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mott street flowers

Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017 | Flowers anyone? This photo was taken on Mott Street by btwn2bridges. | Weather: Mostly cloudy and continued windy today with a little bit of sunshine in the afternoon and a high of 52. | If you would like to share a neighborhood picture with us, send it to: or tag us on Instagram at #LoDownNY. | Sign up for her daily newsletter HERE.

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doyers street

Friday, February 5, 2016 | David Sierra took this photo on Doyers Street | Weather: You won’t be seeing much blue sky today. Snow showers today with up to 5 inches expected before it’s all over this afternoon. Look for a high of 40 | If you would like to share a neighborhood picture with us, send it to:, or tag us on Instagram at LoDownNY.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015 | Here’s a view of Chinatown from the Manhattan Bridge by Bahram Foroughi | Weather: Warm and breezy today with a high of 60. The rain returns sometime after midnight  | Send us your photos and tips | Subscribe to our daily email.

Photos: Lunar New Year Parade 2015 in Chinatown

Wilson Tang’s Take on the “Myth of Chinatown Restaurants”

3-on-3 Basketball Tournament at Columbus Park this Weekend

Chinatown, a hot spot for New York’s Asian community, is going to get hotter this weekend as a big 3-on-3-basketball tournament comes to Columbus Park and parts of Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Wilson Tang: “$1 a Plate” Street Fair Won’t Help Chinatown

Flyers for this weekend’s street fair have gone up throughout Chinatown.

Editor’s note: A couple of days ago we mentioned a street fair taking place Saturday to drum up business for Chinatown shops and restaurants struggling after Hurricane Sandy.  But not everyone thinks the event is the best way to make the neighborhood’s small businesses stronger.  Among them: Nom Wah Tea Parlor owner (and TLD contributor) Wilson Tang.   Here are his thoughts on the “Chinatown Revival Fair.”

Chinatown holds a special place in my heart.  It’s where I grew up, it’s where I work and own a business, and I’m proud to be part of this community.  Whether I’m pointing tourists in the right direction, seeing my doctor or dentist in Chinatown, buying produce or “pigging out,” I’m a big advocate for “keeping it local.”

From my vantage point, it’s not hard to see the obstacles Chinatown’s small business owners face, especially restaurant operators. They’re constantly chasing the dream instead of living the dream — with the lowest profit margins imaginable. Think about what it’s like making a living selling  $1 dumplings and $3 lunch boxes. I speak from first hand experience.  In 2004, I opened a bakery on Allen Street, near Hester, but eventually closed the place because I wasn’t getting the volume to survive on 60 cent coffees and 80 cent pastries. Working 80 plus hours a week wasn’t doing me any good either.  As fixed costs increase and rents continue to go up, you don’t have a chance in this neighborhood unless you’re doing huge volume.

Earlier this week, the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, along with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, announced they were holding a street fair this weekend to help local businesses recover from the losses sustained during and after Hurricane Sandy. On face value, I thought it was a good idea to promote small business in my neighborhood during a really tough time.  It seemed like a great way to get people down to Chinatown to spend money and to help out the local economy.

Struggling After Sandy, Chinatown & Little Italy Businesses Hope Saturday Events Draw Big Crowds

Last year’s East Meets West Christmas Parade.

There’s always been a close relationship between adjacent neighborhoods Chinatown and Little Italy.  One of the most visible demonstrations of these ties occurs during the East Meets West Christmas Parade (Dec. 22 this year), a joint celebration that’s taken place during the past several years.  This year, however, groups in the two communities are trying to form even closer bonds — in an effort to save local businesses struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Ralph Tramontana, head of the Little Italy Merchants’ Association, told us this morning he fears up to 30% of the small shops and restaurants in the two neighborhoods could be forced to shutter by early spring. At his own business, Sambuca’s Cafe on Mulberry Street, Tramontana estimated losses from spoiled food could total $20,000.  Given the very small profit margins at most Little Italy and Chinatown restaurants, he said, “it’s very tough to pay a month’s worth of bills with a week’s worth of business.”

Wilson Tang’s Guide to Doyers Street

Doyers Street. Photo by Vivienne Gucwa/

Editor’s note: Black Friday is, of course, in full swing throughout New York City.  Whether you’re braving the crowds today or over the weekend, there’s no better post-Thanksgiving, post-shopping treat than a good meal in Chinatown.  And as Wilson Tang, the second generation owner of the Nom Wah Tea Parlor points out, there’s never been a better time to show your support for your favorite neighborhood restaurants.

As a restaurant owner in Chinatown and a lifelong Lower Manhattan resident, I wanted to write a few words to encourage people to dine downtown in the upcoming days and weeks — and especially to come check out Chinatown, a place that’s dear to my heart.

Now more than ever, Chinatown needs customers in its restaurants and shops. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you Hurricane Sandy really did a number on the neighborhood’s commerce.  Long after the storm passed, businesses continued to suffer.  The losses from spoiled produce and seafood were in the thousands for places like my restaurant, which uses a lot of shrimp. The worst part is that the residual effects are still being felt by most businesses, since rent, utilities and labor costs just keep accumulating. It would not surprise me if some restaurants don’t make it in the upcoming months.

Tenants of 11 Allen Fight to Remain in Chinatown Home

Hellen Choong in her apartment at 11 Allen, from which she is fighting eviction.

Hellen Choong settled in Chinatown after immigrating to America in 1991. She’s lived in the neighborhood ever since, and will tell you she has no plans to leave. “I love Chinatown, to be honest. It’s so convenient, no?” she asked recently, sitting in her apartment at 11 Allen Street. “Everything is right there. Even when I come home form work, I can still get food. In Queens or Brooklyn, I would have to start running around. No way, I wouldn’t budge from here.”

But if her landlord wins a dispute currently making its way through Housing Court, she may have no choice. In February 2011, real estate investor Fei Wang purchased 11 Allen, an apartment building near the corner of Canal Street. According to residents, some of whom have lived in the building’s small apartments for more than 20 years, he didn’t wait long to demand a change in the way the building had traditionally operated.

Follow-Up: Details in Bloody Madison Street Attack

Police cordoned off Madison Street after a man jumped out a second-story window to escape after being attacked with a meat cleaver on Aug. 2.

We have some new information today about the bizarre and violent incident on Madison Street earlier this month in which a nearly naked man covered in blood jumped out of a second-story apartment window, frightening neighbors and leading police to a three-hour standoff with a suspect.

According to court documents obtained by The Lo-Down, police have charged a 37-year-old man, Ji Jin Pan, with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Jury Recommends Sentence in First Danny Chen Trial

Private Danny Chen.

Sergeant Adam Holcomb, the officer acquitted yesterday of the most serious charges he faced in connection with the death of Private Danny Chen, received a recommended sentence of 30 days from a military jury this morning for verbally and physically tormenting his subordinate. The jury’s decision also recommended Holcomb be demoted one rank, to specialist, and pay about $1,200 in fines for his conduct.

Holcomb’s precise punishment remains uncertain; the jury’s recommendation is subject to final approval by Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, base commander at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where Holcomb’s trial took place. The base will also host the military trials of seven other officers accused of participating in the racist abuse that prosecutors say drove Chen to kill himself last year while stationed in Afghanistan.

After Holcomb was acquitted yesterday of the heaviest charges he faced in the Chen case (including negligent homicide and reckless endangerment), it seemed inevitable his sentence would disappoint his outspoken critics. Chen’s death bitterly angered Asian-Americans advocates and residents of his native Chinatown community, who say the decision to acquit Holcomb of the negligent homicide charge constitutes a virtual declaration of impunity for officers who partake in racial hazing.

JP’s Food Adventures: Roast Pig in Chinatown

Photo by Cynthia Lamb.

(Today’s column was originally published in September of last year)

Like many New Yorkers, I take pride in having a list of “off the beaten track” food establishments I hit on a regular basis. This is practically a cliché: it seems like every old schooler knows where to find what they consider “the best,” whether it’s pizza, bagels, cannolis, pickles, Italian sausages, burgers or perogies. Younger folks’ lists include items such as tacos, ramen, banh mi and soup dumplings. When pressed, some of us will even admit that we “discovered” many of our favorite places on a friend’s recommendation.

In that spirit I decided to check in with my buddy Peter Ho this week. Peter is an ardent food adventurer; a man after my own heart who has tipped me off to a number of neighborhood places over the years. He’s also a regular at Clandestino (the bar at 35 Canal Street), often bringing samples of his latest discoveries to share with patrons and staff. I figured it would be fun to ambush him there, ply him with a glass of wine and share his latest enthusiasms.

Prepping For the Lunar New Year Parade


Preparations are nearly finished on Mott Street, as the start of Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade approaches! Happy Year of the Dragon.


Two Teens Victims of Armed Robbery on J Train

The Police Blotter in the Post describes the robbery on the J Train of two teens coming home from a Christmas party.  It happened Monday around 3 a.m. as the train was approaching the Bowery station.  One of the suspects pulled out a knife and demanded money.  According to the report, a second suspect then took the knife and held it to the 19-year old victim’s throat.  Police say the victim would not hand over the money, so one of the suspects revealed a gun, allegedly threatening, “I’ll shoot you! I’ve been in the system.”  The other victim, also 19, gave them a watch and cell phone. The attackers took off when the train reached Canal Street.