Lower East Side and Chinatown, Rise Up! [OP-ED]

Posted on: October 26th, 2015 at 9:34 am by

extell-rendering-1

The following opinion piece was penned by Sophie DeBenedetto, a representative of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side.

For the last few weeks, the Lower East Side has been buzzing with news of a new era. Many different sectors of the community have been coming out to support the adoption of a community rezoning plan. Hundreds of Latino, African American, Chinese and white residents, workers, students and business owners have taken hours out of their busy days to go door-to-door or stand on the street and distribute flyers, posters and petitions in opposition to discriminatory zoning, high rents and displacement, and in support of the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) rezoning plan that will protect the entire Chinatown and Lower East Side area in Community District 3. Historically, Chinatown has been pitted against the Lower East Side, using racism to divide us and keep us fighting for crumbs. Now, many people see why we need to march together on City Hall, and are eager to participate.

When New York City adopted the major East Village Rezoning in 2008, Chinatown and [parts of] the Lower East Side were intentionally excluded. The wealthier, white areas of the East Village were afforded height restrictions and zoning protections. As a result, the high-rise, luxury development was pushed into our community, including the 80-story Extell tower with a 13-story “poor door.” Recently, NYC Department of City Planning refused to adopt the CWG rezoning plan, saying it’s too “far-fetched” to give Chinatown and the Lower East Side equal protection to the East Village.

Last month, close to a thousand residents, workers, students, small business owners, and other concerned individuals from Chinatown, the Lower East Side and across the city marched to City Hall to demand that Mayor de Blasio protect our community from displacement. We delivered a letter to him, requesting that he follow through on his pledge to end the “Tale of Two Cities.” As of today, the Mayor has not responded.

On October 28, we are marching to let the Mayor know that we are continuing to fight until we get the equal protection we should have.

We are calling on all workers, tenants, small business owners, students, teachers, senior citizens and others concerned with the future of our city to take 2 hours on Wednesday and do something to benefit ourselves. March with us to demand adoption of the rezoning plan that will curb the rising property taxes, the skyrocketing rents, and the massive displacement.

Join us n October 28, 3:30pm in front of 227 Cherry Street to let Mayor de Blasio know, we cannot wait any longer.

Recent Stories

Block Party at The Cast on Orchard Street Broken up with Aggressive Arrest [VIDEO]

An afternoon of music on Orchard Street was interrupted yesterday evening with two aggressive arrests. Rock-n-roll leather shop, The Cast, hosted its annual street party for “Make Music New York” that included performances by eight bands on Orchard Street, between Grand and Broome. The event began at noon, but by dusk, it was broken up, albeit temporarily, by police […]

New 50-Foot ‘STIK’ Figure Appears on Allen Street

With the COST and Dain collaboration no longer in play at Allen and Delancey Streets, another revered street artist is at bat. UK-based STIK has been on the block since Tuesday to impart a token stick figure to the west-facing exterior of 55 Delancey. The mural was apparently commissioned by Fat Free Art Gallery (not The […]

Rivington House Co-Owner Picks up Pair of Ludlow Tenements for $15.5M

Last week, we learned that the corner tenement at 101 Stanton Street (at Ludlow) changed hands for $12.9 million. It was sold by Arwen Properties/Luthien Group to a small consortium of real estate firms. Now, it appears the company simultaneously cashed out the two adjacent properties on Ludlow Street, too. While prior rumors of sale proved […]

Rumor: Berkli Parc Closing Down on Saturday After 7 Years at Allen and Delancey [Updated]

Berkli Parc is reportedly ending operations this weekend after nearly seven years at the corner of Allen and Delancey Streets. We are told that the landlord bought out the remainder of the cafe’s lease, and that a fire sale is planned for Saturday. Circumstances around the closure aren’t confirmed, but we did hear unverified allegations […]

Watch Mayor de Blasio’s Reaction to Rivington House Accusations at Town Hall Last Night [VIDEO]

It was open season on Mayor de Blasio during last night’s “sold out” town hall assembly. Lower East Siders peppered Hizzoner with a barrage of questions and grievances related to myriad hyperlocal concerns. Councilwoman Margaret Chin served as moderator. And while many in the room saw opportunity for clarity, political challengers with a horse in […]