With Dining Room Shuttered, Jing Fong Demolition Already Underway
Iconic Chinatown banquet hall, Jing Fong, served its last customers Sunday as lines stretched down the block with regulars wanting to have a final Dim Sum lunch there before it closed the dining room. No sooner did service end than interior demolition began.
Jing Fong, a neighborhood staple for the last 43 years, folded under the financial pressures of COVID-19, and the ongoing ban on indoor dining. The lack of government action to help small businesses didn’t help, either. The plan was to keep the kitchen running to fulfill takeout orders, but we’re hearing that allegedly ceases at month’s end.
Meanwhile, word on the street is that a group of investors is already interested in at least part of the space. Tuesday morning, work crews showed up to take measurements, and by yesterday, interior demolition and partitioning had begun. (No work permits are on file with Department of Buildings.)
It appears to be a subdividing job. Makes sense. Though a smaller scale restaurant may have a better chance of survival, losing the dining room where locals met, interacted and held functions for decades is a big hit to the community.
Last week Local 318 and waitstaff held a demonstration at the East West Bank, the institution run by the same landlord – the Chu family. There were demands to reinstate the dining room, yet to no avail.
Chu is one of the largest landlords in Chinatown, with a portfolio that includes the adjacent hotel at 50 Bowery. He’s also the co-chair of the board of directors of the Museum of Chinese in America.
In a statement, the Chu family noted their willingness to work with Jong Fong – the restaurant had not paid rent for a year – and how the restaurant ceased because they felt it was no longer sustainable.