonese, Fujiannese, Spanish translation will be available.
Light refreshments will be provided.
For further information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
TOWN HALL on the future of Chinatown and its surrounding areas
Come and hear about the CWG’s work
Share your thoughts on housing, jobs, cultural and historic preservation and new development
11 buildings on the Bowery from Canal Street to Houston Street (83-5, 88, 103-5, 219-21, 262, 276-82-84) have just been bought by the owner of Dr. Jays, hip-hop clothing stores. With the exception of 276-84 at the corner of Houston, most of these parcels are not ideal candidates for demolition and redevelopment but the likely replacement of Chinese local-serving retail in 83, 85, 88, 103 and 105 — many of the leases are coming due — will carve out a piece of the Chinatown community.
If new commerce succeeds, it spreads. That’s bad news for Chinatown, even though this portfolio was never Chinese-owned. Those four buildings are also residential, so watch out for evictions. The current hotel residents in 88 may be threatened as well. The building is overbuilt, so it’s unlikely to be demolished, but it could be renovated and turned into an upscale hotel like the St. Mark’s for those seeking the “authentic New York experience.”
The Chinatown Working Group will be holding a town hall on the future of Chinatown. This troubling news could be the introductory context of the town hall. Shouldn’t the public know how the future is already being prepared by real estate and retail speculators? Isn’t this what community planning is supposed to respond to?
I posted the following in the Villager’s comment section on an article about Margaret Chin’s election campaign. Although this blog is not intended for campaigning, the issues are important and cannot be ignored in the planning process. Here it is in full:
What troubles me most about Chin is what she’s been doing to Chinatown. Despite broad Chinatown protest, Chin supported a Chinatown business improvement district (BID) which will destabilize small property owners, increasing the likelihood of the selling of Chinatown properties and redevelopment that will lead to gentrification and community displacement especially of the low-income community.
While her association with AAFE and the First American International Bank may be well-intentioned, under city zoning the construction of affordable housing brings 80% market-rate luxury housing, raising real estate values and commercial rents. NYers saw this in Williamsburg — the community was sold an affordable housing program that resulted in wholesale transformation of the neighborhood. The affordable housing non profits can’t back off the city’s Inclusionary Zoning program because affordable housing development is their mission and that’s what they are funded to do. The result of collusion between upscale development and non profit affordable housing is a net loss of affordable housing, deeper gentrification and low-income community displacement.
The close relationship created in the law between those non profits and market-rate developers has placed a destructive wedge between community and the non profits that should be protecting those communities. The fault is the city administration’s, but the city’s gentrification program succeeds by using those non profits. AAFE strongly supported the upzoning of Chrystie Street, Houston Street and Delancey, opening the door to upscale development for the sake of 20% affordable housing, playing the city’s game rather than resisting, protesting, refusing and leveraging.
Supporting NYU development, the demolition and redevelopment of 135 Bowery (for the First American International Bank again), the Chinatown BID and the SoHo BID — intended or not, it’s a constellation of development and upscaling. Chin is a good-hearted, hard-working activist, but she’s been caught in a game that is headed in the wrong direction for community. That’s why CSWA, a Chinatown labor organization, and a Chinatown small property owners group oppose her. That’s an unusual coalition spectrum — property owners and labor. Says a lot to me.
Nasim Taleb has written two books on economic unpredictability. The first The Black Swan contended that certain kinds of phenomena are prone to unpredictable, catastrophic calamities. These include economies. The more recent book looks into phenomena that are resillient to those clamities or even benefit from them.
For urban planning, the lesson is clear: there are measures that open the door to unpredictable catastrophe, others that minimize unpredictability, and underlying relations that are resilient to radical change or that survive change well. For Chinatown these are particularly clear. East Broadway was undisturbed by 9-11; the core of Chinatown, which is less locally supported, took a bad hit. The reasons are familiar. Locality is like a business fundamental. If residents shop locally, then the local economy will thrive.
The danger is losing the local residents or landlords renting to non local services. For planning, it means that the small landlords and big developers require the most attention, anchoring the one and walling out the other; incentivizing local commerce for the local owner.
A post from Amy Chin:
The Chinese bus companies created the curbside bus market from nothing and once they became lucrative, the big old established companies took over the market and the Chinese bus companies are getting shut down one by one. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any stretch of the imagination, but this article really raises some questions.
And what did Chinatown’s non-profit business assistance organizations do to help the Chinese bus companies?