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					                                                                                                                                                                                        America’s Chinatown:
                                                                                                                                                                                        A Community Plan
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                                                                                                                                                                                         Convened by
                                                                                                                                                                                         Asian Americans for Equality
                                                                                                                                                                                         Report Prepared by
                                                                                                                                                                                         Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                         April 2004
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       America’s Chinatown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1         Historic Chinatown
                                                                                                                                          Spr Univ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The Eight                                                                  2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Arts and Architecture




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4         The Waterfront

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                                                           Vesey St                                                                                   an                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5         Linkages




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  6         Affordable Housing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Map: gridnyc.com

                                                    E        Fulton St      4

Site of the former

                                                                                                     A C
World Trade Center                                                          5
                                                                                                                                                  2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               7         Family Neighborhood

                                                                                                             J                                    3                                 Fu
                                                                                                                                                                                            n   St                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                8         Business Districts
                                                    Cortlandt St                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Anchors and Magnets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    South Street Seaport
           Eight Initiatives at a Glance             . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii
TABLE OF   Steering Committee Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv
CONTENTS   National Advisory Board Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v
           The Vision      .......................................... 1
           The Eight Initiatives
               Historic Chinatown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
               Arts and Architecture             . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
               Jobs     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
               The Waterfront . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
               Linkages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
               Affordable Housing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
               Family Neighborhood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
               Business Districts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
           Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
           Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
           List of RCI Meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
                                                                                   Table of Contents                 i
The Eight Initiatives
At a Glance
1       Historic Chinatown
Anchoring Chinatown
                                                            page 5   3       Jobs
                                                                     Anchoring Chinatown
                                                                                                                                page 17
A pedestrian destination                                             Pacific Rim office district
       Time-of-day street closures for outdoor dining and sales               Incentive zoning on Canal and Bowery
       Ambient lighting to create a bright place                              Chinatown Trade Center, hotel
Upscale dining and shopping                                          Preserved manufacturing
       Hong Kong department store                                           Fashion/garment sector linkages
       Culinary Institute, floating catering hall, cafes                    Zoning protections
Heritage tourism                                                     Job mobility and training
       Heritage trail                                                      Community college on a "Learning Campus"
       Calendar of small events                                            Focus on hospitality, health, construction sectors
2       Arts and Architecture
Anchoring Chinatown
                                                           page 11   4       The Waterfront
                                                                     Opening Chinatown
                                                                                                                                page 23
Cultural center                                                      A multicultural park
        Chatham Square as iconic location                                   A 10-acre park on site of DOS repair facility
        Performing arts, education, visual arts                             Involve community in design
Cultural attractions and events                                      Economic development
        Cultural district, not just a cultural center                      Floating and park pavilions
        Priority on MoCA and more                                          Attractions, also to provide revenue for the park
Fusion of East/West design                                           A garden experience
       Contemporary and traditional design                                  Family park with sequence of spaces
       The “beauty of chaos”                                                Joined to East River Park and South Street Seaport
ii      America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
5       Linkages
Opening Chinatown
                                                        page 27   7       Family Neighborhood
                                                                  Unifying the Lower East Side/Chinatown
                                                                                                                            page 37
Bowery/Water alignment                                            Greening the neighborhood
      Gateway road to Lower Manhattan                                    Tree planting
      Signposts and wayfinding for tourists/workers                      Columbus Park and other park improvements
A new Chatham Square                                              The “commons” at Sara Roosevelt Park
       A larger Kim Lau Square, reopened Park Row                        Make the park accessible
       Make this the meeting place of Chinatown                          Ice skating, café, new playground and more
An “Avenue of the Immigrants”                                     Better access and services
       A landscaped boulevard for Allen/Pike Streets                      Buses on Grand/Broome, and to the waterfront
       Partner with Tenement Museum and others                            A "virtual town hall" for Chinatown service providers
6       Affordable Housing
Unifying the Lower East Side/Chinatown
                                                        page 33   8       Business Districts
                                                                  Unifying the Lower East Side/Chinatown
                                                                                                                            page 43
Better housing for existing tenants                               A clean Chinatown
        Housing Trust Fund for home-ownership and rehab                   Build on the Shining Chinatown campaign
        Community Court to improve enforcement                            Reign in vendor free-for-all
New mixed-income housing                                          Night Market
      Inclusionary housing rules                                         As a youth-oriented attraction
      Local partnerships and sponsors                                    For existing merchants, not vendors
Contextual and infill development                                 “Taste of a BID”
       Preserve narrow tenement blocks                                    Experiment with BID services
       Taller buildings facing parks and wide streets                     Let each area decide for itself
                                                                                                            The Eight Initiatives     iii
John Casalinuovo     Member, Little Italy Neighborhood Association   Robert Lee       Executive Director, Asian American Arts Centre
Danny Chen           Member, Civic Center Residents Coalition        Andy Liu         Vice President, Asian American Business
                     and Chatham Green Resident                                       Network Corporation
David Chen           Executive Director, Chinese-American            Edward Ma        President, Asian American Community
                     Planning Council                                                 Consultation Association
H.T. Chen            Executive Director, H.T. Chen & Dancers, Co.    James Melendez   Executive Director, Chinatown Manpower
Peter Cheng          Executive Director, Indochina Sino-American
                     Community Center                                Frank Modica     Executive Director, Hamilton-Madison Houses
Chris Cho            President, Chinese Community Social Service &   Stanley Moy      Commander, The American Legion
                     Health Council
                                                                     Jimmy Mui        President-advisor, Moy Shee Family Association
Eddy Eng             Director of BID operations, NYC Department of
                     Small Business Services                         Victor J. Papa   Director, Immigrant Social Services
Kevin Chu            Business Developer, Garment Industry            Tammy To         Director of Constituent Affairs, Office of
                     Development Corporation                                          Councilmember Alan Gerson, District 1
Paul Gong            President, Asian American Youth Center          Michael Zisser   Executive Director, University Settlement Society
Chung Wha Hong       Advocacy Director, New York Immigration
Margaret Chin        Deputy Executive Director, Asian Americans
                     for Equality
Teddy Lai            Executive Director, Greater Blouse, Skirt &
                     Undergarment Association
Bill Lam             President, Longines Realty and Chinese-
                     American Real Estate Association
Frank Lang           Director, Downtown Manhattan Community
                     Development Corporation
iv     America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
Derrick D. Cephas   Partner, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft             Michael Schill      Director, Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban
Alex Chu            Chairman and CEO, Eastbank                                             Policy, NYU School of Law
Stacey H. Stewart   President and CEO, Fannie Mae Foundation           Ron Shiffman        Director Emeritus, Pratt Institute Center for
                                                                                           Community and Environmental Development
Bill Frey           Senior Vice President, Enterprise Foundation
                                                                       David Sweeney       CEO, Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design
Marilyn G. Gelber   Executive Director, Independence Community
                    Foundation                                         Stephen A. Warnke   Partner, Kalkines, Arky, Zall and Bernstein
Mark Ginsberg       Partner, Curtis & Ginsberg, Architects             Kathryn Wylde       President and CEO, New York City Partnership &
                                                                                           Chamber of Commerce
Lisa Hasegawa       Executive Director, National Coalition for Asian
                    Pacific American Community Development
Gary Hattem         President, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
Jack Krauskopf      Chief Program Officer, 9-11 United Services
Betty Lee Sung      Chairwoman, Asian American/Asian Research
                    Institute, CUNY
Nelson Louis        Executive Officer, Ong Family Foundation
Margie McHugh       Executive Director, New York Immigration
Cao O               Executive Director, Asian American Federation of
                    New York
Harry Oster         Vice President, Astoria Federal Savings Bank
Jim Park            Vice President, Freddie Mac
Nicolas Retsinas    Director, Joint Center for Housing Studies,
                    Harvard University
                                                                          Steering Committee and National Advisory Board Members             v
                                       America’s Chinatown represents a vision                than 100-year-old cultural heritage; and a dynamic
                                                                                              street life. With the RCI plan, Chinatown, more
                                       of a meeting place between East and West
                                                                                              than ever, is in a position to advance both the
                                       integral to a revitalized Lower Manhattan, and
                                                                                              Mayor’s and Governor’s visions for Lower
America’s Chinatown
                                       which Chinese-Americans of all generations             Manhattan, which emphasize connectivity, cultural
THE VISION                             and backgrounds call home.                             magnets, waterfront access, tourism, parks,
                                                                                              housing, and improved shopping.
                                       New York’s Chinatown is poised for a dramatic          With 80,000 residents, New York’s Chinatown is
                                       transformation into America’s Chinatown, where the     the largest Chinatown in the Western Hemisphere.
                                       international flow of people, capital, and ideas are   Relying on population and immigration alone,
                                       directed towards fostering greater innovation and      however, is insufficient for maintaining
                                       integration. In America’s Chinatown, new centers of    Chinatown’s distinction. Public sector investments
                                       culture, education, and fashion production propel      in cultural and economic development and
                                       the economy forward into the 21st Century; new         connectivity are essential for adding to the synergy
                                       physical connections draw millions of commuters        between entrepreneurial arts groups and
                                       and tourists through the gateway of Lower              immigrant businesses and for expanding linkages
                                       Manhattan; American and Asian commerce                 between the local and global economies. These, in
                                       converges in a modern office district; and multi-      turn, increase opportunities for the economic
                                       generations of Chinese-Americans enjoy quality         mobility and integration of Chinese immigrants
                                       housing and new amenities, the most magnificent        into the civic and cultural life of the city.
                                       of which lies at the waterfront, where stunning
RCI aims to build on the assets of a                                                          Achieving these ambitious goals for America’s
                                       views inspire the belief that anything is possible.
vibrant, live/work community.                                                                 Chinatown is possible. Through the Rebuild
                                       Chinatown is home to 55 percent of all Lower           Chinatown Initiative (RCI), there is a unified
                                       Manhattan residents; thus, the revitalization of       community perspective and plan to attract and
                                       Chinatown is inextricably linked to Lower              direct public and private investment towards
                                       Manhattan’s future vitality as a global center of      clearly-defined goals and solutions that will
                                       culture and commerce. Already, Chinatown has           generate economic prosperity and maintain the
                                       the ingredients for success: proximity to major        authenticity of an ethnic neighborhood that
                                       transportation lines; a diverse economic base of       distinguishes New York’s Chinatown from
                                       professional services, retail, wholesale, and          all others.
                                       manufacturing; nearly $6 billion in capital; a more
                                                                                                                                The Vision       1
                                                   The Process                                           affected by and part of the solution. Finally, due to
                                                                                                         language and cultural barriers, Chinatown appears
                                                   This vision is based on two years of listening and
                                                                                                         divided and impenetrable to most political leaders,
                                                   learning, under the umbrella of the Rebuild
                                                                                                         making it harder for the community to press its
                                                   Chinatown Initiative (RCI).
                                                                                                         case unless it is unified and its plan is coherent.
                                                   RCI was launched by Asian Americans for Equality
                                                                                                         In the first year of RCI, over 3,000 residents and
                                                   (AAFE), immediately following the September 11th
                                                                                                         stakeholders were engaged in an exhaustive
1900                                                         tragedy at the World Trade Center.
                                                                                                         outreach effort entailing focus groups, over 100
                                                             Practically overnight, unemployment in
                                                                                                         interviews with leaders, large town-hall meetings,
                                                             Chinatown was higher than in the rest
                                                                                                         informational booths at community fairs, and
                                                             of the city; the garment industry was
                1950                                                                                     random surveys. In the past year, a Steering
                                                             declining; New Yorkers were bullish
                                                                                                         Committee of 30 community leaders participated
Chinatown has grown from                                     about Asia Town in Flushing, Queens;
a small enclave to a large
                                                                                                         in a series of topical workshops to generate this
                                                             many new immigrants were skipping
neighborhood.                                                                                            plan. Additional players were invited, varying by
                                                             Chinatown for Sunset Park, Brooklyn;
                                      2000                                                               topic (e.g., pedestrians, shopping, zoning, etc.).
                                                   the overflow of hipsters from the East Village was
                                                                                                         A panel of National Advisors provided further
                                                   exasperating gentrification; tourism in Lower
                                                                                                         guidance. Funding was provided by the Freddie
                                                   Manhattan came to a halt; police and security were
Chinatown Facts at a Glance:                                                                             Mac Corporation, Deutsche Bank, Carnegie
                                                   usurping roads, parkland and parking; and the
• One of the city’s top tourist, dining and                                                              Corporation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
  cultural attractions for over 100 years,         garbage and quality life was worse. Of course,
  providing a destination on par with the
                                                   some of these problems go back decades. But as
  Statue of Liberty and Times Square.                                                                    The Plan
                                                   with the aftermath of an earthquake, new, old and
• Home to 80,000 residents, of whom 60,000
  are Chinese-American and 50,000 are              some fundamental cracks in the structure were         The resulting America’s Chinatown Plan is about
  immigrants.                                      now apparent.                                         linking: resources, issues, vision and short-term
• An economic hub with 40,000 workers                                                                    implementation. It directly corresponds to the
  employed by 4,000 businesses, over 1             AAFE recognized the need to create a unified          Mayor’s plan for Lower Manhattan, which
  million square feet of stores and restaurants,
  and $6 billion deposited in 25 banks.
                                                   community perspective and plan, especially if         emphasizes connectivity, cultural magnets, anchor
                                                   Chinatown hoped to be a constructive part of the      office development, waterfront access, parks,
• A growing community with outerborough
  satellites and a 500,000-strong metro            national, State and City effort to revitalize Lower   housing, neighborhood amenities, and improved
  Chinese-American population – ready to take      Manhattan. On the one hand, Chinatown is just
  on bigger challenges.                                                                                  shopping. It would revitalize Chinatown, to make
                                                   far enough from Ground Zero to be peripheral to       it an essential component of the Mayor and
                                                   most spending and priorities. On the other hand,
                                                   Chinatown is close enough to be significantly
2        America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                         Governor’s vision of Lower Manhattan as a global        managers, arts organizations, etc. An encyclopedic
                                         office hub, creative center and livable                 technical report summarizes all of the available
                                         neighborhood.                                           research on Chinatown from the past 30 years, and
                                                                                                 relates this research to every idea generated
                                         The America’s Chinatown Plan is organized around
                                                                                                 through those studies and by RCI. (Note that the
                                         three goals and eight initiatives.
                                                                                                 data referenced in this report is in that technical
                                         The first goal is to create a hub where East and        report.) A prior report summarizes the first year of
                                         West culture and commerce meet. This would be           outreach, which was conducted by Mourad
                                         accomplished through: (1) a marketplace                 Warnke Associates.
                                         environment that people come back to enjoy; (2) a
                                                                                                 But any presentation of the plan’s elements would
                                         cultural district also featuring cutting edge design;
                                                                                                 fail to make clear exactly how integrated the goals
                                         and (3) a “Pacific Rim” office center leveraging the
                                                                                                 and strategies are. The excitement of a destination
                                         25 Chinatown banks currently holding over $6
                                                                                                 and unique services will encourage second-
                                         billion in deposits.
                                                                                                 generation Chinese to choose Manhattan’s
                                         The second goal is to open up Chinatown – no            Chinatown over the suburbs. The authenticity of a
                                         longer an enclave. This would feature: (4)              residential neighborhood will keep historic
                                         waterfront parks, promenades, attractions and           Chinatown from becoming a theme park. The
                                         linkages; and (5) stronger pedestrian, transit,         waterfront and stronger ties to Lower Manhattan
                                         business and educational linkages to Lower              are key to the re-branding of Chinatown as a
                                         Manhattan.                                              quality place to live. A stronger, revitalized
                                                                                                 Chinatown can better contribute to the Mayor’s
                                         The third goal is to assure Chinatown’s abiding         goal to make Lower Manhattan an international
                                         affordability and authenticity as an ethnic             crossroads.
                                         community. This would involve: (6) an invigorated
                                         mixed-income housing market; (7) parks and              The Next Steps
                                         amenities; and (8) attending to the basics of safety,
                                                                                                 Three goals, eight initiatives, and many more
                                         services and sanitation.
                                                                                                 strategies: flexible coordination is the essential
                                         The remainder of this report describes the plan in      glue to make sure that implementation goes
RCI has involved town hall meetings,     full. A separate PowerPoint presentation allows for     forward in a cost-effective and meaningful way.
surveys, focus groups, 100 stakeholder
interviews, a dozen topical workshops,
                                         focusing on the concerns of different implementers      RCI foresees that different groups or stakeholders
and more, generating over 3,000          and constituencies, such as transportation
participants to date.
                                                                                                                                 The Vision            3
                                                       and affordable housing. Third, a business and
                                                       cultural improvement district should be promoted
                                                       where wanted by merchants and property owners.
                                                       The goals are large, the vision is sweeping.
                                                       The paradigm would no longer be Manhattan’s
                                                       Chinatown in relation to Flushing and Sunset Park;
                                                       but New York City’s Chinatowns in relation to
                                                       those of San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver.
                                                       This plan marries small steps with big ideas to
                                                       preserve Chinatown’s many strengths, while
The America’s Chinatown
vision is to make
                                                       fostering new ties between this vibrant immigrant
Manhattan’s Chinatown a                                community and Lower Manhattan, the New York
cultural and business center
of exchange, on par with                               region, and Pacific Rim.
San Francisco and
will take the lead on different elements. This
plan is not the province of any one group or
constituency, though AAFE/RCI played the
leadership role in making the plan, and will
hopefully play a similar role in making it real
through advocacy, coordination, fundraising and
technical assistance.
In this context, three major implementation
elements are called for. First, a local development
corporation (LDC) should be formed as a
public/private partnership to spur projects like the
night market, waterfront park and office center.
Second, special zoning should spur design quality
4        America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                               For over one hundred years, Mott and the                 This chapter focuses on the Core’s niche as a multi-
                                               adjoining streets south of Canal Street have been        cultural dining and shopping destination. The plan
                                               the heart of Chinatown. The most famous                  is to create a pedestrian-friendly place where
                                               restaurants are located here. So too are the             people come over and over again for the
Anchoring Chinatown
                                               clothing, pharmaceutical, and other stores and           experience of place.
HISTORIC                                       services that cater to the region’s Chinese-
                                               Americans. Major institutions include the Chinese        Placemaking
                                               Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) and
CHINATOWN                                      Museum of Chinese in the Americas (MoCA).
                                                                                                        Historic Chinatown presents an opportunity to
                                                                                                        create a great marketplace akin to those of East
                                               Much of the real estate is owned by family
                                                                                                        Asia. A marketplace is all about pedestrians, not
                                               associations that still make this their base.
• A pedestrian destination                                                                              automobiles. And Historic Chinatown’s dense
• Upscale dining and shopping                  Growth in the Chinese-American population                warren of narrow streets is its latent asset for
                                               presents challenges and opportunities. Chinatown         pedestrians, just as it is a headache for vehicles. All
• Heritage tourism, with multiple                                                                       that is needed is
                                               first crossed Bowery, then Canal, then Allen, and
  events                                                                                                to close selected
                                               now even Delancey, shifting the focus of
                                               neighborhood shopping to Grand and East                  streets to traffic,
                                               Broadway. Fewer Chinese-American workers pass            to make room for
                                               through Historic Chinatown on their way to               sidewalk displays
                                               garment factories. There are competing Chinese-          and dining,
                                               American downtowns in Flushing and Sunset Park.          during the peak
                                               Yet there are 500,000 Chinese-Americans in the           weekend
                                               metropolitan New York region – on par with the           afternoons and
                                               San Francisco region’s concentration.                    evenings.             Photo from Traveler’s China Companion
                                               New York’s original Chinatown will diminish into a       At its peak weekday hour, over 5,000 pedestrians
                                               tourist attraction unless it remains a destination for   pass through the busiest intersection of Mott and
                                               the region’s and nation’s Chinese-Americans. Every       Pell; compared to 400 cars. Only 15 percent of all
Historic Chinatown facts:
                                               recommendation in the America’s Chinatown plan           visitors and 10 percent of diners report driving to
• One of NYC’s top three tourist attractions
• 1 million square feet of retail              works toward this goal – in particular the next          Chinatown. Four out of five surveyed visitors said
• 500 restaurants.                                                                                      that they were in favor of street closings to traffic.
Photo: William Freed, NY in Aerial Views
                                               chapter’s recommendations on culture and
                                               streetscape, and a later chapter’s recommendations       Whether they use cars, the subway, or bus to get
                                               on sanitation and parking.                               to Chinatown, at some point every shopper and
                                                                                                        diner becomes a pedestrian within Chinatown.
                                                                                                                               Historic Chinatown                 5
Precedents include the pedestrian shopping streets                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Adopt the policy of no-net-loss of parking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         tt S
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of Hong Kong, the “Alleyways” of San Francisco’s                                                    tr                                                                                                               ee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Perhaps 100 parking spaces would be affected –











Chinatown, and Lower Manhattan’s Stone Street.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 but only on weekends, when nearby government







Immediate proof is across Canal Street. Little Italy                                                                                                                                                                                                                       NA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  T RE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ET       center parking spaces are free. Signage should
was dying in the 1970s, when the City carried out                        4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               direct customers to those close-by spaces.
                                                            W                                                                                                                   or
                                                             or                                                                                                                       t   hS
time-of-day closing of Mulberry Street. The                              St                                                                                                                 t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Provide muni-meters. Muni-meters involve use of
immediate results were fifteen new restaurants and                                                                   2                                                                                                               2
                                                                                      ROW                                                                                                           PARK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               centrally-located meters dispensing parking
a 20 percent increase in business volume. We                                   PARK
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              HENRY STRE


                                                                                                                             HENRY STRE


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               coupons, instead of individual meters. Flexible



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          M AN

would like to repeat that success in Chinatown, as

                                                                                                                           M AN






                                                                                                                            STRE       ET                                                                                           MADISON


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               pricing should be employed to favor morning

soon as possible.                                        Mott Street Option                                                                                                    Bayard Street Option
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               deliveries, evening diners, and parking space
                                                         There is more than one way to
Recommendations:                                         experiment with time-of-day/                                                                                                                                                                                                          turnover.
                                                         day-of-week street closures.
Experiment with time-of-day closings. As with
Orchard Street in the Lower East Side, street
closings could be confined to special events and         Police Precinct. Let the merchants decide for                                                                                                                                                                                         Historic Chinatown is a dining destination, with
weekend afternoons and evenings; and                     themselves which (when and if any) of these streets                                                                                                                                                                                   roughly 250 eateries-equal to one-third of its 750
accomplished through use of temporary bollards.          are part of the program.                                                                                                                                                                                                              storefronts, and one-half of all of Chinatown’s 500
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               restaurants. According to surveys, half of Historic
Allow sidewalk sales and dining. Businesses will         Minimize the inconvenience to businesses.                                                                                                                                                                                             Chinatown’s visitors are there to dine.
directly benefit from the expansion of sales space.      Surveys show that 80 percent of deliveries are on
The excitement will draw even more customers.            weekday mornings, when the streets would remain
                                                         open. Nonetheless, with both weekend deliveries
Start with Pell, Doyers and Mosco Streets.
                                                         and customer convenience in mind, the several
These streets fail to meet City standards and are
                                                         configurations shown in the accompanying maps
dangerously under-sized. Doyers wasn’t even
                                                         fashion “blocks” no larger in circumference than
designed to be a through street; it was originally
                                                         those of Midtown. No business would be further
an alley.
                                                         than 300 feet from an active curb.
If successful, proceed to some combination of
                                                         Design the closings with emergency access in
Bayard, Elizabeth, Mott and Mulberry Streets-
                                                         mind. The temporary bollards can be pliable, for
but not all of these. Each has its own argument
                                                         uninterrupted passage by emergency vehicles. No
in favor and against: Mott is the most congested
                                                         dining and sales should be allowed in the
for pedestrians; Mulberry is closest to the subway;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Upscale dining and shopping will
                                                         streetbed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            create a distinctive destination.
Elizabeth would require the relocation of the Fifth                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Article from the New York Times
6           America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
The restaurant district’s origin was not as a tourist
destination. Prejudicial laws once inhibited
immigration of Chinese women. Chinatown’s
restaurants catered to an over-worked male
population seeking inexpensive, quick, home-style
cooking. Today, most customers are still Chinese-
American, but more often they are families and
friends gathering for a banquet, an evening out,
and Sunday afternoon dim sum.
Chinatown’s restaurant sector is vulnerable. There
are quality Chinese restaurants throughout the                                                                                      Ideas include NYC branches of
region. Restaurant owners are reportedly investing                                                                                  Chinese and Hong Kong department
                                                                                                                                    stores, bookstores and art galleries.
in Flushing. As jobs disperse, the lunch trade will                                                                                 Photos: The existing Sinotique, Pearl
diminish.                                               Since 70 percent of the sidewalks are vaulted,                              River and Walker St. stores
                                                        adding more lighting standards will often be
To compete, Chinatown needs to raise the bar on         expensive. This makes ambient lighting all-
the type of dining experience that it offers. It                                                               Promote distinct restaurants. The several
                                                        important. Solid roll-down gates should be
needs to offer a product that cannot quite be                                                                  catering “palaces” help to maintain Chinatown as
                                                        prohibited through special district zoning like that
found anywhere else in New York-even Flushing.                                                                 a dining destination. So would a rooftop
                                                        employed for adjoining Little Italy; new technology
                                                                                                               restaurant and a student-run restaurant in
                                                        makes mesh gates affordable. Night lighting of
Recommendations:                                                                                               connection with a Chinese cooking school.
                                                        buildings should be encouraged.
Promote outdoor dining. Time-of-day street
                                                        Market Chinatown’s varied cuisines and dining          Shopping
closings would allow sidewalk dining, especially
                                                        experiences. The recent proliferation of Hong          Historic Chinatown is a service and shopping
during the peak summer season.
                                                        Kong style cafes and fusion cuisines is welcome.       destination for Chinese-Americans. Derivative from
Light up Historic Chinatown. Half of Chinatown’s        Workshop participants had a number of ideas to         the retailing methods of China, too many of the
customers are there after dark. Street lighting         augment this trend: post the type of Chinese           tourist-oriented stores offer too much of the same
fixtures are infrequent and oriented to roads, not      cuisine offered; publicize the less well-known         thing. Over time, there will be less and less reason
sidewalks. They should be replaced or                   cuisines; promote cooking classes; publish a           for Chinese-Americans to go to the trouble of
supplemented with pedestrian-oriented standards.        Chinatown Zagat Guide; and commission a                visiting Historic Chinatown when they can have an
                                                        “Chinatown Cookbook” featuring the best dishes         easier time of it in Flushing and Sunset Park.
                                                        of selected restaurants.
                                                                                                                                     Historic Chinatown                     7
                                                                                        Brightly-lit pedestrian     Showcase “fusion” retail. The business
                                                                                        streets will create a
                                                                                        joyous destination and      community should make an effort to jointly market
                                                                                        boost business.             clothing, antique, furnishing and other comparison
                                                                                        Photos from National
                                                                                        Geographic Traveler, Hong   goods stores that appeal to both Asian and
                                                                                        Kong and Travelers China
                                                                                                                    mainstream Americas clienteles – emulating the
                                                                                                                    success of Pearl River and Sinotique. Joint
                                                                                                                    marketing for the jewelry, wedding, lighting and
                                                                                                                    restaurant suppliers is part of this strategy.
                                                                                                                    Heritage Tourism
                                                                                                                    Chinatown has long been one of the top tourist
                                                                                                                    attractions in the city; and the Lower Manhattan
                                                                                                                    Development Corporation is now sponsoring a $2
                                                                                                                    million effort to keep it so.
                                                                                                                    Tourism is good for business, community pride,
                                                                                                                    and community clout. Yet early tours catering to
                                                                                                                    non-Asians talked up the tong wars, joss houses,
South China                               Hong Kong
                                                                                                                    and other picaresque features that reinforced
                                                                                                                    negative stereotypes.
To compete for the region’s Chinese-American             adjoining Chinatown. A location close to
shoppers, Historic Chinatown’s shops need to offer       Broadway and Canal would allow the department              In the America’s Chinatown strategy, the emphasis is
a higher quality product that has crossover appeal       store to have both SoHo cachet and Chinatown               on attracting Chinese-Americans of all generations
for both Asian-Americans and New York’s                  character. The department store would be a major           and places of residence. They are the key to an
sophisticated shoppers. And it can; after all, there’s   attraction for many: Chinatown’s 100,000 residents         authentic and sustainable tourist experience for the
no place like Manhattan.                                 and workers, the region’s 500,000 Chinese-                 general population.
                                                         Americans, as well as all New Yorkers and tourists.
Recommendations:                                                                                                    Recommendations:
                                                         Also recruit branches of specialty shopping from
Seek out a Hong Kong department store as an                                                                         Create a Chinatown Heritage Trail. The trail
                                                         China. Possibilities include a branch of the
anchor. The City, Alliance for Downtown, and                                                                        would include eclectic pavers, orientation maps,
                                                         Shanghai Museum gift shop, China Arts and Crafts
Chinatown business community should jointly try                                                                     and interpretive panels in Chinese as well as
                                                         Store, and the Xinhua Bookstore (a Chinese chain
to interest Mark & Spencer or another Hong Kong                                                                     English. It could link to similar heritage trails in
                                                         of 5,000).
department store in opening a branch in or                                                                          Lower Manhattan and the Lower East Side. The
8       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
models include the Lowell Heritage Park in            A multi-site strategy is recommended, in which           distinct elements.
Massachusetts and the Sun Yat-Sen interpretive        such visitor center amenities are piggybacked onto       These could
trail in Hong Kong.                                   allied attractions. These logically include MoCA         include: the pre-
                                                      and the proposed Chinatown Cultural Center(s), in        Chinese New Year
The trail would mark the many modest but
                                                      addition to the storefront visitors center operated      Flower Market (just
cumulatively exciting elements of Chinatown’s
                                                      by the Lower East Side Business Improvement              inaugurated by
cultural landscape, ranging from the Church of
                                                      District. Tourist bus drop-off should be provided        MoCA and the
Transfiguration to the first Chinese Opera House at
                                                      proximate to these locales, with bus layovers on         United East
5 Doyers Street. It could also provide linkages to
                                                      nonresidential streets.                                  Athletics
the African-American Burial Ground, the Eldridge
Street Synagogue, and other nearby historic sites     Promote theme tours. A food tour could
                                                                                                               Chinese Lantern
that speak to the immigrant history of the wider      emphasize the variety of cuisines and grocery
                                                                                                               Day later in winter
neighborhood.                                         shopping, feature a visit to a noodle factory, and
                                                                                                               (featuring color
                                                      tell the origin of the fortune cookie (it was invented
Provide visitor amenities. One conventional                                                                    lighting as done in
                                                      in San Francisco). A revolution tour could
visitors’ center would not work: there is no single                                                            Hong Kong), an
                                                      highlight the site of the first Internationale, the
entry, hence, interception point. Yet maps,                                                                    Asian-American
                                                      Jewish Daily Forward building, and Sun Yat-Sen’s                                  San Francisco
restrooms, and a place to join tours and/or pick up                                                            Heritage Festival in     Photo from DK Travel Guide: San
                                                      home at 11 Mott Street. A shopping “treasure                                      Francisco & Northern California
and drop off earphones for self-guided sightseeing                                                             spring (with
                                                      hunt” could feature the jewelry district, night
would be welcome.                                                                                              Biennelle-like multi-venues), an Autumn
                                                      market, and Chinatown’s specialty stores. Making
                                                                                                               Moon/Hungry Ghosts Festival (with First Night
                                                      tourism multi-dimensional is key to fostering repeat
                                                                                                               style festivities), and an early winter craft festival
                                                                                                               (just in time for Christmas shopping).
                                                      Promote diverse multiple events. One giant
                                                                                                               Distribute a Chinatown event and culture
                                                      annual event is best for putting a place on the
                                                                                                               calendar. The Chinese lunar calendar is, like the
                                                      tourism map. Chinese New Year already plays that
                                                                                                               Jewish calendar, inscrutable to America’s mass
                                                      role here. But as the San Gennaro Festival and
                                                                                                               society. A monthly calendar of events should be
                                                      Greenwich Village Halloween Parade demonstrate,
                                                                                                               promoted through a variety of media: kiosks in
                                                      the event will become less indigenous as it
                                                                                                               Chinatown, on the web, and in stores and
                                                      becomes more popular. By contrast, many little
                                                                                                               restaurants. This calendar is a natural early-
                                                      events are best for fostering loyal ethnic visitation.
                                                                                                               implementation measure.
                                                      The business and civic communities of Chinatown
Los Angeles
Photo from Project for Public Spaces                  should unite to define a full schedule of events with
                                                                                                                                       Historic Chinatown                 9
10   America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                    America’s Chinatown should not just be a           Signature Sites
                                                                                        Signature Sites
                                    place to work, shop and reside. It must be               Potential Site
                                                                                             Key Locale
                                    a place of the heart. All aspects of
                                    Chinese-American culture should be
Anchoring Chinatown
                                    celebrated and enhanced. This goal was
                                    clearly articulated in Pratt Institute’s earlier                                         na

                                    study for CCBA: “Establish Chinatown as a                                                        Stre
                                    global center of Asian life, commerce and
ARCHITECTURE                        creativity in America.” San Francisco and


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    W IL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           LI AM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   SB UR
                                    Vancouver – not local satellites like Flushing                                                             Square
• Cultural center, ideally at       and Sunset Park – would make up the peer
  Chatham Square                    group. Barcelona – not a museum piece                      BR
                                                                                                       K   LY
                                                                                                              N             Anchorage
                                                                                                                                                 Waterfront                                                    er

• Cultural attractions and events   like Kyoto – would be the model.

                                                                                                                                                                           Multiple sites, venues and
• Fusion of East/West and           This chapter focuses on performing/visual arts                                                                                         activities will invite exploration
  contemporary/traditional design   and design. In fact, the America’s Chinatown vision                                                                                    of Chinatown and its cultural
                                    of culture permeates recommendations elsewhere
                                    about celebrating China’s cuisine, employing the
                                    garden theme on the waterfront, publicizing                                            Beyond its inherent benefits, this project can also
                                    special events, and more.                                                              be the centerpiece in a multi-destination approach,
                                                                                                                           as it remains unlikely that all of the relevant arts
                                    There is a larger purpose here, having to do with
                                                                                                                           organizations can be corralled into a single facility.
                                    cultural pride as well as pride-of-place. As one
                                                                                                                           The LMDC-funded feasibility study will determine
                                    participant said: “The life we live in this country is
                                                                                                                           the most viable approach.
                                    basically defined by how the mainstream perceives
                                    us and how we perceive ourselves.”                                                     The overall idea is to create an arts district
                                                                                                                           anchored by the new cultural center. The
                                    Cultural Magnet                                                                        organizing concept is the axis created by Canal
                                    The mission of the CREATE task force formed by                                         Street and Bowery, which, joined with Historic
                                    City Councilmember Alan Gerson is to arrive at the                                     Chinatown, provide the needed visibility and
An arts and community center                                                                                               accessibility for cultural venues that rely upon
                                    program, site and design of a singular cultural
is a top priority.
Photo of Mori Arts Center by        center embracing existing and prospective arts                                         regional as well as Chinatown patrons.
Jeremy Sutton-Hibert for
the New York Times                  groups. This project deserves the community’s,
                                    City’s and State’s enthusiastic support.
                                                                                                                                                                  Arts and Architecture                                     11
Recommendations:                                          Create a visual arts center. The Asia Society,           theater, too; and would be an inviting alternative
                                                          China Society and Metropolitan Museum are                for MoCA (discussed next).
Build a performing arts center. CREATE is                 among the nation’s premiere presenters of China’s
appropriately focusing on a theater for traditional                                                                Support MoCA’s expansion. The Museum of
                                                          traditional art. As to the folk and contemporary,
as well as contemporary performances, and                                                                          Chinese in the Americas helps to bridge the
                                                          Chinatown boasts several galleries and the Asian
traveling as well as Chinatown groups. A 400-seat                                                                  cultural gap between a still-living immigrant
                                                          American Arts Centre (AAAC). One prominent site
theater suitable for Chinese Opera would require a                                                                 generation and their American-born descendents.
                                                          to consider for a visual art (and cultural) center is
roughly 10,000 square foot building-footprint.                                                                     MoCA proposes to expand out of 70 Mulberry
                                                          the south side of Chatham Square, now occupied
The performing arts center should also house a                                                                     Street into far better quarters overlooking
                                                          by an undistinguished low-rise commercial
media center with ties to New York’s large array of                                                                Columbus Park. The new MoCA can feature
                                                          structure. The community should back the
Chinese-speaking television and radio venues. One                                                                  multi-media exhibits, interpretive tours, historical
                                                          relocation of the AAAC, a Chinese cultural library,
inviting performance (and cultural) center site is                                                                 research, etc., building from The Chinatown
                                                          and/or other visual arts groups to the building.
the nearly vacant General Services Administration                                                                  History Project.
                                                          The redesign of Chatham Square and/or
garage at Centre and Howard Streets, at                   construction of the Second Avenue subway may             Retain 70 Mulberry Street as an arts and
Chinatown’s border with SoHo. Another inviting            provide the opportunity to build something that is       community facility. A variety of arts organizations
site is at Chatham Square (discussed next).               distinctive. The site may be large enough for a          are housed in the City-owned, former PS 23 school
                                                                                                                                      Chinatown’s existing cultural
                                      Museum of Chinese                                                                               groups deserve top priority.
                                      in the Americas                                 Chinese Folk Dance Company
                                                                                      Photo by Ellen Crane
12      America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
building, cattycorner to Columbus Park. 70                                                                   Cultural Landscape
Mulberry should continue to serve the community
                                                                                                             Architecture is the physical expression of cultural
as a place to find inexpensive, albeit improvised,
                                                                                                             values. In the workshops, a sharp division arose
space. Given its layout, after-school and weekend
                                                                                                             between those who advocated traditional designs,
arts education is also desirable. If 70 Mulberry did
                                                                                                             and those that rejected these as stereotypical. (San
not exist, we would have to invent it.
                                                                                                             Francisco’s Chinatown theme architecture arose,
Create a number of outdoor cultural venues.                                                                  after all, to attract tourists after the 1906
Columbus Park is Chinatown’s culture park –                                                                  earthquake.)
featuring fairs, outdoor movies, etc. Roosevelt Park,
                                                                                                             Traditional design has its place. It relates to the
Corlears Hook Pavilion and the proposed
                                                                                                             Chinese concept of “perfect obsolescence” in
waterfront park can play a similar role for larger
                                                                                                             which the same architectural styles and features are
events. Examples range from Hong Kong pop star
                                                                                                             reiterated; in China, much of what passes for
concerts, to the annual Asian Pacific-American
                                                                                                             historic is actually modern reconstruction. But
Heritage Festival – the largest Pan-Asian cultural
                                                                                                             contemporary design expresses a culture that is
event on the East Coast (now held at Union
                                                                                                             forward looking.
                                                                                                             Preservation also has its place. Many
Provide incentives for private provision of arts
                                                         Friends of Columbus Park, the Parks
                                                                                                             neighborhood buildings date to the early
and entertainment venues. There were once ten
                                                         Department and MoCA are giving the park             nineteenth century. But the riot of signage and
Chinese movie theaters in Chinatown; now there           a second life. Further improvements and
                                                         activities could emulate Bryant Park (the           jarring contrasts of Chinatown are part of its
are none. Atlantic City, not Chinatown, is the main
                                                         café shown) to create even more of a                excitement.
venue for Asian performers. Western ballroom             cultural park.
dance is wildly popular in China’s major cities, but                                                         In the workshops, this debate produced not a
there are no dance halls in Chinatown. The cultural      Pursue joint marketing. Examples include “China     compromise, but an innovation: Chinatown’s
center can help fill the void. So can the private        Link”– which purports to coordinate Chinatown       cultural landscape should derive design vitality
sector, though incentives are likely needed.             organizations; a website with links to all Asian-   from fusing and juxtaposing Asian and American,
Perhaps up to one unit of floor area dedicated to        American arts and culture – which has been          modern and traditional, historic and ethnic. The
cultural and entertainment could be “free” along         recommended for San Francisco, as well; and a       community aspires to the excitement of Hong
the Canal, Bowery and Allen/Pike Street corridors.       Chinatown Culture Pass – which the Asian-           Kong and Shanghai, not the fakery of Disneyland
This might also generate sites for the theater, visual   American Arts Alliance is seeking funding for.      or purity of Kyoto.
arts center and/or MoCA.                                 Additional ideas include a calendar of special
                                                         events and a Chinatown Heritage Trail.
                                                                                                                                   Arts and Architecture           13
                                                                                              Fusion of modern       their size, location, color, etc. This bending of the
                                                                                              and traditional,
                                                                                              Asian and Western,     rules should be focused on Historic Chinatown. As
                                                                                              new and old can        at Times Square, creating a zone with exceptional
                                                                                              generate “the
                                                                                              beauty of chaos.”      rules can help to create an exceptional place.
                                                                                              Office and temple on
                                                                                              far left designed by   Pursue a thematic or multiple resource historic
                                                                                              Atsushi Kitagawara,
                                                                                              from Akiko Busch's     designation. Grand edifices include the three East
                                                                                              Rooftop Architecture
                                                                                                                     River bridges, courthouses, and bank buildings.
                                                                                                                     Historic sites include Five Points, the First Shearith
                                                                                                                     Israel Cemetery, and Doyers Street. Dispersed
                                                                                                                     historic resources include two-hundred-year-old
                                                                                                                     houses, cast iron loft buildings, and intact
                                                                                                                     Designations should of course continue. The City
                                                                                                                     should even single out noteworthy modern
Tokyo                             Canal Street                     San Francisco
                                                                                                                     buildings, such as Kelly & Gruzen’s Chatham
                                                                                                                     Towers. The existing TriBeCa East and the SoHo
Recommendations:                                          Find a way to legalize Chinatown’s signage.                Cast Iron districts can take in more loft areas. The
                                                          Nothing defines the cultural landscape of                  African Burial Ground and Commons district can
Highlight details that make big statements.               Chinatown as much as its signage. The paucity of           take in more of the government center. A Little
Chinese design motifs (traditional, contemporary          English verbiage signals the authenticity of               Italy/NoLiTa historic district would be of value,
and fusion) should be employed in lighting                Chinatown. The riot of signage broadcasts the              especially if the special zoning district’s design
fixtures, benches, fences, kiosks, park pavilions, etc.   vibrancy of Chinatown’s commerce. Since Chinese            guidelines are relaxed.
There should be general awareness of the symbolic         dialects are as different as European languages, the
importance of different colors and icons. In China,       written word is the lingua franca. Single symbols          But otherwise, a less conventional approach is
red is the color of good fortune; just as in              express full words or thoughts. Calligraphy is the         recommended. The City could emulate the
mainstream America, red and green are the colors          fifth art form extolled in China.                          National Register of Historic Places, and adopt
of Christmas. In China, dog statuary – not lions –                                                                   thematic or multiple-resource designations. For
stand guard. For hundreds of years, pagoda roofs          Much Chinatown signage defies Building and                 example, the designation could focus on an
have been used to communicate stability – no              Zoning codes: we recommend that the City find a            immigration theme.
different than the use of Greek and Roman porticos        way to legalize the excitement. The regulatory and
in the West.                                              enforcement strategy should emphasize safety not           Commission public art. The proposal of the Asian
                                                          aesthetics: how signs are made and affixed; not            American Arts Centre for funding of public art
14      America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                       deserves the community’s full support. Private         Create a “Design Collective.” Balancing these
                                       developers should be encouraged to do their part       different design priorities and ethics will require
                                       too. Public agencies are required to do so, under      inspiration. Luckily, there is a wealth of design
                                       the Percent for Art program. As demonstrated by        talent in New York City in general, among the
                                       the Arts in Transit Program, incremental               region’s Asian-American population, and living in
                                       investments in public art can have cumulative          Lower Manhattan. Groups to be tapped include
                                       benefits well beyond their cost.                       the American Institute of Architects, American
                                                                                              Planning Association, the Design Trust, and Place
                                       Embrace Feng Shui in urban design. Some Feng
                                                                                              Matters. One idea is to create a “Collective”
                                       Shui principles extol turning away from liabilities
                                                                                              charged with integrating design into all of the
                                       (like cold winds and stagnant water), to face assets
                                                                                              projects and programs presented in the America’s
                                       (like the sun and busy streets). Other principles
                                                                                              Chinatown plan.
                                       emphasize sequence over singularity. Gates, for
                                       example, have more to do with the process of
                                       approach and passage, than with shutting out or
                                       in. Buildings are generally small and viewed as
                                       parts of ensembles. The Forbidden City is, for
                                       example, an entire neighborhood – not a
                                       monolithic palace like its equivalent, Versailles.
                                       Hundreds of years ago, Feng Shui propelled what
                                       we now call green architecture and contextual
                                       Public agencies can do their part in Chinatown by
                                       encouraging their architects and designers to
Design details can have big impacts.   consult with Feng Shui experts. The civic and
Incremental investments do matter.     cultural communities can do their part by
                                       providing interpretive panels and other media that
                                       increase the public’s awareness of Feng Shui. The
                                       proposed cultural center could feature a
                                       permanent exhibit on Feng Shui, including how its
                                       principals were employed in that building’s design.
                                                                                                                      Arts and Architecture         15
16   America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                   With 40,000 jobs and 4,000 businesses, Chinatown        Pacific Rim Office Center
                                   has an employment base comparable to
                                                                                           Chinatown/Lower Manhattan is in a unique
                                   downtown Stamford and Wilmington. With half of
                                                                                           position to capitalize on the need for a center of
                                   Chinatown’s jobs filled by local residents, and with
Anchoring Chinatown                                                                        transaction between America and Asia.
                                   half of Chinatown’s working residents finding jobs
JOBS                               in the neighborhood, Chinatown has been aptly
                                   described as a live/work enclave. Historically, it
                                                                                           Chinatown is surprisingly a financial center, with
                                                                                           roughly 25 banks holding nearly $6 billion in
                                   was the availability of low-skilled jobs that drew      deposits. These deposits represent the life savings
• Pacific Rim office district      Chinese immigrants to the neighborhood.                 not only of frugal Chinatown residents, but their
                                                                                           extended family networks abroad. Much of this
• Sustained manufacturing          The employment mainstays have been the
                                                                                           capital is now being directed back to Asia.
                                   restaurant and garment sectors. Two-out-of-three
• Job mobility and training
                                   Chinatown families have relied upon one, the                                           Chinatown is already a
                                   other, or both of these sectors. The restaurant         Chinatown Facts at a Glance:   major service and
                                   sector may only now be emerging from the                • 38% walk to work             office center, growing
                                                                                             (Manhattan: 22 %)
                                   downturn in tourism associated with 9/11. The                                          from 50 service offices
                                                                                           • $42,000 Average Household
                                   garment sector has been hard hit by local and             Income                       in 1958, to 1,300 in
                                   international shifts in production. Chinatown’s           (Manhattan: $93,000)         1988, to more now.
                                   unemployment rate soared immediately following          • 57% no high school diploma   At $35 per square foot
                                                                                             (Manhattan: 22 %)
                                   9/11, and is now higher than the city’s for the                                        for Class B space and
                                   first time.                                                                            with a 2 percent
                                                                                           vacancy rate, rents are higher and vacancies lower
                                   The long-term future for America’s Chinatown also
                                                                                           in Chinatown than in the rest of Lower Manhattan.
                                   requires diversification. Some sectors (a “Pacific
                                   Rim” office district and a garment sector               Manhattan is a major center for import/export
With 4,000 businesses, 40,000
employees, and nearly $6 billion   reinvigorated through linkages to fashion design),      aimed at Asia, with an increase from 25 companies
in bank deposits, Chinatown is     can be in Chinatown. Others (construction,              in 1973 to 164 in 1988, before the real boom in
poised to become a recognized
economic engine for the city.      healthcare and hospitality) will be citywide. All can   Asian/American trade! Most import/export
                                   build off of the community’s fundamental assets:        companies have, however, gravitated to lower
                                   an entrepreneurial tradition, family savings,           Midtown – not Chinatown.
                                   connections to Asia, mass transit accessibility, and
                                   proximity to the city’s hubs of business. All can       Federal Reserve economists point out one
                                   help guide the new Chinese immigrant into the           particular business niche that is getting short shrift.
                                   service sector economy of the United States.            Many small and mid-sized American companies are
                                                                                                                                  Jobs           17
                                                                                                                                                                                     Signature office, hotel     Explore other incentives for office development.
                                   Lower Manhattan                                                                                                                                   and department store
                                                                                                                                                                                     development will create     Ideas include: allowing large signage (à la Times
                                                                                                                                                                                     a beacon for Class A        Square); designating the area a New York State
                                                                              C                                                                                                      development.
                                                                                  a   na
                                                                                         l   St                                                                                      Photo of the He Ping Lu     Empire Zone; and extending the Liberty Zone
                                                                                                       et                                                                            building in Hong Kong
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 boundaries to Delancey Street.
                                                                                                                                                                                     from the Traveler’s China
                                                                                                                                   Canal                                             Companion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Strongly advocate for the Second Avenue
                                                                                                                           tt S





                                                                                                                                    Bowery                                                                       subway. This subway line would vastly improve


                                                                                                                                   East Broadw
                                                                            Hall                                                                                                                                 access from the Upper East Side and Grand Central


                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Terminal, and maybe also JFK International Airport.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The subway’s Chatham Square station would

                                                                                                  South Street                                                                                                   anchor the eastern end of the office district; just as

                                                           all                                      Seaport

                                                               S   tre
                                                                                                                                                                            Brid                                 the existing Broadway/Canal subway station

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 anchors the western end.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Upgrade the physical environments of both
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Canal and Bowery. The vehicular, truck and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 pedestrian crunch along these streets is inimical to
interested in finding Asian niches and sources for                                    rates in Manhattan south of Harlem, Canal Street is                                                                        a high-class office district. Improvements might
particular products. But the means of achieving                                       ill-suited to housing. Broadway is a powerful                                                                              include: (1) sidewalk widening on the
this goal remain a mystery to most.                                                   connector to the World Trade Center/Wall Street                                                                            overcrowded south side of Canal; (2) gridlock
                                                                                      districts. With the Second Avenue subway and a                                                                             boxes at intersections; (3) time-of-day closures for
The America’s Chinatown vision is to combine these
                                                                                      new alignment with Water Street, Bowery will be a                                                                          selected cross streets; (4) left turn prohibitions; (5)
existing and latent sources of demand to feed a
                                                                                      more potent location for offices.                                                                                          a consistent roadway geometry, featuring (6) a
Class A office district in Chinatown and/or other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 plaza created out of redundant roadway at the
parts of Lower Manhattan.                                                             Up-zone Canal and Bowery to create a vital
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Baxter/Walker/Canal triangle; (7) a landscaped
                                                                                      inducement for office development. Current
Recommendations:                                                                                                                                                                                                 median on Bowery between Canal and Chatham
                                                                                      zoning inhibits housing in the corridors. But office
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Square, modeled on Adam Street in Brooklyn; (8)
Focus on Canal Street, Broadway and Bowery                                            development remains small-scale due to the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 double lights on Canal Street, modeled on those
for new office development. These corridors                                           prevalent building types and low floor area ratios
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 along 23rd Street; and (9) tolls on trucks using the
have the necessary visibility and access. Sure                                        allowed. Given the small size of potential sites,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Manhattan Bridge, neutralizing the cost advantage
enough, most of the banks and office buildings are                                    significant upzoning for commercial development
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 of Canal Street over the Verrazano Bridge. These
already there. With reportedly the highest asthma                                     would likely yield tall, slender buildings.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 improvements can be tested through experiments.
18      America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
They are also compelling: Canal has among the
highest vehicular and pedestrian counts and
accident statistics in the city.
Focus on placemaking at key spots. Broadway
and Canal is Chinatown’s “100 percent corner.”
The Baxter/Walker/Canal triangle is one of the
most prominent sites in Chinatown. The
Canal/Manhattan Bridge/Bowery is Chinatown’s
main crossroad. And Chatham Square is
Chinatown’s meeting place. Each deserves its own
strategy merging transit, traffic, pedestrian and
development opportunities.
                                                                                            Fashion/garment tie-ins can stabilize              Photo of Forward, a fashion
Jointly market the “Pacific Rim Office District.”
                                                                                            an upscale Chinatown garment sector                incubator for up-and-coming
Would tenants prefer sites in Chinatown close to                                            at a critical mass of 150 factories,               designers on Orchard Street.
                                                                                            employing 6,000 skilled employees.
Lower Manhattan, or in Lower Manhattan close to
Chinatown? This question should be left open, as
each district would benefit either way. Instead, the   Garment Sector
Chinatown business community should partner                                                                        Will the Chinatown garment sector shrink to
                                                       In the 1960s, there were roughly a dozen garment
with the Alliance for Downtown to market both                                                                      nothing, as was the case for the Little Italy and
                                                       factories in Chinatown. By the 1990s, there were
districts.                                                                                                         Jewish Lower East Side garment sectors? Probably
                                                       500 factories. Now there are approximately 150.
                                                                                                                   not. Most of the remaining factories have niches
Work hard on an “Asia Commerce Building” to            Can the Chinatown garment sector return to its              necessitating easy convenience to Manhattan’s
crystallize this sector in the marketplace. This       1990s peak? Most likely not. Many landlords are             fashion sector.
complex could include a hotel and offices, and         converting buildings to more lucrative offices and
feature a Hong Kong department store, or better                                                                    Can anything be done to influence the outcome?
                                                       housing, or offering short-term leases that
yet, the Trade Center promoted by the Asian-                                                                       Yes! The Garment Industry Development
                                                       discourage investment by manufacturers. The
American Business Development Center. The ideal                                                                    Corporation (GIDC), Greater Blouse, Skirt and
                                                       decline in garment factories in Chinatown has been
location is on one of the under-developed (“soft”)                                                                 Undergarment Association, NY Industrial Retention
                                                       matched by an increase in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park,
sites near the intersections of Canal with Broadway,                                                               Network (NYIRN), City Councilmember Alan
                                                       where rents are lower and many Chinese
Centre, or Bowery. This building should redefine                                                                   Gerson, and AAFE have all been active and creative
                                                       immigrants now settle. Improved technologies
the skyline of Chinatown, to create a beacon for                                                                   in seeking ways to shore up the garment sector in
                                                       and communications have, ironically, shifted much
commerce.                                                                                                          Chinatown. At a stable 6,000 employees,
                                                       manufacturing to Asia.
                                                                                                                                                          Jobs         19
Chinatown’s garment sector remains a major                displacement, and provide incentives for garment     sector. Construction and again hospitality are
employment sector worthy of protection and                factories to stay or locate in Chinatown.            logical sources of employment for men – who have
enhancement.                                                                                                   historically been tapped for restaurants. Health care
                                                          Create “New York Fashion Spaces.” GIDC,
                                                                                                               and construction also take advantage of the ability
Recommendations:                                          UNITE, NYIRN and AAFE propose several properties
                                                                                                               to secure family and family association financing
                                                          as garment/fashion buildings, with nonprofit
Strengthen the linkages between the fashion                                                                    for small business starts.
                                                          ownership to cap rents. This project and others
and garment sectors. Chinatown’s niche is in fast
                                                          like it can provide a critical mass of garment       Some strategies have to do with strengthening the
turnaround at a high quality. This lends itself to
                                                          businesses that strengthens each company’s           business environment in Chinatown. But most of
small orders requiring fittings. GIDC’s Fashion
                                                          competitiveness. The garment/fashion buildings       these jobs will be filled elsewhere. The focus is
Industry Modernization Center is one example of
                                                          will also have space that will function as both an   therefore on training and English-speaking skills.
how these linkages can be reinforced. That facility
                                                          incubator and a showroom for young up-and-
is ready for an upgrade.                                                                                       Recommendations:
                                                          coming designers. Low-interest loans, grants, and
Use zoning to protect pockets of industry. The            tax breaks should be made available to these         Bolster the health care sector in Chinatown.
garment sector has been historically concentrated         ventures.                                            One strategy involves partnering with major
in lofts north of Canal, between Broadway and                                                                  medical institutions to create medical arts
                                                          Business assistance and workforce development.
Bowery – as reflected in the special zoning for the                                                            building(s) in Chinatown. Beth Israel and St.
                                                          In order to maintain and increase competitiveness,
area. The City should maintain industrial zoning in                                                            Vincent’s are both seeking to step up their
                                                          apparel businesses need business assistance and
select locations to put a drag on industrial
                                                          workforce development. Centers such as GIDC’s
                                                          Chinatown facility should be funded and other
                                                          centers should be formed. Training should
                                                          address: (1) production management to maximize
                                                          efficiencies; (2) modernization of workers’
                                                          production skills; (3) full package operation
                                                          seminars; and (4) job referral and placement
                               Cookbooks, a Chinese
                               culinary institute and
                               floating catering hall
                               are some ideas to
                               “grow” the dining          Health Care, Hospitality
                               niche into full catering   and Construction
                               and hospitality.                                                                                                    Health care, spas,
                               Photo from National        Health care and hospitality are logical sources of                                       alternative medicine,
                               Geographic Traveler                                                                                                 and personal services
                               Hong Kong                  employment for middle-aged women – who have                                              can form a new
                                                          been hardest hit by the downturn in the garment                                          growth sector.
20      America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                                        Bolster the construction sector in Chinatown.         Professional Business College (which just got
                                                        The emphasis should be on small construction          accreditation), Manhattan Community College,
                                                        companies directed to rehab and maintenance –         Murry Bergtraum Business High School, Pace
                                                        the two greatest needs in the Lower East Side.        University, and local organizations and sponsors,
                                                        Joint venturing and partnerships should be            potentially including the unions.
                                                        encouraged. A Home Depot along Delancey Street
                                                        could also provide an affordable local source of
                                                        materials and tools.
                                                        Marry “English as a Second Language” to job
                                                        training. More than half (60 percent) of
Job training/placement
                                                        Chinatown’s Asians do not speak English well or at
organizations and learning                              all. Two-thirds are foreign born; and half of these
institutions should partner to
create a virtual community                              people are new arrivals. The immediate priority
college.                                                needs to be on industry-specific ESL (e.g.,
                                                        “restaurant English”). There are plenty of private
                                                        language schools and programs. The linkage to
presence in the neighborhood, for instance.
                                                        jobs is presently missing.
Another strategy involves medical networks
(websites, listings, etc.) that feature the so-called   Create a virtual community college in
“alternative” approach to health care that more         Chinatown. More than one out of two of
and more westerners are expressing interest in, but     Chinatown’s working adults lack a high school
don’t know how to find.                                 diploma. One out of four actually had managerial
                                                        or professional occupations in China. Technical
Bolster the hospitality sector in Chinatown.
                                                        and/or more English skills are the keys to
One idea is to create a full-service spa that
                                                        advancement for these populations – hence the
combines a new waterfront hotel with a health
                                                        need for a bilingual community college in
care training center. Another is to create a large
                                                        Chinatown, with flexible hours (mindful of current
training facility that combines a new hotel with the
                                                        employment patterns).
existing French Culinary Institute or a new Chinese
Culinary Institute. Zoning should be sure to            There does not appear to be sufficient funding for
promote hotel/catering hall development in the          a large-scale community college. But a “virtual”
Canal/Bowery corridor (including Broadway and           community college could be created out of a joint
Center) and along the waterfront.                       venture between local resources that include the
                                                                                                                                                   Jobs           21
22   America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                              Chinatown/the Lower East Side has a waterfront!
                                              In most parts of the city, there is a waterfront park
                                              that you cannot easily get to. Here, access under
                                              the elevated FDR Drive could be easy; but there is
Opening Chinatown
                                              no real park on the other side. Adding to the
THE                                           irony: the neighborhood owes its original vitality to
                                              its proximity to piers and ports of call.
WATERFRONT                                    When joined with East River Park, the waterfront
                                              can redefine America’s Chinatown, from an
                                              overcrowded ethnic enclave, to an exhilarating
• A multicultural park                        community rich in amenities. The park will fill one
• Economic development                        of the very few missing links in a waterfront
  as well as recreation                       promenade that now goes down the East River and
                                              around the Battery. It will yield a major attraction
• A garden experience                                                                                     Ten acres of new waterfront park should feature
                                              – especially for outer-borough and suburban                 promenades and gardens extending East River
                                              Chinese-Americans. As a waterfront park and                 Park’s active recreation components.
                                                                                                          Photo: (top) Hong Kong’s Sha Tin Park designed by
                                              economic development project,                               Brian Clouton and Partners, from Ken Fieldhouse’s
                                                                                                          Landscape Design, (bottom) Kissena Park, Queens,
                                              Chinatown’s/Lower East Side’s waterfront would              from Jake Rajs' New York City of Islands
                                              complement the Mayor’s plans for a Lower
                                              Manhattan rich in shared attractions and                With roughly 30 acres of park, there is
                                              amenities.                                              approximately one acre of park for every 3,000
                                                                                                      residents in Chinatown. By contrast, the City’s
                                              The model is Battery Park City, where the
                                                                                                      official benchmark is one acre of park for every 400
                                              waterfront is the defining amenity; it is not just a
                                                                                                      people. Lower Manhattan has one acre for every
                                              promenade, it is an expression of the best that
                                                                                                      750 residents. Incomes, hence mobility, are low in
                                              design can offer. The metaphor is harbor, where
                                                                                                      Chinatown. Population densities are twice those of
Chinatown, Lower East Side and Lower          there is a tumult of activity and a meeting of
Manhattan share a spectacular waterfront                                                              Manhattan, amplifying the need for the relief that
that can redefine the image of Chinatown as                                                           parks – particularly waterfront parks – offer. To just
a place to live.
Aerial from Robert Cameron’s Above New York                                                           be equitable with Lower Manhattan, Chinatown
                                              The Park
                                                                                                      would need to quadruple its parkland.
                                              Chinatown desperately needs more parkland, and
                                              the waterfront is the only place to get it.             At roughly ten acres, the waterfront is Chinatown’s
                                                                                                      last best hope of relief. It is divided into two
                                                                                                                                    The Waterfront            23
halves. To the southwest is a narrow promenade
abutting South Street under the FDR Drive. The
promenade is attractive, especially at its redesigned
southwestern end. A bend in the river and the
Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges add visual
To the northeast are Piers 36 to 40 (the former
“Banana Piers”). Two giant sheds are vacant; the
NYC Department of Sanitation (DOS) uses the
third shed as a vehicular repair facility. The EMA
                                                                                                                         Linkages should
also has use of a small building on the site. Pier 36
                                                                                                                         emphasize Allen/Pike
at the promenade is officially park, but used for       Recommendations:                                                 (shown to the right),
                                                                                                                         Catherine and Rutgers.
dumping snow. At the opposite end is the                                                                                 Implementation starts
                                                        Create one continuous waterfront promenade
southern tip of East River Park.                                                                                         with crosswalks and
                                                        from the Brooklyn Bridge to East River Park;                     removal of an offensive
                                                        and add Piers 36 to 40 to East River Park.                       fence.
                                                                                                                         Map courtesy of Fox &
                                                        Extending East River Park would make its ballfields              Fowle
                                                        and facilities accessible to Chinatown. People
                                                        simply travel further to park amenities when the
                                                        walk is part of the park experience: witness how
                                                        Hudson River Park and Riverside Park are enjoyed.
                                                        Relocate the DOS and EMA facilities. Chinatown
                                                                                                                      Reportedly, the DOS estimates their relocation cost
                                                        is willing to have its fair share of City facilities – just
                                                                                                                      at $30 million. This actually yields a cost of $3
                                                        not on its waterfront. Alternative nearby sites
                                                                                                                      million per acre – modest in comparison to the
                                                        include under the Williamsburg or Manhattan
                  DOS                                                                                                 cost of park acquisition and tenant relocation
                                                        Bridges (co-opting security concerns that preempt
                                                        other uses); or under the “Astroturf” parks
                                                        between Market and Pike Streets (exploiting grade             Program and design the park with the Chinese-
                                                        changes to separate upland pedestrian and service             American subculture in mind. Workshop
                                                        road truck access). The latter site also fronts South         participants emphasized the need for a park where
The Lower East Side/Chinatown is starved
for parks, meeting only one-third the City’s            Street, only 1,000 feet from the present facilities.          seniors, families, and exercisers may congregate.
per capita guideline for open space.                    Note that Pier 36 could still be closed to the public         With the traditions of weekly family get-togethers,
Photo from William Fried’s NY in Aerial Views
                                                        after snowstorms.
24        America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
photographic expeditions, and tai chi, this park         However, it is a park! “Big-Box” uses should not be   Develop a major Chinese-theme hospitality and
could be a regional attraction as well as a local        built at the expense of parkspace; and need not,      dining facility in the water. Specific suggestions
amenity.                                                 given the increasing cost-effectiveness of rooftop    include a floating catering hall, spa/hotel, culinary
                                                         greens, plus the ability to make such rooftop         institute, or some combination – replicating the
Feng Shui’s emphasis on balance and sequence
                                                         gardens seamless through berms.                       successful floating Jumbo Restaurant in Hong
yields winding paths through multiple park
                                                                                                               Kong, or the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach,
experiences – not a straight-line promenade or
large field. Workshops participants drew inspiration
from the Scholar’s Garden in Staten Island’s Snug                                                              Create a parks conservancy. These economic
Harbor Cultural Center – rather than the Great                                                                 development uses will provide more reason for
Lawn in Central Park. Perhaps the New York                                                                     people to go to the waterfront. They will provide
Botanical Garden or Brooklyn Botanical Garden                                                                  added activity and security. And they can provide
could be recruited to help design and manage this                                                              a source of income to maintain and program the
new park.                                                                                                      park. Battery Park City’s park system owes much of
                                                                                                               its success to the fact that it is not starved for cash.
A Harbor
The America’s Chinatown waterfront plan is not just
about creating a new park amenity. It has a                                                                    The waterfront park’s utility to local residents, and
powerful economic development component,                                                                       the viability of its economic components, depend
potentially involving floating structures, reused                                                              entirely on easy access to Lower Manhattan, the
barges and ships, pavilions, and other building                                                                Lower East Side, and East River Park – in addition to
elements that do not compromise substantial                                                                    Chinatown. At the workshops, participants were
parkland.                                                                                                      concerned about access and partners, as much as
                                                                                                               design and programming.
Place a regional attraction within the Piers 36
to 40 park element. One of the sheds is now                                                                    Plan the park with the residents of the Lower
                                                         A floating culinary institute, spa, tourist
earmarked for Basketball City. This could be             attraction and similar uses can create                East Side as well as Chinatown. This park is the
augmented with the equivalent of another Chelsea         revenue to maintain the park, and link it to          meeting place of Lower Manhattan, Chinatown
                                                         South Street Seaport – just a few hundred
Piers. The site might also or instead be ideal for the   yards away.                                           and the Lower East Side. It must be multi-cultural
Oceanarium proposed for Pier 40 on the Hudson            Photos of Hong Kong’s Jumbo Restaurant from           to prevent it from being culturally divisive. The
                                                         National Geographic, and South Street Seaport
River, Cirque du Soleil, or simply a seasonal            from Robert Cameron’s Above New York                  Mayor’s new urban design effort for the East River
amusement park.                                                                                                provides an exciting framework for engaging local
                                                                                                                                           The Waterfront            25
constituencies in the design and programming of      not pedestrians. Implementation starts with adding
the waterfront.                                      safe crossings and taking down the fence.
Remove all of the barriers between the river         Highlight the cross streets that tie the riverfront
and the people. The FDR Drive is elevated at all     back to inland attractions. Three cross streets
eight of the cross streets corresponding to          warrant special treatment: Catherine Street –
Chinatown. Yet at present, Chinatown has only        going up to Chatham Square; Pike/Allen Street –
one unobstructed entry point into East River Park.   joining Chinatown and the Lower East Side; and
The problem is simply the absence of crosswalks      Rutgers Street – providing access to the closest
with traffic signals, and a continuous fence with    subway stop. These three cross streets must
infrequent breaks conveniently sited for vehicles,   feature traffic signals at Water Street, articulated
                                                     crosswalks, special signage, and unobstructed
                                                     waterfront views. Borrowing an idea generated by
                                                     a local artist: maybe their extra-wide right-of-ways
                                                     could feature channels of water running down
                                                     toward the waterfront.
                                                     Link the new park to the larger bicycle and
                                                     transit systems. One idea is to provide shared
                                                     parking for Chinatown and South Street Seaport
                                                     under the FDR Drive, sharing the same shuttle
                                                     service. Another idea involves rubber tire service
                                                     along the FDR right-of-way, from the Battery to
                                                     and past East River Park.
                                                     Ferry access is a popular but impractical idea: there
                                                     simply isn’t enough ridership. But a water taxi, like
The waterfront needs to                              that operating for Fulton Ferry, would make
be co-designed by the
                                                     eminent sense if the parking facility, upland
community, to reflect the
multi-cultural Lower East                            connections and waterfront attractions were
Photo of Kuching waterfront
                                                     provided as proposed.
designed by Conybeare
Morrison and Partners, from
Ann Breen The New
26       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All of the America’s Chinatown initiatives      Possible Learning
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    have an element of reaching out:                                                                 70 Mulberry
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    contemporizing Historic Chinatown;                                                     MVB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    diversifying the audience for cultural
Opening Chinatown                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Park
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    facilities; providing improved access to jobs
THE LINKAGES                                                                                                                                                                                                        outside of Chinatown; opening up to the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    waterfront; partnering with Lower East
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Side housing advocates; etc.
• Bowery/Water and more                                                                                                                                                                                             This chapter focuses on the physical                                B   RO

  connectors to Lower Manhattan                                                                                                                                                                                     linkages: reopening Park Row as the

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   High School
• A new Chatham Square, larger Kim                                                                                                                                                                                  landscaped spine of a “learning campus”;
  Lau Square, reopened Park Row                                                                                                                                                                                     crafting a powerful Water Street/Bowery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Park Row can be reopened and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alignment; creating a meeting ground at Chatham                                                              transformed into the spine of a
• An “Avenue of the Immigrants”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Learning Campus that links culture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Square; and knitting together the Lower East Side
  boulevard                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and education, as well as Chinatown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and Chinatown at Allen/Pike Street, co-named as                                                              and Lower Manhattan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the “Avenue of the Immigrants.”








                                                                                                                                                  H ST

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Park Row









                                                                                                                                 E ST


                                                                                       et                                                         HEST





                                                                                                                                                                                 n St


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Reopen Park Row and Pearl Street. At the


                                                   Chinatown                                                                                                                                            East Side
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Closing Park Row, Pearl Street and Madison Park

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    was viewed as a necessity by the NY Police                   minimum, Park Row and Pearl Street should be
Government                                                                                      DIVISION
Center                                                               ChathamBroadway
                                                                     SquareEast                                                                                                                                     Department following 9/11, and as an insult by the           partially reopened to ease vehicular access to the
                                                                                                                                                                   PIKE STRE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Chatham Green and Chatham Towers housing
                                                                                                       HENRY STRE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    community. It represents a symbolic ghetto-izing


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    wall at the heart of Chinatown.                              developments. Likewise, Madison Park should be

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 reclaimed from the Police Department, who use it

                                                                                                       E ST


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, due to Urban Renewal clearance, Park Row               as a parking lot. As the new design for the Stock
Lower                                                                                                                     FRONT
Manhattan                                                                     SOUTH
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    was engineered akin to a highway bypass. It                  Exchange area demonstrates, security and public
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    should now be reconfigured as a pedestrian-                  access are reconcilable.
Connecting: Chinatown to
Lower Manhattan and the City
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    friendly concourse, with linkages to expanded and
Unifying: Chinatown and the                                                                                                                                                                                         improved private and public open spaces. The                 Create a Learning Campus. The priority placed
Lower East Side                                                                                                                                                                                                     ideal is to “put the park back into Park Row”– to            on education is as great in Chinatown as anywhere
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    make Park Row the centerpiece of a landscaped                else in the region. There is further recognition that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    campus open to the community.                                many Chinatown workers need to be re-trained for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Linkages           27
                                                     redesigning the surface as a Chinese garden shared
                                                     by Chatham Green and the proposed Chatham

                                                                                                                                                                                                             RY S
                                                                                                                                                                                                            BE R
                                                     Square cultural center.                                                             CA




                                                                                                                                                         ET         Pacific Rim


                                                                                                                                                                   Office District

                                                     New Bowery




                                                     Fully aligning Bowery/Water Street would not only


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          e of


                                                     make up for any limitations placed on Park Row; it                                                                                                                             Canal/
                                                     would also create an entry into Lower Manhattan
                                                     and through Chinatown equal in power to                     Government
                                                                                                                   Center                                             RE
                                                     Broadway.                                                                                                                                                                              eet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ay Main Str
                                                                                                                                                                                                               East Broadw
                                                                                                                                                 Learning                                                     Redesign
                                                     Recommendations:                                                                            Campus
                                                     Rename the alignment. Bowery, Pearl Street, St.
Park Row at the center of a landscaped campus.       James Place, Water Street: this is one alignment                                                                 2 Redesign
Photo from Robert Cameron’s Above New York                                                                                                                             Underpass
                                                     with four names. The first step is to simplify: why    FU
more diverse and better-paying jobs, more and        not bring the Water Street name up to Chatham                    ST
                                                                                                                        R                                                                        Chinatown

more often found outside of the enclave. The         Square; or the Bowery name down to the Brooklyn                                1
                                                                                                                                                                                  B   RO
                                                                                                                                                                                         O   KL
                                                                                                                                                     South Street                              YN
America’s Chinatown vision is to create a virtual    Bridge underpass. In fact, this portion of the road                                               Seaport
                                                                                                           The Bowery to Water Street: this new
campus for education and job training in the area    was originally named New Bowery.
                                                                                                           alignment would be a powerful, direct
framed by Foley Square, Brooklyn Bridge, St. James                                                         route to Lower Manhattan.
                                                     Restore transit. The elevated subway once ran
and Worth Street – to replace a security zone with
                                                     along this alignment; and the Second Avenue
a landscaped amenity shared with the community.                                                            buried creek. Ever since, the square has presented
                                                     subway will some day. Until then and maybe after,
                                                                                                           a Gordian knot of elevated subways, roads,
The campus would be the physical expression of       the Transit Authority should operate a shuttle bus
                                                                                                           crosswalks, etc. It was recently redesigned to
joint programs potentially involving Murry           here. As in Hong Kong, the buses could feature
                                                                                                           channelize the traffic flow between Bowery and
Bergtraum Business High School and Pace              graphics portraying Chinese culinary treats,
                                                                                                           Park Row. With the more recent closing of Park
University (which both adjoin the campus) and        thereby increasing awareness of how close Mott
                                                                                                           Row, Chatham Square is now dysfunctional for
others (that could utilize surplus space in the      Street is to Wall Street.
                                                                                                           vehicles as well as pedestrians.
adjoining NYS Motor Vehicle Building or nearby PS
23 school building).                                 Chatham Square                                        Chatham Square also presents the greatest
                                                     The biggest obstacle to the Bowery/Water Street       opportunity for creating an exciting meeting place
Upgrade other open spaces. One idea is to build
                                                     realignment is at Chatham Square. The square          and focal point. The Square joins the (Cantonese)
garage under the Chatham Green parking lot
                                                     originally got its odd shape from a bend in a now-    Historic Chinatown and (Fukienese) East Broadway.
(gaining the co-op an extra revenue source) and
28       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
Chatham Green, Chatham Towers and Confucius                                                                                far more attractive) Kim Lau Square; safer                  Worth Street. This prominence invites its reuse as a
Plaza anchor it as one of the best residential                                                                             crosswalks; and more room for grander Second                cultural, educational or community center
addresses in Chinatown; just as bank and office                                                                            Avenue subway entries, taxi stands, stops for the           featuring exemplary design. Again, funding might
buildings anchor it as a center of commerce. Place                                                                         dollar vans, attractive bus shelters, etc.                  be forthcoming because of the Park Row
naming (Kim Lau Square), the American Legion                                                                                                                                           controversy and Second Avenue subway
                                                                                                                           The major impediment is the fact that the Square
memorial, and statuary mark its symbolic                                                                                                                                               construction.
                                                                                                                           was just rebuilt. That design is now obsolete. The
                                                                                                                           probable need to mitigate any complete or partial           Involve the community. The most complex
Recommendations:                                                                                                           closing of Park Row, as well as the construction of         discussions in the workshops had to do with the
                                                                                                                           the Second Avenue subway, provide the oppor-                interplay of design, traffic and implementation at
Redesign Chatham Square with the pedestrian
                                                                                                                           tunity to fund a Chatham Square that serves as              Chatham Square, inclusive of Park Row. Nothing
held paramount. The accompanying map shows
                                                                                                                           Chinatown’s prime address and central meeting               should be designed let alone decided without full
one possible configuration, in which Bowery is
                                                                                                                           place.                                                      resident and business representation.
aligned with Water Street, Worth Street is aligned
with East Broadway, and redundant roads are                                                                                Redevelop the commercial building on the
                                                                                                                                                                                       Avenue of the Immigrants
closed.                                                                                                                    south side of Chatham Square as a community
                                                                                                                           icon. This building is undistinguished and                  Allen Street (inclusive of Pike Street) is historically
The benefits are a vastly simplified intersection,                                                                                                                                     where Little Italy/Chinatown met the Lower East
                                                                                                                           underutilized. Yet it marks a focal point for
easing traffic flow; wider sidewalks; a larger (and                                                                                                                                    Side. Instead of being a divider, it should be
                                                                                                                           Bowery, East Broadway, Mott Street, Park Row and
                                                                                                                                                                                       celebrated as common ground.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Robert Moses, the master builder of highways, is
                                                      MOTT ST

                                                                                                                                                                                       responsible for Allen Street’s current design as a

 Chatham Square



                                                                                                                                                                                       speedway. Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of
                                                                                                                                                                                       Eastern Parkway as well as Central Park, should
                                                                                                                                                                                       inspire its redesign as a boulevard.
                                 ET                                                                      Taxi
                                                                                                         Stand Vendors
                                                                             Plaza                   Kim Lau
                                                                                                                         EAST BRO
                                                                                                                                                                                       “Boulevard” Allen Street. Appropriate design
                                      Chinese                        New
             ROW                      Garden                         Plaza
                                                     Cultural or                         Second                                                                                        features might include (1) taking down the now-
                                                     Community                           Avenue
                                                     Reuse                               Subway
                                                                                         Entries                                                                                       battered fence; (2) on-street parking on both sides
                                                                                     & Bus
                                                                                                   Church                                                                              of the center walkway; (3) "traffic-calming" the
                                                Access                               Drop-off
                                                                                                                                             The now dysfunctional layout of Chatham   southbound lanes (Allen Street connects to the
                                                                                                                                             Square can be replaced by a simplified    northbound First Avenue—the southbound lanes

                                                                                                                                             intersection that enlarges and enhances

                                                                                                                                             Kim Lau Square.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Linkages          29
                                      Speedway today                         Boulevard tomorrow
                                                                                                              Hispanic, and most recently Chinese. Perhaps the
                                                                                                              Tenement Museum could have a presence on Allen
                                                                                                              Street, onto which it backs. The Place Matters
                                                                                                              program founded by City Lore and the Municipal
                                                                                                              Arts Society should be engaged. Other partners
                                                                                                              include the Chinese Christian Herald Crusades, the
                                                                                                              Fujian American Association, and United Fujianese
                                                                                                              of America. City Councilmember Alan Gerson is
                                                                                                              supporting a coalition effort to co-name Allen
                                                                                                              Street as "The Avenue of the Immigrants."
              Co-naming of Allen/Pike Street                                                                  Wayfinding
          “Avenue of the Immigrants” is the
            start of a strategy to make this a
                                                                                                              You can’t get there from here if you don’t know
        meeting ground between Chinatown
         and the Lower East Side, instead of                     wider sidewalks?       wider median?         the way. And for most visitors, the ways to and
                the speedway shown above.
                                                                                                              through Chinatown are something of a mystery.
                                                                                                              Most New Yorkers think the entry point is the
                                                                                                              subway stop at Broadway and Canal; but this is as
are redundant); (4) striated crosswalks and other      Relate Allen Street’s redesign to new public and       close to Chatham Square as the City Hall, East
improvements to create safer pedestrian crossings;     private investments. The boulevard should              Broadway, Fulton Street and Grand Street subway
(5) adding bicycle lanes; and (6) widening of the      feature a public market between East Broadway
sidewalks and/or center walkway. As at Mulry           and Canal (where a bend in the road invites a
Square, these improvements could be tested             wider plaza instead of parking). The City should
through experiments.                                   up-zone to promote residential development.
                                                       Perhaps the prominent former Jarmulovsky’s Bank
Landscape Allen Street. A boulevard is primarily
                                                       building at Canal Street can be reused as a “virtual
about greenery and the pedestrian experience.
                                                       town hall” bringing together neighborhood
The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR)
has committed funds to re-green and re-pave part
of Allen Street’s center walkway. This investment      Relate Allen Street’s redesign to the Lower East
should anticipate the far-reaching improvements        Side’s history. Allen Street has demarcated the
put forward here.                                      boundary between a succession of ethnic groups –
                                                       African-American, Irish, German, Italian, Jewish,
30      America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
stops. Once in Chinatown, most visitors are unsure    augmented by lighting under the Brooklyn Bridge;     Historic Chinatown and East Broadway; to the
how to find East Broadway, MoCA and other             infill development; orientation maps at Chatham      proposed transportation hub at East Broadway and
potential destinations.                               Square; and banners for cultural events within the   Forsyth; to weekend parking; and along the roads
                                                      landmark Manhattan Bridge colonnade. South           leading down to the waterfront, especially
“Wayfinding” provides an answer to these
                                                      Street Seaport is only a ten-minute walk to          Allen/Pike Street. A final priority is a Chinatown
problems. It refers to a variety of strategies that
                                                      Chatham Square – if only people knew it.             Heritage Trail that not only orients visitors, but also
include but go beyond signage.
                                                                                                           celebrates the neighborhood’s rich history.
                                                      Proceed to other pedestrian routes. The next
                                                      priority is likely the walkways through the
Start with the new Bowery/Water Street                Government Center and along Worth Street,
alignment. The Renaissance Economic                   critical to Chinatown’s lunch trade. At present,
Development Corporation has secured a small           these walkways are not clearly demarcated, and
grant from the NYC Department of Small Business       crossing Worth Street is unsafe.
Services to jumpstart Wayfinding on this critical
                                                      Still other priorities include Wayfinding: at the
path. Ideas include: discrete directional signage;
                                                      proposed Baxter/Walker/Canal triangle; between
                                                                          Wayfinding includes a
                                                                          heritage trail, bus
                                                                          shuttles, as well as
                                                                          signage and maps.
                                                                          Photo of Hong Kong bus
                                                                          from National Geographic,
                                                                          photo of sidewalk arrow
                                                                          from Bernard Rudofsky’s
                                                                          Streets for People, sign
                                                                          imagery from San Francisco
                                                                          designed by SOM.
                                                                                                                                              Linkages          31
32   America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                          The Chinese-American population of the Lower           East Side/Chinatown will lose its ethnic and mixed-
                                          East Side/Chinatown has more than doubled since        income quality). These priorities need not be
                                          the 1960s, to approximately 50,000 out of 80,000       inimical, as both San Francisco and Vancouver
                                          residents, with roughly 1,400 people still             demonstrate in their Chinatowns.
Unifying the Lower East Side/ Chinatown
                                          immigrating from Asia to Chinatown each year.
                                                                                                 Development of
AFFORDABLE                                The need for affordable housing is particularly
                                          acute in Chinatown, where thousands of residents
                                                                                                 Affordable Housing
HOUSING                                   live in cramped, dilapidated apartments at rents
                                          that consume large percentages of their small
                                                                                                 There are two distinct development opportunities
                                                                                                 in the Lower East Side/Chinatown. The first is
                                          incomes. Existing affordable apartments are            comprised of publicly-owned land that can and
• Better housing for existing tenants     hemorrhaging due to rent deregulation, the legal       should be targeted for affordable units. The
• New mixed-income housing                deregulation of publicly-assisted housing (“expiring   second is comprised of small vacant lots, private
                                          uses”), authorized rent increases, and questionable    parking lots, and empty or underutilized buildings.
• Contextual and infill development                                                              For this property, new zoning can create housing
                                          evictions. Gentrification pressures from TriBeCa,
  on narrow streets                                                                              units by encouraging developers to re-consider
                                          NoLita and the East Village threaten to convert
                                          many buildings from affordable to luxury status.       sites previously maxed out. The challenge is how
                                                                                                 to assure that these units are, in fact, affordable.
                                          Our recommendations are a recipe of four
                                          ingredients: production and rezoning; preservation     An additional challenge is how to promote new
                                          and tenant protection. We call for a total of 5,000    housing development that fits within the built
                                          affordable housing units over the next ten years,      context of the community. There are two distinct
                                          not only through new construction but also             built environments in the Lower East
                                          through preservation of affordable units. The          Side/Chinatown. The first is made up of small
                                          breakdown is 2,250 low-income rentals, 2,250           blocks with a 25-foot subdivision pattern (set by
                                          middle-income rentals and homeownership                the 1911 Commissioner’s Plan for New York City),
                                          apartments, and 500 supportive housing units for       typically yielding narrow buildings with twenty
                                          elderly and special needs occupants.                   units atop stores, and an active street life. The
Residents and stakeholders are                                                                   second is made up of superblocks, assembled in
adamant: new development is
welcome if it provides affordable
                                          Thus, the community is equally pro-development         connection with redevelopment and Urban
housing.                                  (since it can yield better quality housing and         Renewal plans from the 1930s through the 1960s,
                                          housing for upwardly mobile Chinese-Americans)         usually yielding “towers in the park.” The resulting
                                          and anti-displacement (since otherwise the Lower
                                                                                                                        Affordable Housing              33
        Grand Street
                                                                                                                                                           Essex Street Market
         Henry Street
                                                                                                                                                           Pike Place
                                                                                        Some “Ready-to-Go” Sites
     NY Post Building                                                                   Though largely built-out, there are
                                                                                        ready-to-go sites in addition to infill
development opportunities can be characterized as      first best guess of what these rules might be: (1)               Promote homeownership. Only 6 percent of all
“infill”; except along Delancey Street, where there    Mandate an inclusionary housing component for                    units are owner-occupied, one-third Manhattan’s
is a remaining assemblage created by Urban             all developments over 50 units. (2) Set the                      average. In all public dispositions and subsidies,
Renewal.                                               mandate at 10 percent for all private development,               co-op and condo housing should be preferred over
                                                       20 percent for all upzoned and publicly supported                rental housing, even though it might result in
                                                       development, and 50 percent for all City-owned                   lower revenues.
Mandate affordable housing. The participants in        land. (3) Allow offsite transfers within the
                                                                                                                        Upzone facing wide arterials, major parks and
RCI are adamant: new housing development must          neighborhood. Lastly, (4) require a range of
                                                                                                                        the waterfront. These settings provide the
be tied to housing rules that assure a mix of tenant   incomes.
                                                                                                                        breathing room needed for larger buildings.
incomes. Upzoning and City dispositions are
                                                       Housing advocates have called for citywide                       Significant increases in zoning should be explored:
anathema without mixed-income housing.
                                                       inclusionary housing. Regardless, it should be                   most tenements are already built at a density that
Much work needs to be done to arrive at strong         employed in the Lower East Side/Chinatown. This                  exceeds the underlying zoning limits. Given the
but fair rules. The following ideas represent only a   remains the last affordable family neighborhood in               small lots and high assemblage/relocation costs,
                                                       Manhattan south of 96th Street.                                  tall and skinny (“sliver”) buildings should be
34       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
Downzone along narrow streets. In the 1970s,           The nearby Cooper Square Urban Renewal Area
the City adopted special district zoning for Little    was the City’s other major stalled Urban Renewal
Italy that helped pave the way for the generic         development, until just this past year. Its new plan
contextual zoning rules popularized in the 1990s.      involved a task force of key stakeholders who were
So much the better: these new zoning rules should      pressed to come to terms so as to take advantage
be employed to protect Ludlow Street, Orchard          of unusually sanguine market conditions. The
Street and the other narrow streets lined with         process yielded 150 units of affordable housing,
tenements and low-rises.                               needed large-format retail, a major indoor
                                                       recreation center, a community garden, and
Rethink the “towers in the park” campuses,
                                                       superior architecture.
sometimes. Many Housing Authority projects,
when they were constructed, did not utilize the full   Look to other City-owned sites. SPURA is not the

                                                                                                                Possible Zoning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         E4                                              TH

                                                                                                                Framework                                                                                                                                                                                                     TH

                                                                                                                           E AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      PR                                 C6-3                                                                                      ST                          TH
development capacity per the zoning. In select         only publicly-owned site worth looking at for                       M1-5A                                                                        IN                                                     R7-2                                               E3                                                     ST          R7-2

                                                                                                                                                                                                          CE                                                                                                             RD

                                                                                                                       F TH
                                                                                                                M1-6                                                                                                                                                                                                          ST

                                                                                                                              M1-5B                                                                                                                                                                               ND




places, these campuses would be improved by            housing development. Additional sites are either                                                                                                                        C6-2                                                                               ST

                                                                                                                                                                                              M1-5B                                                                                                                                    OU

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     C6-1                                                               NS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 STA                                                         T

building low-rise residential/commercial structures    underutilized and/or have present uses (like                                                                                                                                                                                                                  T


















along an existing or newly-created street. The         parking) that can be incorporated into new




                                                                                                                                                                           C                                                                                                               LAN






                                                                                                                                                                                 AL                          C6-2G                                                                                      T









                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LO W
prime example is along St. James Place.                development. Because the land costs can be





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CH R
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            C6-2B                                            ME

                                                                                                                                         C6-4A                                                                                                     HE                                                                             ST

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              RS                                                       R8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        C6-2                                                     R7-2

                                                       considerably cheaper than market rate, the                                                 WO


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            C6-2                                              GR
But a word of caution: most of the neighborhood’s
                                                                                                                                                             RT                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           W IL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 LI AM
                                                                                                                                                               H                                 C6-1                                 C6-1G                                                                                                                                                                                              S
                                                                                                                                                                           ST                                                                                  C6-
                                                       housing on these parcels would be ripe for                                                                                                                 DIVISION

                                                                                                                     AM                                                                                                     ADWAY

campuses are attractive, and offer welcome open                                                                                                                                                                     EAST BRO

                                                                                                                             R                                                                                                                                        HENRY ST

                                                                                                                                 SS                                                                                                                                                                  R7-2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         N ST
                                                       affordable units.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                PIKE ST
                                                                                                                LM                                                                                                                                                        MADISON

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MERY ST



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               NEUR ST

space in an unusually dense community. What is




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        S ST






not broken should not be fixed.
                                                                                                                                                 O   OK                                                                                                M1-4                         H ST

                                                                                                                                                          LY                                                                                                                                                                                M1-4                                                                              er
                                                       Preservation of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Riv


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            M AN
                                                                                                                                        R8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      East



Look to the Cooper Square process for SPURA.           Affordable Housing                                       Zoning for Development and
The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) –           More and more landlords are evicting rent-               The contextual zoning (in red) should
comprised of several blocks of vacant and                                                                       be expanded to take in the narrow
                                                       regulated tenants and renovating their buildings to      streets. Meanwhile, the upzoning (in
underutilized property mainly on the south side of     garner much greater profit. More and more                green) should be expanded to include
Delancey Street – presents the most significant new                                                             selected sites adjoining wide streets
                                                       tenants, especially long-term senior citizens with       and parks.
development opportunity in the neighborhood. It        rent-regulated units, find themselves the victims of
also remains one of the most controversial and         landlord harassment and illegal evictions. In
stalled developments in the city. A creative           addition, there are abiding problems of code
breakthrough is needed. Community consensus is         violations and overcrowding.
                                                       The statistics are daunting: 60 percent of all units
                                                       are over 70 years old, comprised mostly of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Affordable Housing                                                                                                                                                   35
                                                    Recommendations:                                         long-term rent protections; and (4) advocating for
                                                                                                             the extension of rent stabilization to units built
                                                    Improve enforcement. This starts with increased          after 1974.
                                                    inspections. There is a bill before the City Council
                                                    calling for cellar-to-roof inspections that can be       Protect private non-subsidized units. Many of
                                                    initiated by tenant associations and/or local            the rents in such buildings are too low for a
                                                    nonprofit housing groups. Passage is critical.           landlord to initiate repairs. Unfortunately, the few
                                                                                                             landlords that do renovate often scheme to force
                                                    It may also involve a housing court based on the         out existing low-income tenants. Two initiatives to
                                                    community court model. The court would be sited          counter this epidemic are: provide favorable low-
                                                    locally, enabled to make fast rulings, and use           interest loans to landlords who can make the
                                                    community service as punishment. Given that              needed repairs in an economic fashion,
                                                    most landlords and renters are in fact Chinese, and      conditioned on maintaining the affordability of the
                                                    often from the same family network, arbitration          units; and make funds available for tenants or non-
                                                    may be an option.                                        profits to purchase the property from the landlord
                                                                                                             in order to maintain affordability in perpetuity.
                                                    It could also encompass the “Lower Manhattan
                                                    Anti-Eviction Network” recommended by                    Augment the Lower Manhattan Affordable
                                                    University Settlement House. The Network                 Housing Trust. AAFE has raised close to $2 million
Neighborhood housing is                             involved an alliance with AAFE, the Legal Aid            in funds from foundations and corporations in
roughly one-half tenements                          society, and others, to provide counseling,
and one-half towers-in-the-park                                                                              order to provide low-interest loans for renovation
and other larger format                             advocacy and technical assistance to tenants.            and new construction of affordable rental and
apartment buildings.
                                                                                                             homeownership units in Manhattan south of
                                                    Offset “expiring use.” The Lower East
                                                                                                             Houston Street. The Trust Fund can be a source of
                                                    Side/Chinatown has over 2,500 units of housing
tenements; 20 percent of all tenement units have                                                             low-interest loans to landlords in exchange for
                                                    that are in the Limited Dividend Mitchell-Lama,
substandard kitchens; 45 percent substandard                                                                 long-term rent protections. Additional funding
                                                    Section 8, and other subsidized programs that
bathrooms; and 65 percent heat problems.                                                                     mechanisms should be explored, such as allocation
                                                    have time limits on their affordability mandates.
Overcrowding remains significant: 35 percent of                                                              of municipal fees and other dedicated public
                                                    These endangered units should be protected by:
Chinatown’s units are overcrowded by U.S. Census                                                             revenue streams.
                                                    (1) increasing the availability of rental vouchers for
standards; compared to 5 percent for Manhattan.
                                                    tenants; (2) arranging for negotiated purchase of
As to displacement: at 200 to 400 units per year,
                                                    buildings by tenants or a nonprofit entity; (3)
the loss of affordable apartments is five to ten
                                                    arranging for low-interest loans with either tax
times greater than during the 1970s.
                                                    abatements or grants to landlords in exchange for
36       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                          There was a time when Chinatown catered to the                                     Population Change in Chinatown
                                          needs of a population almost exclusively made up                                 100000
                                          of men with little time off from work, dormitory-        Demographics                      82,065       +4%         84,840
                                                                                                   at a Glance:             80000
                                          style living, social clubs, gambling halls, and fast                                                               28%
Unifying the Lower East Side/ Chinatown                                                            The Lower East                     40%
                                                                                                                                                  -28%     (23,389)
                                          food restaurants.                                        Side/ Chinatown’s        60000
                                                                                                   population is
                                                                                                   mostly comprised         40000
                                          In the 1940s, the alliance of China and the United
                                                                                                   of Chinese                         60%                    72%       Asian
                                          States against Japan led to some liberalization in       immigrants, with         20000   (49,402)               (61,451)
NEIGHBORHOOD                              racist immigration laws. Further liberalization in
                                          1965 opened the gates wider for families.

                                                                                                   low incomes, and
                                                                                                   an increasing senior
                                                                                                                                     1990                     2000
                                                                                                   Source: US Census
                                          Chinatown sprawled to the north and east, into
• The Greening of                         Little Italy and much of the Lower East Side;
  the Lower East Side/Chinatown           industrial and government districts barred             Lower East Side                     Race and Nativity of
• A Sara Roosevelt Park                   expansion to the west and south.                       inclusive of what is               Chinatown Population
  and Commons                                                                                    today Chinatown.                           2000
                                          Meanwhile, the more affluent and mobile Chinese-
• Better access and services                                                                     Columbus Park                                           Native-
                                          American families left Chinatown for Queens and                                                                Asian
                                                                                                 (originally called                  Non-Asian            24%
                                          Brooklyn. This trend was documented as early as                                              28%
                                                                                                 Paradise Park), Sara
                                          the 1970s. And why not? In recent surveys, while
                                                                                                 Roosevelt Parkway,
                                          one-out-of-five residents felt that Chinatown is a                                                   Foreign-Born
                                                                                                 Seward Park, and the                             Asian
                                          better place to live today than three years ago,                                                         48%
                                                                                                 open spaces built in
                                          one-out-of-three felt that it is worse.
                                                                                                 connection with
                                          As a live/work enclave, mixed-use district,            publicly supported
                                          Chinatown is one of the great success stories of       housing all came out of the slum improvement
                                          New York City. It is both an economic engine and       movement that Riis helped to launch.
                                          a social powerhouse. Maintaining its vitality
                                                                                                 And the good fight needs fighting, still. Most of
                                          depends on people as much as place. Making
                                                                                                 the existing park space is sorely in need of repair
                                          Chinatown into a neighborhood of choice requires
Thanks to Immigration reforms,                                                                   and improvement. Half of the neighborhood’s
Chinatown has shifted from an all male
                                          attending to the quality of life it offers.
                                                                                                 streets are barren stretches. Compared to
society to a family neighborhood.
                                                                                                 Manhattan in general and Lower Manhattan in
                                          Parks and Open Space
                                                                                                 particular, the neighborhood has far higher
                                          In the nineteenth century, Jacob Riis documented       population densities, more children, more
                                          the appalling density and lack of open space in the
                                                                                                                          Family Neighborhood                            37
                                                                                                         should be restored or rethought. The     (4) widening the crowded Grand Street sidewalks,
  Chinatown Population Growth
                                                                                                         over-taxed fields should continue to     featuring (5) truly grand entries at the subway
                                                                                                         be upgraded with Astroturf – which is    station; (6) a pedestrian bridge across Delancey
                                                                                                         now much more comfortable to use.        Street to unify the north and south halves of the
                                                                                           (50% Women)
              60000                                                           59,000                     The NYC Department of Parks &            park; (7) removal or lowering of the fences; (8)
                                                                           (49% Women)
                                                                                                         Recreation’s (DPR’s) extensive effort    more night lighting; and (9) residential upzoning
                                                                                                         to rehab area parks should be lauded.    along the park.
                                                                                                         The partnering of DPR and Friends of
              30000                                                                                                                               Programming ideas include: (1) an ice skating rink
                                                            (43% Women)                                  Columbus Park should be emulated.
                                                                     25,000                                                                       at the southern end; (2) a café in the center; (3) an
              20000                                               (35% Women)
                                                                                                         Revitalize Sara Roosevelt Parkway.       adventure playground opposite Sun Yat-Sen Junior
              10000         4,000                      11,000
                         (7% Women)                 (26% Women)                                          DPR has been systematically              High; (4) multi-venue special events – taking
                  0                                                                                      renovating this park; and LMDC has       advantage of the park’s long skinny layout; and
     (1860)           1900   1910   1920   1930   1940    1950    1960   1970   1980   1990    2000
                                                                                                         allocated $3 million to this cause.      maybe (5) underground parking.
                                                  Women                     Families
                                                  to immigrate
                                                                            to immigrate
                                                                                                         But in some Second Avenue subway
                                                                                                                                                  One final idea: Robert Moses built this park to
                                                                                                         construction plans, as much as a third
                                                                                                                                                  honor his patron, Governor Al Smith, a local boy
                                                                                                         of the park will be disturbed. This
                                                                                                                                                  who made good. The park’s name honors the
overcrowded housing, less per capita parkspace,                                            threat may provide the opportunity to dramatically
                                                                                                                                                  mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt. A new name is in
and less resident mobility. These factors amplify                                          improve the park, on the order of what was done
                                                                                                                                                  order: perhaps “Chrystie Commons.”
the need to make the most of its existing resources.                                       for both Bryant Park and Union Square.
Recommendations:                                                                           Ideas to improve
                                                                                           the park’s access
Emphasize active recreation and programming                                                include: (1) traffic
in neighborhood parks. The waterfront is the                                               calming or even
best place to provide much needed relief from the                                          turning Chrystie
urban landscape of the Lower East                                                          and Forsyth Streets
Side/Chinatown. East River Park is the best place to                                       into a one-way pair,
provide major park facilities.                                                             allowing (2) more
                                                                                           diagonal parking, as
The other, more centrally located parks need to be
                                                                                           well as (3)
fully programmed. The wasted spaces in, for
example, Seward Park should be filled. Derelict
                                                                                           perimeter sidewalks;
playgrounds in the public housing developments
38            America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
Pursue extensive street-tree planting and
landscaping. The DPR Greenstreets
Program can and should have an exemplary
impact in the Lower East Side/Chinatown,
thanks also to funding from the LMDC.
One missing component is significant
volunteerism. In other neighborhoods,
community garden and block associations
have been the main sources of volunteers.
In Chinatown, tenant groups and family
associations should be tapped.
Historically, half of Chinatown’s employed
residents walk to local jobs. With the
decline in the garment and growth in other
sectors, this proportion will decrease; and
the need for more access out of the
neighborhood will increase.
Provide additional bus access to the
otherwise inaccessible far eastern
reaches of the neighborhood. One idea
involves a new cross-town bus for the
length of Broome and Grand Streets; this      Renovated playgrounds, new attractions,
                                              a tea house, a Grand Street subway entry
might entail either a contra-flow lane on     and a bridge across Delancey can
Chrystie or a buses-only lane through a       transform Roosevelt Parkway into a
                                              neighborhood “Commons.”
narrow part of Roosevelt Park. The East       Aerial from Robert Cameron’s Above New
                                              York, café in Union Square designed by Eric
Side light rail proposal proved politically   Goshow, ice skating rink and Pioneer steps
troublesome; a rubber tire route that adds    from Gehl & Gempzoe, bridge image from
                                              the New York Times.
access to the waterfront and Lower
Manhattan may prove more popular.
                                                                                            Family Neighborhood   39
  Possible New Bus Routes
                                                                              To                                      Possible Street                                                                                                                     Simplify street patterns and add
                                                                              Square                                  Network
     New Bus Route
     Bowery/Water Shuttle
                                        New Crosstown Bus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          diagonal parking. One vestige of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          past street improvements and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Urban Renewal has been a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          perplexing arrangement of street
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          directions and street geometries.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A simpler system of mostly one-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             W IL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LI AM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          way streets would ease congestion,
                                                                                           W IL                                                                                                                                             SBUR
                                                                                                  LI AM
                                                                                                          SBUR                                                                                                                                     G BR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          improve safety, and add at least
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          250 parking spaces dispersed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          throughout the community.
                K   LY

                                                                                                                                                                             Pedestrian Zone      West & SouthboundRiv
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       er                                 (By comparison, a similarly sized
                                                                                      er                                                                                                                    Streets
                                                                                                                                                                                                  One-way s t

                                                                                                                                                              M AN
                                    Street                                       iv                                                                                          Two-way Roads               Ea

                                                                          East R

                                                                                                                                                                H AT
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          parking garage would cost about

                                                                                                                                                                                                  East & Northbound

                                                                                                                                                                     TA N
                                                             AT TA

                                                                                                                                                                             Bridges & Highways   One-way Streets


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          $5 million, plus the cost of any
 Possible Parking                                                                                                     Possible
 Improvements                                                                                                         Bicycle Network                                                                                                                     land acquisition.)
     Pedestrian Zone
     Underground/Remote Parking
     Diagonal/Added Parking                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Only one out of five neighborhood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          households own cars. Yet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          additional neighborhood parking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          has a number of indirect benefits.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          First, it makes it easier for the
                                                                                           W   IL LI
                                                                                                     AM   SBUR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             W   IL LI
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       AM   SBUR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   G BR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          regular family visits that are so
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          important to the social traditions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          of Chinese-American culture.
        BR                                                                                                                 BR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Second, it provides an amenity for
             OO                                                                                                                 OO
                  KL                                                                                                                    KL
                                                                                i ve
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 R iv
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        er                                the more affluent families that are


                                                                         East R                                                                                                                           East

                                                             AT TA

                                                                                                                                                                 AT TA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          also part of the social mix of

In addition to more street trees and                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chinatown. Third, it has the
traffic-calming everywhere: new bus
routes, more bicycle routes, simplified                                                                                                                                                                                                                   potential to relieve the demand
street directions, and 200+ added on-                                                                                                                                                                                                                     placed on parking lots within the
street parking spaces can create a safer,
more accessible, and attractive                                                                                                                                                                                                                           housing superblocks, thus freeing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          up space for landscaping and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          other improvements.
40                              America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
Social Services                                          The ideal would be its purchase to house
                                                         community organizations. This consolidation
The Lower East Side was the birthplace of the
                                                         would create a one-stop center for a panoply of
Settlement Movement. The Educational Alliance,
                                                         services; promote synergistic partnering; and
Hamilton-Madison House, Henry Street Settlement,
                                                         allow cost-effective sharing of conference rooms,
and University Settlement all remain active, locally.
                                                         copy equipment, etc.
The Chinese-American Planning Council augments
these place-based providers with a multi-site array
of social services. Other, smaller organizations are
also present. While inevitable gaps remain, these
have more to do with lack of funding than with
lack of institutional capacity.
With regard to funding, this plan can simply
reiterate the obvious: given their capabilities and
the extreme needs of their poor and largely
immigrant service populations, local organizations
deserve even greater financial support.
With regard to sites, two ideas are put forward.
The City and community should explore zoning
incentives for community space. New zoning
tools – contextual zoning and inclusionary housing
– could deal with community concerns. This opens
the way for requiring or providing incentives for at
least one floor of community space in connection
with significant upzoning on specific sites.
Create a “virtual” town hall in the former
Jarmulovsky Bank Building. This 1895 skyscraper
is centrally located at the intersection of East Canal
Street and Allen/Pike Street (the proposed “Avenue
of the Immigrants”). It is currently for sale.
                                                                                                             Family Neighborhood   41
42   America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                          The revitalization of New York City can be directly       In all, the vision is
                                          traced to its zero-tolerance and community-based          to tap the dyna-
                                          approach to its once pervasive crime problems.            mism of the
                                          The sustainability of America’s Chinatown is              Chinese immigrants
Unifying the Lower East Side/ Chinatown
                                          dependent on employing a similar approach to its          and entrepreneurs
BUSINESS                                  sanitation and street management problems.                who have given
                                                                                                    these old business
                                          Main Streets                                              districts new lives.
DISTRICTS                                 As Chinatown has spread, it has created new
                                                                                                    The population
                                                                                                    may be poor and
                                          business districts important as sources of services
                                                                                                    the profits may be
• A clean Chinatown                       and jobs. Each of these districts has its own
                                                                                                    marginal, but each
• Night Market                            character and will require its own set of strategies.
                                                                                                    district can be rich
                                                                                                                                 The map above shows the
• “Taste of a BID”                        Grand Street/Upper Mott is flourishing, and ready         in vitality and value.       “Main Streets” of Chinatown
                                                                                                                                 and the Lower East Side.
                                          for a “Main Street Management” strategy that
                                          deals with the nitty-gritty of night lighting,
                                          parking, etc.                                             Pursue “Main Street Management” strategies
                                                                                                    for Grand Street/Upper Mott. These include: (1)
                                          Canal Street east of Bowery is a shadow of its past,
                                                                                                    upgrade the Grand Street subway station; (2)
                                          and needs reinvention.
                                                                                                    expand bus service; (3) formalize dollar van stops;
                                          Bowery/Canal offer tremendous visibility to a             (4) provide shared garbage compactors and steam
                                          regional clientele instead of centrality for residents,   street-cleaning for Mott Street’s concentration of
                                          yielding specialty shopping (jewelry, lighting,           food sales; (5) provide a café and/or ice skating
                                          kitchen equipment).                                       rink in Roosevelt Park; (6) plant shade trees,
                                                                                                    provide benches, mount pedestrian-scaled lighting,
                                          Delancey Street’s north side is an integral part of
Chinatown’s expansion has spurred
                                                                                                    and prohibit solid rolldown gates; and (7) install
                                          the still thriving (but evolving) Lower East discount
new business districts, each posing its                                                             muni-meters to encourage parking turnover.
own opportunities.                        shopping district. On its south side, vacant and
                                          under-developed sites invite new building.                Enhance East Canal Street’s identity as a
                                                                                                    shopping street. Plans for Chrystie/Forsyth would
                                          East Broadway does not yet rise to the challenge of
                                                                                                    have the side benefit of enabling pedestrian
                                          being both a local main street and the regional
                                                                                                    improvements at the dangerous Bowery/Canal
                                          shopping destination for Chinatown’s newest
                                                                                                    intersection, thus expanding pedestrian use of East
                                          immigrants, from the Fujian province near Canton.
                                                                                                                             Business Districts          43
                                                                  being eclipsed by the growing number         Enhance East Broadway’s ability to serve local
                                                                  of Chinese-oriented convenience stores.      and regional functions. Pedestrians must push
                                                                  Market visibility ideas include: one-of-a-   past crowds, truckers, and vendors along East
                                                                  kind street lighting sponsored by            Broadway’s long blocks. Potential improvements
                                                                  different stores, and coordinated night      include: (1) a mid-block crossing, ideally proximate
                                                                  lighting of stores and buildings.            to (2) mid-block arcades to the north and south;
                                                                                                               (3) exciting lighting and signage, creating a
                                                                  Meanwhile, the number of kitchen
                                                                                                               corridor of light instead of a dim canyon; and (4)
                                                                  supply stores has declined, from 100 to
                                                                                                               muni-meters. As a visionary idea borrowed from
                                                                  65. Diversification ideas include:
                                                                                                               San Francisco’s Castro Street, the parking lane
                                                                  promotion as the “one-stop-shop” for all
                                                                                                               could be striated and available to pedestrians and
                                                                  the things that a restaurant (or new
                                                                                                               sales during peak shopping hours.
                                                                  home) needs; cookware, dishes, signage,
                                                                  menu printing, equipment, etc.; and a
Pedestrian improvements are
                                                       shared catalogue and/or website aimed at affluent
key to turning East Broadway
from a canyon-like hassle into                         bargain hunters.
a Main Street pleasure.
                                                       These three niches have the potential for synergy.
Canal. East Canal would also be anchored by            Ideas include: banners within the Manhattan
Roosevelt Park’s and Allen Street’s attractions.       Bridge colonnade; diagonal parking at Chrystie; a
Later, the same pedestrian and parking                 public art billboard along Canal; and a shared
improvements put forward for Grand Street would        wedding registry. The “Pacific Rim” office
be in order.                                           development should also mandate ground-floor
                                                       retail, to preserve space for these retailers.
Use joint marketing and distinctive streetscapes
to broaden the appeal of Bowery’s jewelry,             Promote anchor stores (with housing above) on
lighting and kitchen supply stores. The                Delancey Street. Large format stores such as a
Bowery/Canal jewelry district actually pre-dates the   Home Depot and Ranch 99 supermarket would be
47th Street Diamond District. Promotional ideas        major employers, and would draw new customers
include: a shuttle bus from the wedding licensing      to the area. Ranch 99 is a West Coast chain that is
                                                                                                               Specialty food stores, markets and
bureau in the Municipal Building, and placement        targeted to Asians but with broader appeal, not         maybe a Ranch 99 Asian
of jewelry makers on the perimeter of the malls.       unlike Fairway and Stew Leonard’s. Delancey             supermarket can make Chinatown
                                                                                                               a food buyer’s cornucopia – and an
                                                       Street’s superior subway and bridge/highway             asset for the Mayor’s plan to
The number of lighting stores has grown from
                                                       access would offset any impact on local vehicular       populate Lower Manhattan.
roughly 20 to 30 since 1968, yet the district is
44       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
The Manhattan Bridge underpass and bus transfer        Street Markets                                     Possible Vendor Locations
area is a bustling but dingy place. Potential
                                                       Vendors contribute to garbage and
improvements include: (1) exciting lighting to
                                                       pedestrian gridlock, but historically have
celebrate the Bridge’s architectural features; (2) a                                                                  Triangle
                                                       added excitement to the street experience
far safer and more attractive “Forsyth plaza”
                                                       of both Chinatown and the Lower East
featuring wider sidewalks and cafes; (3) parking for                                                                      Mulberry
                                                       Side. Some storefront merchants suffer
buses and an indoor ticket purchasing area on
                                                       from the added competition; others get
Forsyth Street north of Division; and (4) a changing
                                                       income from the vendors using their                                       Division St           East
display of public art on the abutting retaining                                                                                                        Broadway
                                                       sidewalks or storage space. The vendors                        Chatham                                      F Train
walls-an idea that the Asian-American Arts Centre                                                                     Square          Night
                                                       are erratic in their performance and                                           Market?
would like to pursue.
                                                       pervasiveness, but a fact of life. The
                                                       question is ultimately how to manage (not
                                                       banish) them.
                                                       Designate locations for vendors. The
                                                       most lucrative locations are the most
                                                       heavily walked streets – exactly where the
                                                       vendors are most problematic. A
                                                       compromise involves targeting the                                          Vendors and markets should be managed to
                                                                                                                                  generate more value and less conflict. A
                                                       adjoining but less congested spaces, such as Walker                        night market for existing store owners can,
                                                       Street at Canal, Mulberry just south of Canal,                             as in San Francisco, bring young Chinese-
                                                                                                                                  Americans back to Chinatown.
                                                       Division Street at Bowery, Market Street at East                           SF Night Market photo from Project for Public
                                                       Broadway, and Allen Street between East Canal and                          Spaces. Street vendor photo from Metropolis.
                                                       East Broadway.
                                                                                                                  with young Chinese-Americans. The best sites
                                                       Carry out a Night Market. The night market
                                                                                                                  would be at the proposed Forsyth Plaza, along
                                                       would be modeled on those in Singapore and
                                                                                                                  historic Market Street, or in the Allen Street plaza
                                                       Hong Kong. It would feature stalls for existing
                                                                                                                  at East Canal/East Broadway.
Bowery’s and Canal’s lighting, jewelry                 Chinatown merchants, rather than vendors; and
and restaurant supply districts should                 would have design flexibility to double as an              Arrange for vendors to join rather than beat
be marketed through distinctive
streetscape, wedding registries, public                outdoor performance space. If like its counterpart         the system. How about a stamp of approval from
art and web sites.
                                                       in San Francisco, it would be especially popular           a business association; or shared garbage
                                                                                                                                                Business Districts            45
compactors? Many of the vendors are already            This is not a new problem for the Lower East
organized, and many are said to be Fukienese           Side/Chinatown – where the streets are narrow;
immigrants, implying that their associations may       the population density is high (three times that of
be the best agents for such changes.                   Manhattan); and the constituents are poor and
                                                       new to the city. The overwhelming number of
Enforce regulations. Flouted regulations include:
                                                       businesses are food-related and/or vendors that
minimums of 12 feet for passersby, 20 feet from a
                                                       generate unusual amounts of garbage. There is a
store entry, and 10 feet from a crosswalk or subway
                                                       huge pass-through visitor and worker population.
exit; no use of stores or trucks for storage; no
payments to adjoining storeowners; no dumping          Chinatown has skirted disaster to date. One
of waste; in addition to certification by the NYC      shudders to think what would be the impact of a
Consumer Affairs Department. But as one police         SARS epidemic or a series of negative new stories.
officer on Grand Street proved, these regulations      Concerted action is needed as soon as possible.           Consider a community court. A community court
can be enforced.                                                                                                 could: (1) mete out community service sentences
                                                       Recommendations:                                          that fit the crime; (2) improve upon the present
Clean Streets                                                                                                    50/50 chance of vendor fines being paid; (3) be
                                                       Carry on the Shining Chinatown Campaign
                                                                                                                 joined to a local housing court; and (4) reference
In every visitor, resident and businessperson survey   launched by the Renaissance Economic
                                                                                                                 the Chinese tradition of arbitration by Higuam
of the past thirty years, when asked, every group      Development Corporation. This campaign
                                                                                                                 associations. Possible sites are in the NYS Motor
highlighted sanitation as the number one problem.      emphasizes volunteer clean-ups, funded through
                                                                                                                 Vehicle Building, or in connection with a new Fifth
It is bad for business, the residential quality of     volunteer payments by merchants. It also includes
                                                                                                                 Police Precinct building.
life, and perhaps worst of all, neighborhood and       attractive posters carefully worded to secure
ethnic pride.                                          Chinese-American interest but not foster negative
                                                       images among tourists. Like counterpart efforts in
                                                                                                                 Business Improvement District
                                                       Flushing, San Francisco and Vancouver, it has met         While the creation of a Business Improvement
                                                       with early success.                                       District has been controversial, it may be the best
                                                                                                                 mechanism for sustaining sanitation, in particular,
                                                       Consider a remote distribution center. This Civic
                                                                                                                 and marketing. All other efforts are doomed to be
                                                       Alliance idea needs study as to how to offset the
                                                                                                                 intermittent, as they depend on uncertain funding
                                                       added business cost of another step in the
                                                                                                                 sources and mandates.
                                                       distribution process, in light of the public benefit of
                                                       substituting small electric vans for large polluting      BIDs involve fees paid by commercial properties,
                                                       trucks on local streets.                                  controlled by a District Management Association
                                                                                                                 elected by the property owners, and dedicated to a
Street cleaning volunteers organized under
the Shining Chinatown campaign.
46       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
pre-approved BID plan. Some BIDs focus on                                                                      East Side BID fees, and likely less than what a great
projects (e.g., the Alliance for Downtown), others                                                             many stores now pay in garbage fines that would
on services (e.g., the Lower East Side BID).                                                                   go away.
Regardless, BIDs provide local property owners and
                                                                                                               Base the BID on total commercial square
businesses with enhanced clout when dealing with
                                                                                                               footage. This would reduce the burden on stores,
City agencies. There is now a BID for nearly every
                                                                                                               and tap banks and offices. It would exempt
important business district in the city – including
                                                                                                               garment factories as well as residential properties.
                                                                                                               Let the BID’s boundaries take their own course.
Many commercial property owners are wary of
                                                                                                               As one scenario: what if East Broadway wants in
paying for services typically borne by government.
                                                                                                               from the start, and Historic Chinatown holds off
Many merchants are put off by the extra costs
                                                                                                               until it sees how successful the BID is: so be it.
passed on to them. Sure enough, a recent effort
                                                      Keep costs down. One way is to share services;           The BID should not be forced upon any part of the
to create a BID in Historic Chinatown was aborted.
                                                      e.g., sanitation with the Lower East Side BID,           community. It should be part of building unity, not
A BID in Chinatown must proactively address
                                                      marketing with the Alliance for Downtown, and            fostering divisions.
these concerns.
                                                      offices with an existing Chinatown organization
Recommendations:                                      active in economic development.
Focus on the number one problem: sanitation.          Seek innovative BID funding tools. Vendors
The BID would be responsible for keeping              should pay their own way; and can afford to, if
sidewalks clear of garbage, steam street-cleaning,    reports are right that they typically pay as much as
compacters, Sunday garbage collection, and other      $3,000 per month to adjoining storeowners in
long-standing recommendations for which there is      addition to a “cost of business” of as much as $300
no implementation entity.                             per day in fines. Additional funding sources could
                                                      include: (1) ads on BID garbage cans, benches,
Build support through “a Taste of the BID.”           etc.; (2) assessments of billboards or other signage;
The City or Lower Manhattan Development               (3) fees for outdoor dining and sales; and (4)
Corporation should fund a one- or two-month           income from park or other concessions controlled
experiment involving BID sanitation services for      through master leases to the BID. There are
some part of Chinatown – perhaps East Broadway        precedents for virtually all of these revenue sources.
or Grand Street. Also, community support for
upzonings should be tied to property owner            Keep BID fees under $2 per square foot per
support for a BID.                                    year. This would yield an average of under $2,000
                                                      per year per business – comparable to the Lower
                                                                                                                                        Business Districts          47
48   America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                                      The first phase of work for the Rebuild Chinatown        RCI/AAFE can play a critical coordination role
                                      Initiative (RCI) was about learning and listening.       through continued advocacy fund raising and
                                      The plan presented here is about linking – issues,       technical assistance. Even still, both greater unity
                                      resources, vision and short-term implementation.         and resources are needed. As shown for Times
America’s Chinatown                   The next phase of work must be about leading             Square, the Hudson River Park, 42nd Street/Bryant
                                      through a group effort.                                  Park and Olympic X, visionary plans need potent
IMPLEMENTATION                        The multiplicity of tools and overlapping leadership
                                                                                               implementation commitments. Three are
                                                                                               proposed for America’s Chinatown.
                                      roles are clear from a partial list of what is already
                                                                                               Local Development Corporation
                                      • CREATE’s feasibility study for a cultural center,      A public/private partnership is needed to spur the
                                       funded by The Lower Manhattan Development               visionary plans for the waterfront, the Pacific Rim
                                       Corporation (LMDC) and community fundraisers            office district, and more. The models can range
                                                                                               from a subsidiary of the Empire State Development
                                      • The City of New York’s waterfront urban design
                                                                                               Corporation (like the Times Square Redevelopment
                                       study, directed by the NYC Economic
                                                                                               Corporation), an affiliate of the NYC Economic
                                       Development Corporation (EDC)
                                                                                               Development Corporation (like the Coney Island
                                      • LMDC’s and NYC Department of Parks &                   Development Corporation), a partnership of the
                                       Recreation’s park improvements efforts                  State and City (like the Hudson River Park
                                                                                               Authority), an independent not-for-profit (like the
                                      • LMDC’s circulation and access study, conducted
                                                                                               Jamaica Development Corporation), and even an
                                       by Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineers
RCI’s five ingredients for success:                                                            ad hoc alliance (as in Downtown Brooklyn).
• Shared vision
• Early implementation                • LMDC’s Chinatown marketing and tourism
                                                                                               We suspect that while any one of these models
• Constant outreach                    initiative
• Strategic alliances                                                                          would be better than none of them, that the best
• Collaborative leadership                                                                     model is likely a blend between the Hudson River
                                      • The NY Metropolitan Transportation Council’s
                                       Canal Area Transportation Study                         Park Authority and Coney Island Development
                                                                                               Corporation. This blend would assure State clout,
                                      • The CCBA and Asian American Federation’s               City commitment, and community empowerment.
                                       parking study, funded through a federal grant
                                       secured by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
                                                                                                                         Implementation              49
                                                       The second special district would be throughout        temporary basis. In Los Angeles Chinatown, local
                                                       the Lower East Side/Chinatown. Its emphasis            banks and donors privately funded a "Clean &
                                                       would be on affordable housing. It would tie new       Safe" program for several months before a majority
                                                       permissiveness on height and bulk to inclusionary      of property owners approved a BID that has
                                                       housing. Sliver buildings would be allowed.            sustained street cleaning, security, and marketing
                                                       Contextual zoning would be employed on side            since 2000. A similar experiment could be funded
                                                       streets. Pro-development would be reconciled           by the City or LMDC to provide services and a
                                                       with pro-affordable housing goals.                     "Taste of the BID" for a duration in a targeted area
                                                                                                              of Chinatown. A Chinatown BID will only move
                                                       Business and Cultural                                  forward if there is community support for it.
                                                       Improvement District
Continued consensus-building
is key to sustained enthusiasm.                        While the creation of a Business Improvement
One Example: the Allen/Pike                            District for Chinatown has been controversial, it
Street Visioning project.
                                                       may be the best way to deal with one of the oldest
                                                       problems in terms of improving quality of life and
                                                       attracting visitors: sanitation. The other major
Special District
                                                       benefit is that it gives Chinatown far greater clout
Two special districts are proposed.                    with City and State agencies.
The first would be for Historic Chinatown,             In order to address the concerns aimed at earlier
extending to the Pacific Rim office district along     efforts, we propose a number of innovations to
Canal and Bowery. Its emphasis would be on             make Chinatown’s BID more democratic and cost-
urban design. One key feature would be                 effective. These include: a voluntary approach as
guidelines on ground floor exteriors (like those for   to what parts of the neighborhood are in and out;
Little Italy) to enhance the pedestrian environment;   sharing services with adjoining BIDs; and charging
and another would be incentives to include cultural    vendors, billboards, and street advertising to help
and entertainment in the lower floors of future        pay for services, such as street cleaning, security,
Canal and Bowery towers. This special district is      marketing and promotion.                               Successful marketing by the Asian-
needed to express a more dynamic architectural                                                                American Business Development
blend of modern and traditional, feng shui and         The effectiveness of a BID for improving               Center, the Lower East Side BID and
                                                                                                              Renaissance EDC are examples of
new technologies, pedestrian amenities and             Chinatown’s business environment and image             early implementation.
skyline excitement.                                    could be determined through an experiment on a
50       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
One further innovation is proposed. The BID                                                                 Conclusion
should take a direct interest in promoting tourism
                                                                                                            This level of intervention does not come about
and culture in America’s Chinatown. There is
                                                                                                            easily. As along the Hudson River and at Times
plenty of precedent: the intervention of BIDs in the
                                                                                                            Square, this plan will require a commitment
restoration of Bryant Park and Union Square; the
                                                                                                            of decades, not simply years. But the benefits will
involvement of the Lower East Side BID in
                                                                                                            be ample.
operating a visitors center; and the marketing and
promotional activities conducted by the Alliance                                                            The last, affordable family neighborhood in
for Downtown. The Chinatown BID could be a                                                                  Manhattan south of 96th Street will be protected.
strong advocate for cultural and heritage tourism,                                                          One of the city’s leading tourist attractions will be
publish and circulate a regular calendar of events,                                                         more exciting than ever. A missing link in a
and manage the public spaces available for festivals                                                        network of riverfront parks and promenades will be
and events.                                                                                                 filled. The cultural life of Chinese-Americans across
                                                                                                            our nation will be enriched. A $6 billion financial
Coordination                                                                                                sector will anchor an employment and investment
                                                                                                            center. An ethnic enclave will be elevated to an
Three levels of coordination are envisioned.
                                                                                                            international meeting place, interwoven with the
The first is at the community level. RCI can                                                                civic and cultural life of a revitalized Lower
continue to provide both a forum for discussion                                                             Manhattan. Manhattan’s Chinatown will become
and decision-making, and credibility for fundraising                                                        America’s Chinatown.
and advocacy. The Community Boards and                 The Renaissance EDC’s volunteer
                                                       street-cleaning program is another
adjoining BIDs need to be more fully engaged;          example of early implementation.
perhaps a joint committee can be formed by the         Poster design by GRID
Councilmember(s). In time, the Chinatown BID
would be a major player here, too.                     responsibility resting with the NYC Department
                                                       of City Planning. Perhaps all that is needed is to
The second is at the governmental level. The           raise the prominence of selected Chinatown issues
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation                and opportunities – something that this plan
already has the mantle for coordination; as does       purports to do.
the Mayor’s Office; with much day-to-day
responsibility resting with the NYC Economic           The third level is the blend of the two. The
Development Corporation, and further                   America’s Chinatown LDC would be the logical
                                                                                                                                      Implementation            51
52   America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                  Sponsor:                                              Jason Bram        Federal Reserve Bank of NY
                  Asian Americans for Equality                          Cathy Burke       Cathy Burke Fine Jewelry
                  Rebuild Chinatown Initiative                          Carmen Chan       O’Mei Group (USA) Inc.
                                                                        Norman Chan       The Voice of U.S. Fujianese
                                                                        Katherine Chen    University Settlement
                                                                        Priscilla Chen
                  Rockefeller Brothers Fund
                                                                        Ran Chen
                  Carnegie Corporation of New York
                                                                        Wellington Chen   Planning Advocacy Group
                  Deutsche Bank
                                                                        Yihang Chen       Committee Against Anti-Asian
                  Consultant:                                                             Violence
                  Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, Inc.              Ignace Cheng      NYC Chinatown Promotion
                                                                                          and Tourism Association
                  Technical Support:                                    Wilson Cheng      Bestway Coach Express
                  Paul Eng-Wong, Eng-Wong Taub & Associates             Wendy Cheung      Chinese-American Youth
                  Report Graphic Design:
                                                                        William Cherkin   NY Store Fixture Company
                                                                        Chi-lu Chiang
                  Participants:                                         Lisa Chice        Lower East Side Tenement
                  Melissa Aase         University Settlement Society
                                                                        Amy Chin          NY Chinese Cultural Center
                  Aizaz Ahmed          NY Metropolitan Transportation
                                       Council (NYMTC)                  Jeanie Chin       Civic Center Residents
                  Arthur Baluch        Royal Lighting, Inc.
                                                                        Lillian Cho       Asian American Arts Alliance
                  Frank Bennardello Troy Findings, Inc.
                                                                        William Chong     Professional Business Institute
                  Vern Bergelin        Parsons Brinckerhoff
                                                                        Flora Chou
                  Evan Binkley         Binkley Mana Gallery
                                                                        Chung Fong Chu World of Vegetarian
                  Gerry Bogacz         NYMTC
                                                                        Kevin Chu         Garment Industry
                  Christopher Boyd NYC Comptroller’s Office                               Development Corporation
                                                                                          Acknowledgments               53
Shirley Chu                                       Chi F. Lam        Explore & Learn                 Colette Rossant     Dim Sum Go Go
Allen Cohen         Chinese-American Planning     Amy Lee           Committee Against               James Rossant
                    Council                                         Anti-Asian Violence
                                                                                                    Dorothy Scarimbolo Henry Street Settlement
Sarah Crean         GIDC                          Enoch Lee         JPMorgan Chase
                                                                                                    Jean Shia
L.Mary Curiel-Llanes Gouverneur Hospital          Leo Y. Lee        OCA
                                                                                                    Brandon Smith       Lower Manhattan
John David          LF Lapidary                   Mae Lee           Chinese Progressive                                 Development Corporation
                                                                    Association                                         (LMDC)
Marc Elfassy        NY Equipment Dealers
                                                  Paul Lee          32 Mott Street General Store    Lonnie Soury        Soury Communications
Kelly Eng
                                                  Tanya Lee         Museum of Chinese in the        Susan Stetzer       Community Board 3
Jessica Fei                                                         Americas
                                                                                                    Irene Tan
Gary Fittermin      Light Visions                 K.P. Leung        Chung Shan Association
                                                                                                    Vincent Tom         Connie Jewelry Co.
Adam Friedman       NY Industrial Retention       Eddie Li          Click-to-Learn
                    Network                                                                         Lillian Tozzi       Little Italy Neighborhood
                                                  Kevin Li          Perfect Furniture & Lighting,                       Association
William Fung        Diamond & Gold Jewelry                          Inc.
                                                                                                    Narisara Vanichanan Lower Manhattan Cultural
David Garza         Henry Street Settlement       Beth Lieberman    Public Advocate’s Office                            Council
Roland Gebhardt     Rebuild Downtown Our          Marnie McGregor   NYIRN                           John Wang           Asian American Business
                    Town (RDOT)                                                                                         Development Center
                                                  Winnie Mou
Jameson Gong        Organization of Chinese                                                         Shi Dao Wang        Bright Point, Inc.
                    Americans (OCA)               Mark Newhouse     NYC Department of Small
                                                                    Business Services (DSBS)        Myron Watkins
Allen Gutwirth      Lite Elite II
                                                  Chee Ng           Asian American Arts Centre      Roger Weld
Sark Han            Galleria Moderna
                                                  Max Ng            Chinese American Business       Helena Wong         Committee Against Anti-
Larry Hofman        De Angelis Jewelers, Inc.                       Council                                             Asian Violence
Albert Hom                                        Po-ling Ng        CPC                             Karina Wong         Chinatown Manpower
Stephanie Hsu       Museum of Chinese in the      Peter Ong         Herald Youth Center
                    Americas                                                                        Tony Wong           Council for a Cleaner
                                                  Rae Rosen         Federal Reserve Bank of NY                          Chinatown
David Kallick       Fiscal Policy Institute
                                                  Josh Rosenbloom   NYC Department of               Guo Hua Wu
Ming Chiu Kwan      Diamond Line                                    Transportation (NYCDOT)
                                                                                                    Andy Yan            Asian American Federation
Louis Laearbonara   Consortium for Worker         Scott Rosenblum   NYC Comptroller’s Office                            of New York
54       America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
Ana Yee             Diamond City International    Amanda Burden         NYC Department of City        John Leo            LMDC
                    Gift                                                Planning
                                                                                                      Bill Moore          Independence Visitor Center
Ching Nor Yee       Diamond City                  Bill Castro           NYC Department of Parks
                                                                        and Recreation (NYCDPR)       George Moy          PCDC
Pam Yuen            USA Beauty School
                    International                 Vishaan Chakrabarti NYCDCP                          Nicole Ogg          NYCDCP
Bingo Jewelry                                     John W. Chin          Philadelphia Chinatown        Nina Reese          Multicultural Affairs Congress
                                                                        Development Corporation
Bowery Discount Hardware and Restaurant                                 (PCDC)                        Lois Regan          Community Board 3
Supplies, Inc.
                                                  Beverly Coleman       Philadelphia Neighborhood     Bill Salas          HACE
Exclusive Light                                                         Development Collaborative     Laurie Tamis        Deputy Mayor Daniel
Filaments, Inc.                                   Christopher Crowley NYCDPR                                              Doctoroff’s Office
Joyeria Pepin                                     Elaine Crowley        NYCDPR                        Petra Todorovich    Regional Plan Association
                                                                                                                          (RPA) and the Civic Alliance
King Glassware                                    Darren Fava           Center City District
                                                                                                      Patricia Washington Greater Philadelphia Tourism
O’Lampia Handcrafted Lighting                     Harriet Festing       Project for Public Spaces                         & Marketing Corporation
Sino Carpet, Inc.                                 Andrew Flamm          LES BID                       Steve Weber         NYCDOT
True Love Wedding Center & Photography            Christopher Glaisek   LMDC                          Beverly Willis      RDot
                                                  Rose Gray             Asociacion Puertorriquenos    Robert Yaro         RPA and the Civic Alliance
Additional Support and Interest
Provided by:                                                            en Marcha
                                                                                                      Cecilia Moy Yep     PCDC
Ruth Abram          Lower East Side Tenement      Juan Gutierrez        Hispanic Association of
                    Museum                                              Contractors and Enterprises   Volunteers:
Patricia Wilson Aden Neighborhood Tourism                                                             Fiona Chan
                     Network                      Andrew Hallerman      NYCDOT
                                                                                                      Lawrence Chang
Lauren Arana        Municipal Art Society (MAS)   Eva Hanhardt          MAS
                                                                                                      Betty Chen
Kim Baker           Lower East Side Business      Nicole Harnett        Downtown Alliance
                    Improvement District (LES                                                         Irene Cheung
                                                  Jennifer Hoppa        NYCDPR
                    BID)                                                                              Joseph Chow
                                                  Tarry Hum             Queens College
Robert Balder       NYC Economic Development                                                          Kim Foo Chow
                    Corporation (NYCEDC)          Fred Kent             Project for Public Spaces
                                                                                                      Johnny He
Jennifer Brown      LMDC                          Michael Kuo           MAS
                                                                                                      Anthony Ng
                                                  Holly Leicht          LMDC
                                                                                                                         Acknowledgments               55
Anna Taylor-Shih                                 Liz Jordan        Graphics
Jenny Wong                                       Namiko Kimura     Demographics
                                                 AAFE Staff:
Michelle Yee
                                                 Christopher Kui   Executive Director
Ashley Zhou
                                                 Margaret Chin     Deputy Executive Director
Columbia University Spring 2003                  Maria Bottino
Urban Planning Studio:
                                                 Siu Kwan Chan
Richard Bass       Adjunct Professor
                                                 Susan Chan
Ryan Devlin
                                                 Peter Chow
Aaron Donovan
                                                 Drew Kiriazides
Christine Grimando Teaching Assistant
                                                 Frank Lang
Seth Myers
                                                 Sylvia Syracuse
Melissa Neuman
                                                 Susan Yee
Juan Rivero
                                                 Thomas Yu
Shannon Roberts
                                                 AAFE/Rebuild Chinatown Initiative Staff:
Ofelia Rodriguez
                                                 Robert Weber
Kovid Saxena
                                                 Jennifer Sun
G R I D Staff:
Steve Chang        Design Director
Jane Son           Graphics
Yi-Shan Li         Graphics
PPSA Staff:
John Shapiro       Principal-in-charge
Ken Bowers         Principal
56      America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
                       2003                                                  May 8
                                                                             • Workshop #2: Transportation, Streets,
                                                                               Placemaking continued
                       February 27
                       • Kick-Off Meeting with Steering Committee            May 12
                                                                             • National Advisory Board Meeting
                       March 12
LIST OF RCI MEETINGS   • Interview with Lillian Cho, executive director of   May 14
                         Asian American Arts Alliance                        • Columbia University’s Urban Planning Studio:
in Phase 2                                                                     Final Presentation
                       March 18
                       • Interview with David Louie, president of            May 22
                         Chinese Chamber of Commerce                         • Workshop #3: Commerce, Culture and Tourism
                       March 23                                              June 2
                       • Interviews with Paul Lee and Danny Chen,            • Public announcement of Lower Manhattan
                         members of the Civic Center Residents                 Affordable Housing Trust Fund
                                                                             June 11
                       March 27                                              • Interview with Alex Chu, president of Eastbank
                       • Workshop #1: Transportation, Streets,
                         Placemaking                                         June 16 - 24
                                                                             • Survey of Bowery jewelry, restaurant supply,
                       March 31                                                and lighting owners
                       • Columbia University’s Urban Planning Studio:
                         Midterm Presentation                                June 24
                                                                             • Focus Group: Transportation, Streets,
                       April 22                                                Placemaking, Commerce, Culture and Tourism,
                       • Presentation of RCI and Walking Tour with             with small business owners (held in Cantonese)
                         Municipal Art Society staff
                                                                             July 11
                       April 25                                              • Columbia University’s Urban Planning Studio:
                       • Presentation of RCI to Project for Public Spaces      presentation to Department of City Planning
                         placemaking workshop participants
                                                                             July 14
                       April 30                                              • Presentation of preliminary findings to Project
                       • Presentation of RCI to National Coalition for         AHEAD at Charles B. Wang Community Health
                         Asian Pacific American Community                      Center
                         Development (NCAPACD) fourth annual
                         conference participants
                                                                                                 List of RCI Meetings         57
July 16                                            October 2                                          November 25
• Focus Group: Housing, with advocates from        • Meeting with Andrew Flamm, executive             • Two presentations of draft plan to community,
  Chinatown and the Lower East Side                  director of the Lower East Side Business           business, and cultural group leaders
                                                     Improvement District, to introduce and discuss
July 19                                              the Avenue of the Immigrants initiative          November 26
• Presentation of RCI to Chinese-American Youth                                                       • Walking Tour with New York City Department
  Initiatives                                      October 9                                            of Transportation’s Manhattan Commissioner
                                                   • Meeting with Consortium for Worker Education       and staff
July 22                                              (CWE) to introduce and discuss the Learning
• Focus Group: Economic Development                  Campus initiative                                December 2
                                                                                                      • Co-naming “Avenue of the Immigrants”
July 29                                            October 16                                           coalition meeting at the Lower East Side
• Workshop #4: Economic Development,               • Meeting with Ruth Abram, executive director        Tenement Museum
  Housing, and Quality of Life                       of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, to
                                                     introduce and discuss the Avenue of the          • Presentation of waterfront recommendations at
August 13                                            Immigrants initiative                              Community Board 3-sponsored public meeting
• Interview with John Wang, president of Asian
  American Business Development Center             October 28                                         December 3
                                                   • Presentation of draft plan to New York City      • Presentation of draft plan to LMDC Chinatown
September 10                                         Economic Development Corporation, Lower            Working Group
• Presentation of preliminary transportation         Manhattan Development Office director
  recommendations to LMDC traffic consultants,       and staff                                        • Presentation of draft plan to Steering
  director of off-site planning, and community                                                          Committee
  liaison                                          October 29
                                                   • Presentation of draft plan to New York City      December 4
September 16                                         Department of Transportation, Office of Lower    • Meeting with Two Bridges Waterfront Coalition
• Presentation of preliminary transportation         Manhattan Borough Commissioner director            about the Waterfront initiative
  recommendations at the American Planning           and staff
  Association’s economic development                                                                  December 8
  committee meeting                                November 13                                        • Meeting with Chinatown Manpower Project,
                                                   • Presentation of transportation                     Garment Industry Development Corporation,
September 26                                         recommendations at Canal Area Transportation       Indochina Sino-American Community Center,
• Meeting with David Chen, executive director of     Study’s Coordination Group meeting                 Consortium for Worker Education about the
  Chinese-American Planning Council, to                                                                 Learning Campus initiative
  introduce and discuss RCI initiatives            November 18
                                                   • Presentation of draft plan to Civic Alliance     December 9
October 1                                                                                             • Presentation of draft plan to Canal Area
• Presentation of preliminary findings to          November 20                                          Transportation Study’s Early Implementation
  Columbia University’s Urban Planning faculty     • Presentation of draft plan at Lower East Side      Task Force
  and students                                       Tenement Museum’s All-Staff Site Visit
58     America’s Chinatown : A Community Plan
December 11                                         January 15                                          March 3
• Presentation of draft plan to RCI National        • Meeting with MTA, NYCDOT, and NYMTC               • Public Meeting for the Allen/Pike Street
  Advisory Board members                              about traffic-calming and transit issues on         Community Visioning Project; sponsored by
                                                      Allen/Pike Street                                   Councilman Alan Gerson and facilitated by
December 16                                                                                               Project for Public Spaces
• Passage of resolution to co-name Allen/Pike       January 21
  Street “Avenue of the Immigrants” by              • Meeting with LMDC urban planners about            March 4
  Community Board 3                                   linkages and off-site retail development          • Presentation of draft plan to Labor Community
                                                                                                          Advocacy Network.
December 17                                         February 2
• Presentation of draft plan to John Wang,          • Meeting with New Yorkers for Parks about          • Evening Walking Tour of Chinatown with
  president of Asian American Business                Roosevelt Park re-design                            representatives from LMDC, DOT, DCP, DSBS,
  Development Center                                                                                      and Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff’s office,
                                                    February 3                                            and community members Jimmy Mui, Bob Lee,
December 22                                         • Meeting with Nicole Ogg of City Planning            and Po-Ling Ng.
• Presentation of draft plan to AAFE volunteers
  (held in Cantonese)                               February 10                                         March 18
                                                    • Presentation of draft plan to Alex Chu,           • Presentation of draft plan to Community Board
                                                      president of Eastbank and RCI national advisory     3’s executive committee.
2004                                                  board member
January 6                                           February 13
• Presentation of draft plan to Claire Weisz,       • Presentation of draft plan to the Chinese
  former executive director of the Design Trust       Community Social Service and Health Council.
January 7                                           February 19
• Presentation of draft plan to City Planning       • Presentation of draft plan to Councilmember
  Commission Chair and planning and design            Alan Gerson
                                                    February 25
January 9                                           • Presentation of parks recommendations to
• Presentation of draft plan to multi-agency,         Department of Parks and Recreation’s
  Lower Manhattan task force convened by              Manhattan Commissioner Bill Castro and staff.
  Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff
                                                    • RCI, Lower East Side BID, Lower East Side
January 13                                            Tenement Museum, and Two Bridges
• Meeting with Joe Pupello, executive director of     Neighborhood Council receive a one-year
  New York Restoration Project, about Roosevelt       $25,000 grant from Kaplan Fund for the
  Park re-design                                      Allen/Pike Street Community Visioning Project.
                                                                                                                           List of RCI Meetings       59
For more information,
please visit our website at
or contact info@aafe.org


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This report was made possible by a
grant from Carnegie Corporation
of New York. The statements made
and views expressed are solely the
responsibility of the author.

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