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

Epstein’s Bar Returned to Hell Square this Weekend After 2-Year Hiatus

Epstein’s Bar fought for its survival; now its revival is here. The nightspot reopened to the public on Friday night. More than two years after aborting operations at the northeast corner of Stanton and Allen Streets – for neighbors, a welcome relief – the longtime watering hole is finally back on track. The interim period was apparently […]

This is the 9-Story Glass Office Tower Replacing the Sunshine Cinema

With the Sunshine Cinema now dark – the theater closed for good last night – we have the first look at the monstrosity to replace it. A nine-story glass tower that boasts 65,000 square-feet of commercial office space and ground-floor retail. The New York Times has the scoop on the first rendering of the project, […]

Michael Shah Spent $19M on this Hell Square Tenement Building

On Wednesday, we reported that Michael Shah (Delshah Capital) picked up the Hell Square tenement at 138 Ludlow Street. With the transaction now public, it appears the controversial landlord paid $19 million for the property. Spending that kind of coin on a pre-war walkup means one thing. The requisite upscaling to luxury living. “Despite its […]

Brooklyn Diamond Coffee Fades from Lafayette Street

It’s no longer proverbial diamond in the rough (of Lafayette Street). Brooklyn Diamond, the upstart coffee shop, shuttered its SoHo java joint earlier this month. Brown butcher paper now hangs in the windows of 234 Lafayette, capping a brief tenure that barely lasted eight months. The original Brooklyn location also appears to be kaput. Both […]

Bowery Landlord Must Fix Unstable Staircase within 2 Weeks, City Says

Controversial landlord Joseph Betesh must fix the destabilized staircase inside 85 Bowery within two weeks, the city stated yesterday after dozens of tenants were evacuated from their homes. As part of the ongoing legal case between Betesh and the tenant association here, the State Supreme Court yesterday afternoon ordered a city inspection of the property. Apparently, the […]