Hush falls over Chinatown after fire, virus scare
BY TEQUILA MINSKY
The hustle and bustle of daily Chinatown,
let alone the excitement in the
neighborhood during the period of
Lunar New Year, is missing. The streets and
shops are eerily quiet.
Judi Jupier, a resident in Chinatown
north of Canal, has observed how people
seem to be staying away and comments,
“I notice the restaurants, particularly the
ones that cater to a Chinese population,
are empty.” Further commenting she said,
“Last week all the stores were sold out of
masks and everyone was wearing them.
This week, not so much.” But, she agrees
that there is a lot less foot traffic in the
A shopkeeper on Mulberry, south of Canal,
shook her head when a visitor wished
her a happy new year. Her shop is on the
block of the 5-alarm fire, where the smell
of smoke and fire is still in the air.
The sidewalk and entire building is off limits… Mulberry and Bayard, the site of
the 5-alarm fire where organizations were based and MOCA stored its priceless archives.
“There is no business,” she told the visitor
who was away and unaware of the fire that
took place just doors down the street. In a
nearby convenience store, a box of masks
was perched on the check-out counter.
The Chamber of Commerce in
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Chinatown responded to an inquiry of their
observations, “Because the situation is fluid,
we decline to comment.”
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
For sale in shops, sitting on the
check-out counter, in Chinatown.
Chinatown school gets new life after big blaze
Just a week after a fire burned through
a building housing a Chinese language
school, its students are back to class at a
temporary location nearby.
“This is such a lucky break for us,” said
Dong Yang, the Chinatown Manpower
Project’s adult education program’s director
while standing in an austere hallway
on the 7th floor of the Overseas Chinese
Mission. After a Jan. 23rd blaze engulfed
the nonprofit’s former home at 70 Mulberry
Street the outpouring of community help
was incredible said Yang. Now, five rooms
on the OCM building’s 7th floor have been
filled with writing desks, white boards and
even a library.
“It’s amazing,” added Yang.
Classes at CMP serve a s pipeline for for
new New Yorkers from China to enter community
colleges or training schools in the
city. Each 13-week session of students will
take English language and culture courses
and introductory computer literacy classes.
Upon completing classes, many students
students to on to take classes at Laguardia
Community College in Queens, where
they can further improve their language
skills and matriculate into degree-seeking
According to Yang, since a new location
was found so quickly, students have not fallen
too behind in their classes. Students are
teachers kept in contact with one another
via WeChat, an online messaging platform,
to relay updates about the 70 Mulberry reconstruction
efforts and the search to find
new classroom locations.
4 February 6, 2020 Schneps Media