Nonprofits Pick up the Pieces After the Devastating Chinatown Fire

Posted on: March 10th, 2020 at 5:07 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

City contractors on Sunday began the task of retrieval at 70 Mulberry Street, where a five-alarm fire decimated the 128-old school building.

After weeks of clearing debris and stabilizing weakened floors and ceilings, the site is safe enough to dig for surviving archives from the Museum of Chinese in America, as well as materials salvaged from H. T. Chen Dance Center and the United East Athletic Association. Literally picking up the pieces.

Photo: Karlin Chan

Contractors arrived on schedule, as promised, at 6:30am Sunday morning. While some accessed the UEAA and Chen Dance company’s space through the main staircase, others gained entry via exterior fire escapes adjacent to the second floor of the MOCA archive room. Teams proceeded to methodically remove box after box of archives. Enough to fill two 30-foot trucks to bound for air conditioned facilities for preservation.

Much to the relief of H. T. Chen, the white statue of Buddha survived. The eponymous owner proudly hoisted the sculpture, but was told that his main storage area for stage props and costumes remains inaccessible and they would have to wait longer.

Photo: Karlin Chan

Recent Stories

Grave Marker Fund for Homeless Man Beaten to Death on the Bowery Last Year

It’s been exactly one year since the city was rocked by the fatal bludgeoning of homeless men on the Bowery while they slept. Of the five beaten by 24-year-old attacker Randy Santos, four ultimately died – Chuen Kwok, Anthony Manson, Florencio Moran, and Nazario Vasquez-Villegas. In the days that followed the murders, elected officials and nonprofits held […]

Fridays Under $40: Scared with a Sandwich

In our Friday column, “Fridays Under $40,” Boogie writer Sara Graham again hits the streets to find cheap eats and affordable things to do during these weird times. In this edition, we’re staying inside for under $40. After I returned from a trip to Delaware to see my parents for the first time in almost […]

And then There’s this Apartment with a Tub in the Kitchen

The standard pre-war tenement layout included a bathtub in the kitchen. It made sense, as this was the central location of plumbing. The phenomenon began with the advent of plumbing in city tenements between 1901 and 1905. With bathhouses no longer necessary to wash up, the kitchen became central. The tub here made sense given […]

International Center of Photography to Reopen Next Week

The International Center of Photography is reopening in one week. Sidelined for more than six months (almost immediately after its debut at Essex Crossing), the 40,000 square-foot museum and school is making its galleries and gift shop accessible to the public. On tap are four exhibitions to “address this tumultuous time, marked by the effects of […]

Secondhand Bookstore Comes to Orchard Street

And today, in news out of left field… There is a secondhand bookstore coming to the Lower East Side. Down at 47 Orchard Street, the former home of Anna Sheffield’s eponymous jewelry boutique. The new store is as yet untitled, but will feature used books, vinyl records, and assorted antique. “I have a large collection […]