Community Victory! Chinatown & LES elect Chris Marte for D1 City Council seat

This City Council election, the Chinatown and the Lower East Side communities have spoken: Chris Marte is taking a decisive lead in the first choice votes, far exceeding all the other candidates, and is expected to win after the rank choice votes are counted. 

This is a clear mandate that our communities reject business as usual. We are fed up of being told that we couldn’t stop the luxury megatowers from going up, and that it’s “too ambitious” for Chinatown and LES to have equal protection as the East Village that stops luxury high-rises and discourages real estate speculation. We are sick and tired of seeing Councilmember Chin and Mayor de Blasio collude with big developers and bad landlords to destroy good jobs, existing affordable housing and the environment. We are disgusted by the City that pits one neighborhood against the other and intensifies racial violence.

We never gave up when we encountered setbacks. We were not intimidated by facing off against our enemies in big real estate and their political representatives, which so many assumed were too powerful to overcome. If anything, they made us more united and determined to turn the tide, and we made it. This is a victory of tenants, workers, and small businesses across racial boundaries. And we are prepared, more than ever, to push for the Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan.This election result shows that when our communities come together to fight the City’s displacement agenda, we win. 

Join us and be part of the change that’s coming!
We will rally to celebrate our victory on Friday, 7/2 at 12pm noon at 183 Centre Street at Canal Street, NYC.

OUR FIGHT AGAINST DISPLACEMENT CONTINUES

Join us in the final days of Chris Marte’s campaign to bring an ally of the people to City Hall! We need all hands on deck before early voting starts on June 12!


Unite with the Jing Fong restaurant workers to fight for the future of Chinatown!

50 Bowery Hotel front desk at 212-508-8000 (press 0)
Phone zap script:
“Hi my name is ___________. I’m (calling/writing) to leave a message for Alex & Jonathan Chu. The community demands that the Chu family reopen the jing fong dining room, the largest gathering place in chinatown, and rehire the unionized workers that they forced out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also use the $35 million dollar bribe that was given to MOCA by Mayor de Blasio in exchange for their support of a new jail in Chinatown to fund Chinatown’s post-pandemic recovery instead. Stop selling out Chinatown and the LES!”

Chinatown Working Group Week of Action

The Coalition to Protect Chinatown & The Lower East Side supports the passage of the Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan, a community-led plan that stops displacement in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. The plan prevents luxury high rises and requires new housing to be truly affordable to the community among other protections. Join the member groups of the Chinatown Working Group for an action-packed week of organizing to help spread the word about the CWG Plan to our friends and neighbors!

Monday 5/10 @ NOON at Eastbank, 183 Centre St:
Joint CWG + SoHo/NoHo Press Conference (read the statement here!)

Tuesday 5/11 @ 2-4pm starting at Alfred E. Smith Houses (21 St. James Place):
NYCHA Walkthrough Meet & Greet outreach with District Leader Jonathan Gardenhire & District 1 City Council Candidate Christopher Marte (the only candidate fully committed to passing the entire CWG Plan!)

Wednesday 5/12 @ 4pm-6pm in East River Park (6th St. overpass entrance):
joint tabling session with CWG + East River Park Action, a CWG member group advocating for a community-led plan to save East River Park, an area covered under the CWG Plan

Thursday 5/13 @ 7pm on Zoom: 
Meet & Greet with District 1 City Council Candidate Chris Marte, hosted by Amalgamated Neighbors on Grand St + CWG + local small businesses. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/MarteMay13

Friday 5/14 @ 10am: 
Phone zap! Call WNYC during Brian Lehrer’s Ask the Mayor segment at (646) 435-7280 and ask the Mayor to support the CWG Plan! Then call the Mayor’s office with the same request: (212) 788-2162 (wait for the voicemail recording to end and leave a message)

Friday 5/14 @ 5-6pm at 59 Henry St @ Market St:
Join Art Against Displacement + Citygroup architecture collective for visualizations + a deep dive into exactly what the CWG would mean for an actual development site in the neighborhood

Sunday 5/16 @ 12pm-2pm at Eastbank, 183 Centre St:
stand with former Jing Fong workers as they boycott former Jing Fong landlords the Chu family to help win back the only union restaurant jobs in Chinatown and stop the displacement of workers and small businesses! Sign up here.

Monday 5/17 @ 6:30-7:30pm on Zoom: 
Join us for a Town Hall to learn why we urgently need the CWG plan and how to fight to pass it! Bring your friends and neighbors! Register here: https://bit.ly/cwgtownhall

Let us know what the CWG means to you. Fill in your reason and share! #passthecwg

Join the Jing Fong picket: next steps to support the restaurant workers’ union and re-open the dining room

The fight to keep the Jing Fong dining room is far from over, as the community is standing up against the destruction of Chinatown and the Lower East Side!

Wednesdays & Sundays 12-2pm at Eastbank 183 Centre St.

Bit.ly/jointhepicket

The Chu family, the biggest landlords in Chinatown, have forced the beloved Jing Fong restaurant to close, and ignored offers from the community to take over the restaurant operations. Meanwhile politicians like Mayor de Blasio speak out against anti-Asian violence, but say nothing about the economic violence of putting over a hundred people out of work.

Alex and Jonathan Chu are putting their own profit first, ripping out the heart of Chinatown, and destroying the only union restaurant jobs in the entire neighborhood. Our elected officials sit on the sidelines and do nothing to save Chinatown despite the hardship caused by the pandemic.


TAKE ACTION to save Jing Fong and protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side: 

  1. Join the rally! 183 Centre St in front of Eastbank on March 25 at 12pm to demand the Chu family re-open the dining room. 
  2. Boycott Chu’s businesses: Eastbank, 50 Bowery Hotel, Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), Chikarashi, Nakaji
  3. Share on social media: Use the hashtags #SaveJingFong and #SaveChinatown to call out the Chu family and tag @NYCMayor to demand he intervene

Open Letter to the Mayor Regarding Jing Fong Restaurant

For immediate release: March 4, 2021

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

The announcement of the closure of Chinatown’s iconic Jing Fong Restaurant has sent a shock wave in the community and beyond. Workers are losing their jobs and small businesses would lose faith in surviving the pandemic. Many are wondering if Chinatown can continue to exist with Jing Fong Restaurant, the heart of Chinatown, shut down. 

Such a bleak prospect is caused directly by its landlord, Alex Chu and Jonathan Chu. The Chu family is the biggest landlord in Chinatown and the owner of Eastbank. Alex Chu and Jonathan Chu have benefited from Jing Fong’s business all these years, but during the pandemic when the business has gone down, they are heartlessly trying to use rent to force the restaurant to close.

You have come out against anti-Asian violence. The closure of Jing Fong Restaurant is having a serious impact on Chinatown. Isn’t this also violence against the Chinese community? Therefore, we call on you to immediately step in and take a stand to save Jing Fong and Chinatown from being destroyed by big developers and landlords like the Chu family:

1. stop the Chu family’s eviction of Jing Fong Restaurant 

2. stop the new jail and instead use the resource to fund Chinatown recovery 

3. lower the rent and property tax to save Chinatown businesses 

4. pass the Chinatown Working Group plan to protect the whole Chinatown and the Lower East Side from displacement.

No Towers Rally on MLK Day: Stop Racist Displacement!

Hello friends and neighbors,

Thank you for helping us reach our goal of 5,000 petition signatures against the Two Bridges towers! Our next step is to deliver these signatures to the City, and urge Speaker Johnson to stop the racist displacement policy promoted by Mayor de Blasio and Councilwoman Chin. We ask him to stand with the people against these towers, which would destroy LES and Chinatown’s working class community of color. Join us on MLK Day to oppose this racist act, and demand the City pass the Chinatown Working Group Plan to protect our neighborhood for generations to come!

What you can do to mobilize for petition delivery:
* invite your friends and family to the delivery
* post the flyers in your building [download here]
* spread the flyer online with hashtags #notowersnocompromise #passthecwg
* Join our outreach team!

We look forward to seeing you there! Happy New Year!
Coalition to Protect Chinatown & LES

Congratulations Inwood!

Big congrats to Inwood Legal Action and Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale for striking down the Inwood Rezoning! The Inwood community’s struggle against Mayor de Blasio’s pro-developer rezoning has been an inspiration for anti-displacement fights across the City. This court victory is the testament to the fact that when people are united to hold the City accountable for its displacement agenda, they can win! This is a victory for all of us who are fighting to protect our communities against the Mayor of the 1% and his big real estate buddies. The Mayor is now pathetically trying to appeal and rolling back people’s victory, but the tide has turned: communities are rising up and making concrete wins. De Blasio–get the hell out of the way!

Read more at the Gothamist: In Huge Defeat For De Blasio, Judge Knocks Down Inwood Rezoning

Join us for a panel discussion 10/30, 6pm, Seward Park Library

☄️ Sam Stein – Capital City
☄️Nancy Kong – Boroughs United / No New Jails
☄️Jei Fong – Protect Sunset Park
☄️Cheryl Pahaham – Northern Manhattan is Not for Sale

They will discuss the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, Borough Based-Jails, Industry City and Inwood Rezonings, and the Chinatown Working Group!

live translation will be available// traducción en vivo disponible//提供实时翻译

Response to the Deaths of 4 Men in Chinatown

We join with our community in continued mourning of the deaths of the four men—Anthony L Manson, Nazario A. Vazquez Villegas, Chuen Kwok, and a yet unidentified man—who were killed in Chinatown by Randy Santos, who was homeless and himself in need. We are heartbroken by this act of violence. Action should have been taken long before that tragic day, and we demand that our elected officials truly end the crisis of homelessness that so many New Yorkers are experiencing. 

Our City enables real estate executives to profit off the backs of communities. It encourages developers to build luxury high-rises in low-income neighborhoods, which–in the City’s eyes–beneficially raises property values in the surrounding area. But these developments have deleterious effects on the people living in these communities. The increased property taxes and influx of wealth incentivizes landlords to convert their rent-regulated apartments into luxury condos, and their small businesses into banks or corporate offices and big box stores. Tenants are evicted, small businesses are shut down, and workers lose their jobs. At this point, it’s hard for those displaced to find somewhere else to go. Many in Chinatown have been forced out of their apartments and have moved to outlying neighborhoods such as Sunset Park. But now the same trend is happening in those neighborhoods as well, threatening to displace them further. Luxury over-development is a citywide problem, and evicted tenants are out of options. Homelessness is a direct result of the City’s displacement agenda.

Mayor de Blasio vowed to end the “tale of two cities” but, in reality, he furthers Bloomberg’s development and displacement agenda. His affordable housing plan is a failure. His entire plan relies on tax credits for developers in exchange for “affordable” units that are often far too expensive for the community to afford. De Blasio destroys more affordable housing than he claims to create, and it is not surprising that the homeless population has grown under his administration. Building temporary shelters—de Blasio’s band-aid response to the crisis—does not address the root cause of homelessness. 

Councilmember Margaret Chin has marched in lock-step with de Blasio to displace residents in her district, which includes Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Instead of publicly opposing the proposed Two Bridges mega towers–which would add thousands of luxury apartments along the waterfront–she has orchestrated an elaborate power grab by filing a lawsuit that would force the project to undergo the scam process known as ULURP, or Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. This process gives Councilmember Chin unparalleled authority to usher in the towers. This is not the leadership Chinatown and LES or our City needs if we want to end homelessness.

De Blasio and Chin worked together to block the passage of the community-led Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan, which would put height limits on new developments, mandate that housing on public land be 100% affordable to the community, and protect the entirety of Chinatown and the Lower East Side from displacement for generations to come. Our elected officials rejected our community’s solution to homelessness and displacement, dismissing it as “too ambitious.” Yet, as tragedy strikes, they shed a few crocodile tears and then use the recent deaths to advance their false solutions that would only worsen the problem. 

Displacement and over-development have human casualties. To prevent tragedies like this, we need to come together as members of the community to hold Mayor de Blasio and Councilmember Chin accountable for displacement and demand the City pass the full Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan right now. Any affordable housing plan that relies on the good-will of developers will only continue to destroy our community.

Community Conversation Two Bridges Luxury Towers: From Temporary Halt to Complete Stop, What Needs To Be Done?

The Two Bridges luxury megatowers are temporarily halted! The court has extended the injunction against the approval of the towers until a decision is made by Judge Arthur Engoron, who disagrees with the Mayor’s approval of these out-of-scale towers. 

Join our community conversation as we discuss the next steps. Our sustained NO TOWERS message was heard loud and clear. As a united community, we can stop these towers once and for all and continue to fight against the Mayor’s city-wide displacement agenda that allows developers to put profit over people.

All are welcome! 

When: July 9 – 6 pm
Where: Lands End II Community Room – 275 Cherry Street
Two Bridges Lawsuit FAQ:
Q: What has the community achieved so far in the fight against the Two Bridges mega-towers?
A: Through outreach, rallies, planning, research, surveys, and hearings, we united people on a ‘No Towers, No Compromise’ stance to prevent the neighborhood from being sold off for crumbs. We compiled community opposition into a robust lawsuit filed against the City of New York, DCP, and the Mayor for approving these out-of-scale towers. These developments violate the zoning law of the neighborhood, which clearly prohibits any construction that will irreparably change the community. But these lawsuits did not come out of nowhere: they came from the people. The lawsuit exposes the City’s intention to enrich developers at the expense of our livelihood, and people are coming together to hold the City accountable for its displacement agenda. That’s how we’ve gotten this far. 

Q: “Why do we emphasize “No Compromise” in our campaign?”
A: A lawsuit filed by a different group allows the judge to rule in favor of a Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP). ULURP gives the decision-making power over the towers to those elected officials who have colluded with the developers, not to the community. ULURP is a common tool that allows the City government to bargain for crumbs as concessions for approving the towers. The ULURP process involves a vote by City Council and the Mayor.  However, no matter the land use process, the towers remain illegal, therefore they should be stopped altogether, not erected through a corrupt process veiledas democracy. 

Q: But the towers have not been stopped yet. What is our next step?
A: We must continue to pressure the City while awaiting the judge’s impending decision, which could come anytime between now and early August. We need to be aware of all the possible outcomes, and develop community-based contingency plans. These may include actions outside the courthouse, putting pressure on our councilmember, and so forth. But no matter the outcome, we will stand as a united community. People have gotten us this far, and are the key to stopping the towers. This means doing outreach to your neighbors, coming to actions and bringing people with you, and participating in the planning of these actions. Beyond that, take an active step by signing the petition (which will be available at the July 9 event) calling on the City to stop the towers and pass the Chinatown Working Group Plan in its entirety. See more info about CWG below. 

Q: What is the long-term solution to stopping over-development and displacement in Chinatown & LES? 
A: We need to pass the Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan (CWG). It is a community-led plan that limits height on new developments, limits the number of chain stores and hotels that can be built in the neighborhood, and reclaims public and private land for truly affordable housing that matches the needs of residents. Exclusive zoning leaves the rest of the community vulnerable to displacement, but passing the Chinatown Working Group in its entirety will grant protection and opportunity to our entire neighborhood.  We need to build the momentum and support for passing the CWG Plan prior to the 2021 election, so that candidates who want to represent us have to answer to us.