Report: ‘Omens of Upheaval’ Threaten to Destroy Chinatown

Posted on: February 15th, 2017 at 5:18 am by
Pell Street in Chinatown

Pell Street in Chinatown

The subject of gentrification in Chinatown is hitting a tipping point. One need only attend a Community Board 3 meeting to witness the struggle. Residents challenging the succession of uptown style establishments at the expense of more homegrown mom and pops.

Now, Steve Cuozzo at the New York Post talks about the “omens of upheaval” that threaten Chinatown’s longstanding charm.

50bowery-hotel-1

Here are a few excerpts. Note the theme park comment.

Creeping in are a new breed of uptown-style restaurants where few Chinese faces are seen, repetitive retail stores — and bank branches. If Industrial and Commercial Bank of China at Canal and Mulberry streets sounds familiar, you might have read that it’s the largest office tenant at Trump Tower.

Chinatown’s eateries always drew a mix of the neighborhood’s 40,000 mostly low-income residents and Chinese and non-Chinese celebrants from elsewhere. Now, for the first time, it’s sprouted a colony of adjacent venues designed mainly for thrill-seekers from beyond, for whom the nabe might be a Chinatown theme park.

Atmospheric, curving Doyers Street is also home to a gentrified, cleaned-up version of eternally grungy Nom Wah Tea Parlor. Mixology-driven cocktail haven Apothoke draws boozing suburbanites to the site of a long-ago opium den.

When our friendly waiter at the fine new Chinese Tuxedo said of our noodles-and-dumplings order, “Let’s do it, guys,” I knew I wasn’t in the Chinatown I remember. The thumping bass soundtrack belonged more in clubland than on Doyers Street. The chef’s a Scotsman by way of Australia.

And of course, there is a business improvement district operating behind the scenes. We all know the goal of these organizations; just look what the Lower East Side Partnership did to Hell Square.

chinese-tuxedo-historic

Recent Stories

Danny the Steward of Orchard Street Faces Eviction, Pleads for Help

While Nathan might be the mayor of upper Orchard Street, south of the Delancey divide, that title belongs to a bearded man named Danny Coffey. You’ve definitely crossed paths with him, forever patrolling the block between Grand and Broome Streets, often whistling loudly to himself. Danny is now in a tough spot and seeks community […]

190 Bowery Scores ‘Jumbo Pop-Up’ Tenant with Totokaelo Emporium

The Germania Bank Building on the Bowery finally scored a ground-floor retail occupant, albeit on a temporary basis. Owner Aby Rosen signed a lease with fashion emporium Totokaelo to take 8,918 square-feet. It won’t be here for long, though, with a stated expiration of March 2018, according to the New York Post. “I’m optimistic that this short-term […]

Congee Bowery Converted to ‘Hot Pot Village’; Neighbors Worry About Unpermitted Crane

The twelve-year-old Congee Bowery restaurant closed back in April for a concept tune-up. Now, three months later, the establishment is nearly ready to reopen, albeit delayed and with a new identity. Congee Bowery ditched the “traditional Chinese” fare and is henceforth Hot Pot Village. Menu and relaunch are still up in the air. In the meantime, […]

Extra Butter LES Opens Temporary Store While Renovating its Orchard Street HQ

Extra Butter, the four-year-old Lower East Side sneaker shop, is currently in a transition phase. Its headquarters is now under the knife for a series of store renovations. During this build-out period, though, the movie-themed streetwear brand already secured a Plan B. Last week, ownership moved into the smaller space next door at 125 Orchard […]

New Museum Announces Return of ‘IdeasCity Festival’ in September

The fourth edition of the New Museum’s “IdeasCity New York” is just around the corner. As in prior years, the museum’s civic platform for conversation will set the stage, entwined with the artistc and cultural interpretation of the future of cities. Wrapping up its two-year cycle of global residencies taking place in Detroit, Athens, and […]