Unequal Opportunity for Mott Street ‘Open Restaurants’ [OP-ED]

Posted on: August 20th, 2020 at 5:09 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

New York City rolled out the “Open Restaurant” initiative last month as a lifeline for struggling restaurants during the ongoing ban on inside dining.

While many restaurants along Mott Street have participated in the program, some are excluded due to the fire lane on the west side of the street. Yet, curiously, these restrictions don’t seem to apply to the lower section of Mott from Mosco south to the Bowery. An area for which the Chinatown BID secured seating booths along both sides of the street, courtesy of the Rockwell group, which installed them this month with much fanfare and praise from Councilwoman Margaret Chin.

Strangely, Chin was opposed to converting the entire length of Mott, south of Canal, as part of the initiative. Moreover, according to staffer Ian Chan, she is opposed to an effort led by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association to close the traditional core of Chinatown for an “Open Streets” program running Fridays through Sundays, 5:00pm to 10:00pm.  Having participated in the canvassing of businesses within the proposed street closures, I found 95% of businesses were on board with the proposal.

The three-term Chin, who hasn’t been seen around Chinatown since February, has yet to state a specific reason for her opposition. In my humble opinion, every business deserves an equal chance at surviving this pandemic and electeds have a duty to facilitate that.

But for now, it would seem it’s still a tale of two cities on Mott street.

Photo: Karlin Chan

Recent Stories

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Returns from COVID-19 Sidelines

All the world’s a stage… To honor what would be the Bard’s 457th birthday, the ever-so-popular Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is back for a two night affair. Being the first performance from the troupe since the pandemic sidelined it in 2020, the event promises evenings filled with scenes, songs, sonnets, and soliloquies from the […]

Pedestrian Bridge Decay in Corlears Hook Park?

Strange things afoot. For a few days in mid-March, the pedestrian bridge connecting Corlears Hook Park to the East River greenway was closed off. No explanation; just cones and netting. Neighbors claimed that the bridge itself was crumbling, and that concrete debris fell onto the FDR roadway below. However, after a few days closed to […]

Opposition Mounts Against Public Hotel Garden Revamp on Chrystie Street

The 28-story Public Hotel hopes to reconfigure its garden area along Chrystie Street. Neighbors are not having it. Posters in the immediate vicinity display the opposition to the liquor license modification. Claiming that the new garden format would be an “open air eating and drinking playground for the rich.” According to materials submitted to the […]

Developer to Close Lands End II Parking Lot by Month End for New 700-Foot Towers

Not two months after the Appellate Court overturned community lawsuits stopping the Two Bridges mega-developments, one of said projects is now moving forward. Tenants of the Lands End II housing complex were informed, via letter, that the rear parking lot will close by the end of April to make way for the 700-foot megatowers by […]

An Art Show to Benefit the Educational Alliance

A new art exhibit to support the Educational Alliance and its Manny Cantor Center kicks off this weekend. Drawing inspiration from the recently-deposed Hester Street Fair, “CONTINUE TO BE” is a celebratory show welcoming the warmth and hope of springtime in the city, featuring both new and old work from local photographers who have documented life […]