Chinatown Street Fair Held in Push for Hurricane Rebound

Crowds gathered to watch the iconic yellow and red dragons during the Chinatown Revival Street Fair on Saturday. (Photo from OurChinatown)

The Chinatown Revival Street Fair energized the streets of Chinatown this past Saturday with dragons, $1 dishes and live performances. Held by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, organizers hoped the fair would be that extra push to help Chinatown recover from Hurricane Sandy, reported Wen Hao Wang for OurChinatown.

The storm left much of Chinatown without power, heat and water and the financial consequences still strain its residents and businesses, who face yet another in a series of hardships to hit the area since 9/11.

Wallace Lai, the owner of the restaurant Hong Kong Station, came up with the idea of a fair as a vehicle for getting visitors and patrons back to Chinatown. But not everyone supported the effort.

Visitors sampled food from Chinatown eateries. Organizers hoped the fair would lure patrons back to the neighborhood hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo from OurChinatown)

“Chinatown is attractive. Everything is back to normal. They should come back. This is the real Chinatown,” he said.

Not everyone agrees with this plan, however. Wilson Tang, owner of Nom Wah, did not participate because he did not believe it would help Chinatown in the long run. “Trying to rally Chinatown behind this ‘$1 plate’ promotion is really not a winning strategy,” he said in an editorial for the The Lo-Down. Tang said that the profit margins are low and “it’s just stereotyping Chinatown as a place for cheap, greasy food.”

Although Lai agrees about the profits, he believes it will benefit Chinatown as long as businesses work together in these events.

“We have to keep that momentum though,” he said. “We need to have immigrant bonding. If we group together we can achieve a lot.”

Pointing to the crowd grabbing plates of dumplings outside his Bayard Street store, Lai says that the event turned out better than expected and hopes for more in the future. He has more ideas brewing to bring people into Chinatown, including running a shuttle service to and from heavily touristed areas like SoHo and Ground Zero.

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