Big Apple Greeter volunteers to help
bring back tourism to Chinatown
BY DEAN MOSES
Volunteers signed up to help bring
back tourism to Chinatown.
It has been no secret that Chinatown
and Little Italy businesses have been
suffering from the lack of tourism and
all-around foot traffi c in the area. With no
out-of-town visitors, storefronts have been
left abandoned and obscured by graffi ti
smeared shutters. Although the vaccine is
reaching more arms than ever and the city’s
reopening is imminent, life in the Lower
Manhattan community remains far from
2019 levels of pedestrian movement.
In addition to the nearly endless choice
of eateries from which to dine, Chinatown
is also home to an amass of history. From
notorious tales of the 19th century neighborhood
labeled Five Points to becoming
a bustling site for cultural entertainment,
a group of volunteers are hoping to use
this history to entice people back to the
community, and, in turn, the vast array of
struggling shops by offering guided tours.
The men and women from Big Apple
Greeter who will be hosting outings are
not alike, in fact many do not hail from
Chinatown, however, they all share one
Wellington Chen (right) thanks Big Apple Greeter for their dedication.
very important aspect: a passion for the
area’s historical importance. The Big Apple
Greeter group has been in operation for
almost three decades, and in that time has
built up a strong relationship with residents
over the city. In an effort to simulate the
once-bustling district, the group is now
offering tours free of charge.
PHOTO BY DEAN MOSES
On Saturday, about 40 guides celebrated
the beginning of this venture by gathering
at the Chinatown Information Kiosk on
Baxter and Canal Streets where Executive
Director of the Chinatown BID, Wellington
Chen and co-chair of Big Apple Greeter
Patrick Condren thanked the volunteers for
their dedication and discussed the tours.
The organization will be working with
local shops and restaurants by placing
stickers in storefront windows with a
QR code that will lead patrons to the Big
Apple Greeter website and, in turn, back
to Chinatown where they can discover
historical facts, they may have never been
aware of. For instance, Chinatown was
developed in the late 1800s as a haven
for refugees searching for a better life,
leading to the creation of the Chinese
Consolidated Benevolent Association.
While the American Government denied
basic protections during that time, this
association helped provide medical care,
housing and jobs.
It is small factual tidbits like these that
this tour group will employ to entice the
minds of visitors.
“This is so wonderful from so many
different angles, they represent the best of
New York City,” Chen told amNewYork
Metro, adding, “How do you take a bite
of a Big Apple that is almost nine million
people? One bite at a time and one Big
Apple Greeter at a time.”
Both Chen and Big Apple Greeter are
hoping to bring back life to Chinatown, if
it is one small group at a time.
Art and cultural programs return Downtown in a big way
BY DEAN MOSES
In anticipation of the May 19 statewide
opening, the Downtown Alliance got
the party started early.
The Lower Manhattan group launched
the fi rst of two weekends of outdoor entertainment
as an open invitation to plan
a trip to Lower Manhattan where visitors
can dine, shop, and, most importantly of
all, have a good time.
Driving life back into the Lower Manhattan
area — particularly in the Battery and
South Street Seaport vicinity—is an endeavor
the Downtown Alliance has strived
to achieve since before the pandemic.
However, the COVID-19 onslaught
caused a blitz of shuttered businesses,
and the sidewalks along Pearl, Water, and
Broad Streets have been nearly barren for
more than a year.
Thanks to the vaccine rollout and the
unwavering determination of the Downtown
Alliance, the southernmost part of
the city was once again bustling with life
over the weekend.
“New York City has a long history of
being the cultural epicenter of live theater,
David Greenspan’s booming voice echoed along the corridors of 85 Broad St.
music and the performing arts. It’s embedded
in our DNA and an essential component
of what makes our city tick,” said
Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for
Downtown New York, in a press release.
“Our festival, Downtown Live, will be an
PHOTO BY DEAN MOSES
exciting and safe way to help bring live
performances back to Lower Manhattan
and a great signal of what lies ahead.”
As the warmer weather invites individuals
to enjoy the splendors of outdoor
dining, museums, and other shops,
Downtown Alliance developed Downtown
Live to exhibit over 30 artists in
largely outdoor and well-ventilated venues
throughout Lower Manhattan, including
a loading dock at 4 New York Plaza, an
arcade along the Stone Street Historic
District at 85 Broad St., and a harbor view
at 1 Battery Park Plaza.
“It’s so great to see you all together! It’s
been too long,” David Greenspan said,
greeting audience members before singing
Broadway-themed musicals, such as Mae
West’s “My Man.”
Sunday’s line up featured a spectacular
theatrical performance by David Greenspan
with Jamie Lawrence on piano.
Greenspan who belted out renditions of
“Ordinary Woman” and “Deep Blue Sea”
much to the delight of spectators.
While those seated at 85 Broad St.
lapped up the show tunes, outside diners
and passersby couldn’t help but also stop
and marvel at the entertainment.
If you are interested in learning more
about Downtown Live’s free performances—
the events are ticketed to help
maintain social distancing—visit www.
14 May 20, 2021 Schneps Media