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

Posted on: October 26th, 2015 at 9:34 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

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

Clayton’s Corner: Martha Cooper to Middle Collegiate

Clayton Patterson sent his latest dispatch of imagery from his recent neighborhood walkabouts. The latest Clayton’s Corner is here. Legendary graffiti photographer, Martha Cooper, standing beside a payphone in Astor Place that features one of her iconic images. NY PopsUp spent last weekend at the International Center of Photography on Essex Street. It drew crowds […]

Upside Pizza Slinging Slices in Little Italy

Upside Pizza is now serving at the former home of Pomodoro in Little Italy. It opened on Spring Street this past Wednesday. Founder Noam Grossman and partners Eli and Oren Halali (behind 2 Brothers and Taqueria Diana) had been renovating 51 Spring Street since the fall. The pizza parlor opted for a gut renovation, resulting […]

Jing Fong Workers Protest Dining Room Closure and Rumored Shutdown

Despite the brisk weather, several dozen union members and Jing Fong employees rallied Tuesday morning in front of the East West Bank on Centre Street to save save the iconic dim sum restaurant. Advocates called on the Chu family, which owns the Elizabeth Street property (and the aforementioned bank), to stop killing Chinatown and to keep […]

Forever Stalled Delancey Street Condo Tower is Finally Rising

Stop the press – there is actual real world progress to report on a long-stalled development at the east end of Delancey Street. The 12-story “boutique condo” at the corner of Delancey and Pitt Streets has seen some serious progress in recent months, after spending most of its life cycle as a stalled steel skeleton. […]

Asian Man Pummeled Outside East Broadway Station in Latest Biased Attack

An Asian man was assaulted in an unprovoked attack outside the East Broadway subway station Tuesday night, adding to a recent spate of biased assaults against Asians across the city. Cops said the 56-year-old victim was entering the F train station – the Rutgers Street entrance by Woo’s Wonton King – at about 8:50pm when […]