Chinatown Mobilizes to Oppose 40-Story Jail Tower on Centre Street

Posted on: September 26th, 2018 at 5:03 am by

Photo: New York City

The natives are certainly restless. In Chinatown, that is.

Area activist Karlin Chan organized a grassroots rally for tomorrow to protest the plan to construct a 40-story jail tower at 80 Centre Street. The impetus is owed largely to a purported lack of transparency regarding the proposal, especially during the prior Town Halls dedicated to the matter, and coincides with City Hall’s same day “scoping hearing.”

As previously reported, Mayor de Blasio is committed to closing Rikers Island and relocating operations to a decentralized “community-based” jail system over the next decade. His so-called “roadmap to closing Rikers” would construct new jail facilities throughout the five boroughs. Here in Chinatown, the city has chosen 80 Centre Street, which would see a 430-foot tower with roughly 1,500 beds for the incarcerated, plus a day room, activity room, counseling services, and potentially outdoor space. The new development would also pull double duty with offices for the Manhattan DA’s office.

“The mayor’s office has not been forthcoming with answers to residents’ concerns,” Karlin Chan told us in an email. “Chinatown’s ‘old guard’ has been angered and I have organized this protest rally. Residents of Chinatown, Tribeca, Little Italy, the LES & Soho have no choice but to take to the streets.”

Perhaps in response to this community mobilization, Councilwoman Chin issued the following demand letter of her own to de Blasio. Is this damage control?

CM Margaret Chin Letter on Chinatown Jail by BoweryBoogie on Scribd

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