Jing Fong Permanently Closes its Chinatown Banquet Hall After 43 Years on Elizabeth Street

Posted on: February 20th, 2021 at 8:21 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

Chinatown locals welcomed the news of iconic Pearl River Mart finding a new home, but another Chinatown mainstay is downsizing in a major way.

Late yesterday afternoon, Jing Fong restaurant took the community by surprise with an announcement that its indoor dining floor is permanently closing down March 7. It will, however, continue service from the second-floor kitchen for the patio, takeout, and delivery “until further notice.”

Jing Fong, a neighborhood staple and tourist attraction since 1978, has operated in the same location for decades and was the setting for many a wedding. But its importance to Chinatown goes well beyond. As the last remaining large scale venue able to accommodate parties or functions up to 900 persons, its loss will drive another proverbial nail into the coffin.

Gone will be long lines of visitors and locals waiting for a table to enjoy Dim Sum, and the tourist dollars spent in Chinatown. Gone also will be a venue for the many fundraising functions held by CBO’s and traditional family associations during Chinese festivals and holidays.

The ongoing pandemic has crippled Chinatown businesses, yes; but the Jing Fong closure is by far the biggest loss to date. Ongoing indoor dining restrictions and limited inside seating available, the banquet hall was hard-pressed to pay rent or meet payrolls. And without adequate Government response to help small business and landlords, many more face the same fate.

Jing Fong will undoubtedly look to maintain a presence in Chinatown, yet seems unlikely they’ll find a home comparable to its current cavernous space.  Meanwhile, will promised aid from Washington in it’s new proposed round of stimulus package actually reach the small businesses the original package last year intended or will it get swallowed up by big business again?

Recent Stories

Stringer Punts on East Side Coastal Resilience Contract

For advocates of East River Park, a brief reprieve. City Comptroller, and former mayoral candidate Scott Stringer did not sign the $1.2 billion construction contract with IPC Resiliency Partners that would kickstart city funding for the East Side Coastal Resilience project. It apparently boils down to missing info and the review period having elapsed. “As […]

Restless Soul: Christopher Paul Stelling at Rockwood Music Hall

Christopher Paul Stelling lived in New York City for a few years. He inhabits a restless soul, however. Originally from Daytona Beach, Florida, the artist has lived in Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, and currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. He spends a lot of time on the road, too, except that last year he had no […]

Wegmans Market to Open at Former Astor Place Kmart

Something rather unexpected. Not two weeks after Kmart terminated its presence in Astor Place, its replacement is announced. From left field – Wegmans is to open its first Manhattan grocery at this location. The well-regarded, Rochester-based chain already maintains a store in Brooklyn. Curb your enthusiasm, though, as the new Wegmans won’t open at 770 […]

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Wraps its Summer Season

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is wrapping up its latest affair with a lesser known production from the Bard’s canon. Continuing the Lower East Side tradition, the Drilling Company is back at the Clemente for three final performances this week – to perform Two Noble Kinsmen. For this iteration, director Hamilton Clancy has taken the […]

A Grave Marker for a Homeless Man Bludgeoned to Death on the Bowery

It’s been nearly two years 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. Chuen Kwok was a vulnerable senior who, after the passing […]