Coalition Year in Review

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

2021 has been a year of resilience and achievements for our community fighting against racism and displacement. Despite the challenges, we’ve seen amazing victories and our energy continues to grow. Here’s our year in review.

Our community spoke out as the City appealed the court decision that put an injunction against the construction of luxury towers on the Two Bridges waterfront. Over 150 people joined our zoom rally before the Appellate court hearing. The Appellate court overturned the decision despite Mayor de Blasio’s clear violation of the law when he approved towers that would be detrimental to the environment and to people’s health. But the fight continues, with a renewed push to pass the full Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan (CWG) which would stop luxury high-rises like these towers.

Jonathan Chu, the biggest landlord in Chinatown and co-chair of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), displaced Jing Fong Restaurant, causing more than a hundred workers to lose their jobs and the community to lose a staple gathering place. The Jing Fong workers and the community launched a picket line in front of Chu’s institutions and businesses and called for boycotts until they reopen the big Jing Fong dining room.

Chinatown and the Lower East Side united with SoHo and NoHo to oppose Mayor de Blasio’s SoHo/NoHo Rezoning, which would allow big landlords like the Chu family to build luxury high-rises while raising rent and real estate taxes in the surrounding area, including Chinatown, which would displace middle- and low-income families and small businesses.

City Council candidate Christopher Marte, who ran on a platform  of passing the community-led CWG Plan to stop luxury high-rises, gained the support of tenants and workers across the district and won overwhelmingly in the Democratic primary. It was an indication that the community had come together to fight back against Council Member Chin’s sellout pro-developer agenda and the big real estate interests she represented.

While the community protested MOCA for accepting Mayor de Blasio’s $35 million to support a new jail,, museum president Nancy Yao Maasbach came out and insulted Chinese seniors who joined the protest, claiming they were “paid protestors”, and that Chinese getting paid to protest is “a historic trend.” Our seniors stood up to condemn MOCA’s blatant racism.

Hundreds marched down the streets of Chinatown against racist violence that’s perpetrated by so-called community representatives MOCA and the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). 

Our Coalition worked with artists who stood with the community to open a one-day art & health fair in front of MOCA, showcasing Chinatown’s history against racism and artwork on the community’s resistance and spirit of unity. The art exhibit now continues at the Citygroup space at 104b Forsyth Street.

The community’s petition for the City to intervene to reopen the Jing Fong dining room, stop the new jail, fund neighborhood recovery, reject the SoHo/NoHo Rezoning and pass the CWG plan got 10,000+ signatures. Council Member-elect Marte joined our press conference as we delivered the petition to Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Margaret Chin and Mayor-elect Eric Adams. 

Your participation is indispensable to our movement to protect the community. With your continuing support, we are hopeful for a new year with bigger achievements! Currently, as the Jing Fong workers and supporters are maintaining the picket line in front of MOCA, we have launched an art print sale, with earnings going to sustain their effort.

Please consider ordering the print for your New-Year gift and support the workers’ effort!

Have a safe and happy new year.

– Coalition to Protect Chinatown and LES

Petition: Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side

As the community of Chinatown and the Lower East Side was struggling through the pandemic, Alex and Jonathan Chu, the biggest landlords in Chinatown, displaced the beloved Jing Fong Restaurant. This effectively put over 100 unionized immigrant workers out of work and sent a shock wave throughout the community, as people saw the biggest dining hall in the heart of Chinatown closed. It is clear that the Chus do not have the interest of the community in mind.

Mayor de Blasio’s refusal to intervene to reopen the Jing Fong dining room is the latest offense in a pattern of his collusion with big developers and bad landlords. First, he refused to pass the community-led Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan to preserve affordability and limit real estate speculation in immigrant neighborhoods. Rather, his idea of helping Chinatown is constructing a new jail and bribing the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), where Jonathan Chu is Chair of the Board, with $35 million in exchange for their support for his project. Now he defers to Chu again, staying silent on the displacement of Jing Fong, and enriching Chu’s property values by trying to upzone SoHo/NoHo and the borders of Chinatown.

As elected officials, you have the responsibility to heed the concerns of the people that you represent. We say: end the City’s displacement agenda and protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side from destruction by big developers and bad landlords. We call on you to take immediate steps:

1. Demand the Chu family reopen the Jing Fong dining room

2. Stop the new jail and instead use the resources (including the $35 million to MOCA) to fund recovery for workers and small businesses most affected by the pandemic

3. Lower the real estate tax for small property owners who are willing to lower commercial and residential rent

4. Stop displacement by rejecting the SoHo/NoHo Rezoning and passing the FULL Chinatown Working Group plan to protect the entirety of Chinatown and the Lower East Side.

Open Call for Art Action to #SaveCHINATOWN in response to displacement + the closure of the Jing Fong dining room

CALLING ALL ARTISTS! We are putting together an art exhibit about the closure of the iconic Jing Fong Restaurant dining room, which has left many workers jobless in the middle of a pandemic and the community without a major gathering center.

This is a struggle that so many families and youth are facing amid a broader landscape of displacement & predatory land use decisions by the current Mayor and City Council, from refusing to demand the landlord reopen the Jing Fong dining room to investing tax dollars in building a new jail in Chinatown to passing rezonings that would encourage big developers and bad landlords to build luxury high-rises and kick out low income families and small businesses.

We are seeking art submissions that explore or question the legitimacy and impact of the City government’s displacement agenda on the lives of people. This art exhibit aims to amplify people’s hope and visions for a future in which students, residents, independently owned businesses, and workers of all types–who have built and sustained our diverse community over time–can continue to thrive in Chinatown and the Lower East Side!

We’re primarily looking for flat, eye-catching, non-precious, poster-sized artworks (drawings, prints, graphic art, poetry broadsides) that will be installed on a wooden outdoor gallery space. We’re also very interested in and encourage poetry and/or performance submissions that can be read/performed in the show’s opening rally.

Artists of all ages can apply!

If you need art supplies or have questions, please contact us at!

All selected artworks will win a cash prize and have their work displayed at an outdoor location in Manhattan’s Chinatown on Saturday October 23rd and 24th!

Deadline for submissions is October 4th.

Submission guidelines can be found here:

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.


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:

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:

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.

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.