It’s Enough with the Film Crews in Chinatown [OP-ED]

Posted on: February 18th, 2020 at 5:07 am by

Photos: Karlin Chan

For Chinatown, it’s a perfect storm.

At a time when area businesses are reeling from the “Double-Whammy” of closed streets (due to the fire at 70 Mulberry) and tourists avoiding the area fearing Coronavirus, film productions are also taking away curbside parking. More than four blocks’ worth last Friday.

Chinatown stores have long suffered a loss of foot traffic, in part, to placard abuse stealing spots. The city’s supposed crackdown last year fizzled out days after the announcement. Therefore, we do not need a film crew subtracting 50-plus spaces used by customers and stores alike.

I’ve long advocated against film productions in Chinatown, mainly because of the disruption it brings to businesses and residents alike. And not to mention, the usual stereotyped representations of the area – cheesy red lanterns, seedy gambling dens, houses of ill repute, gangsters chopping rivals down, and human trafficking of illegal aliens.

This fictional viewpoint presents a fantasy that viewers accept as reality, which further fuels xenophobia and racism. In fact, Chinatown is a vibrant but struggling immigrant community with hard working residents and deserves to be portrayed accurately.

The mayor has, in the meantime, vowed to help rebuild 70 Mulberry and has spoken to quell fears of Coronavirus. Yet, I still feel he and other district electeds should impose a moratorium on film productions in the area until these hard times pass. For now, though, the city hasn’t shown any love for Chinatown this Valentines season.

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