DOT is Out of Touch with Chinatown ‘Gateway’ Art Installation [OP-ED]

Posted on: July 16th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

From Dogman to the new Gateway, the city and its chosen artists don’t seem to get Chinatown.

The DOT unveiled the “Gateways to Chinatown” design last week to a stunned audience at the transportation subcommittee meeting of Community Board 3. The proposed marker, to be installed in the triangle at the confluence of Canal, Baxter, and Walker Streets, is designed by artist Lindy Lee, and more abstract than anyone could have imagined. Not to mention, it’s totally out of touch with the two neighborhoods (and residents) it was meant to honor. Personally it reminds me of stacked tin cans after used for plinking. Anyone looking at the artist’s rendering would be challenged to find any connection whatsoever to Chinatown or Little Italy.

Chinatown and Little Italy are two immigrant communities that have enjoyed a long history of coexistence and friendship, and the piece should reflect that. Meanwhile, I still cannot fathom why the Department of Transportation chose this particular proposal from the 80-plus art submissions for the presentation.

Backlash is already snowballing among Chinatown locals, who are now calling this another example of gentrification, and how the area losing its character. At the community presentation, fellow board members Shirley Ng and Vic Huey of our newly formed nonprofit COMA (Chinatown Organization for Media Awareness) lambasted the unveiled rendering.

Even though Lindy Lee has not yet been selected for the final design, I hope others will attend tonight’s Community Board 1 hearing (1 Centre Street) to offer their input before it causes a fiasco like “Dogman” did last year. It is always better to be proactive than reactive.

The notorious Dogman

Recent Stories

Another Events Space Called SOMMwhere Rises on Ludlow Street

Once an events space, always an event space. That’s the story at 48 Ludlow Street where a new one just opened. What was the Koala Farm studio for a brief moment is now SOMMwhere. It opened last weekend, pitching itself as a “stylish and sustainable escape” for your next shindig. The media advisory is longer […]

Croman’s Amato Opera Building on the Bowery Welcomes ‘Kissaki’ Sushi Next Month

The onetime Amato Opera on the Bowery – renovated and upscaled years ago – will get a high-end sushi restaurant called Kissaki. Eater reported this week that former Gaijin chef-owner Mark Garcia is behind the 26-seat Omakase venture at 319 Bowery. The Omakase menu will cost $160 for twelve pieces of Nigiri and four kaiseki-style […]

This Guy and Girl Stole a Locked Bike from Inside Orchard Street Building [VIDEO]

A man and his girlfriend were caught on camera Thanksgiving night while stealing a locked bike inside an Orchard Street apartment, the victim tells us. Surveillance video from inside 78 Orchard shows a couple enter the building – perhaps buzzed in by a neighbor – then pause for a moment. In a cavalier move, the […]

‘Peasant’ to Stay on Elizabeth Street Under Chef Marc Forgione

So, it turns out that Peasant will remain on Elizabeth Street, after all. But under new ownership. One month ago, we reported that founding chef-owner Frank DeCarlo reportedly decided against renewal. An apparent change of heart unfolded in the interim… The New York Times this week disclosed that DeCarlo sold the business to Marc Forgione, […]

Longtime Orchard Street Laundromat Felled by Rent Hike

A longtime laundromat on lower Orchard Street is set to close by year end. The Orchard Cleaner and Laundromat is counting the days to December 31, after which its lease reportedly expires. A purported rent hike for the renewal is the cause behind this latest closure. However, details regarding the percentage increase are not immediately […]