The Broadsheet – Lower Manhattan’s Local Newspaper
‘You Are Killing Our People’
Shortly After Residents Protest Planned New Homeless Shelter in Chinatown, an Asian Resident Is Murdered Nearby
Above: On Friday evening, an angry crowd confronted City officials about a plan to locate multiple new homeless shelters in Chinatown, in addition to five existing facilities. Below: Chinatown resident and small-business owner Ed Cuccia: “We already have more shelters than anybody.”
Mounting frustration in Chinatown over anti-Asian violence and the simultaneous proliferation of homeless persons on local streets reached the boiling point over the weekend. On Friday, the City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) hosted a meeting at M.S. 131 on Hester Street, to hear community concerns about a new homeless shelter planned for 91 East Broadway, within a bankrupt hotel.
The session erupted into a series of barbed exchanges, at which City officials made clear they intend to move ahead with the plan regardless of community opposition, and insisted that they had already consulted Chinatown leaders. When asked with whom they had discussed the plans, DHS officials remained silent, until a spontaneous chorus of “say their names” thundered through the auditorium. Finally, Erin Drinkwater, deputy commissioner of the City’s Department of Social Services, answered, “former City Council member Margaret Chin.”
Chinatown resident Mary Wang, in a reference to a recent spate of violent attacks that have targeted Asian Americans said, “you are killing our people. You are killing our business. You are killing our livelihood.”
Edward Cuccia, a resident of Chinatown who also practices immigration law in the community, said, “we have more shelters than anybody.” This was a reference to the fact that Chinatown is already home to five homeless shelters, while the City plans to create three more there in the near future.
Chinatown resident Raymond Tsang said, “in the past 38 years that I have lived in Chinatown, it has never felt as unsafe as now.”
A January rally in front of a bankrupt hotel on East Broadway that City officials plan to convert for use as a homeless shelter displayed images of victims of anti-Asian violence.
Another point of contention at the Friday meeting was that City officials strictly limited attendance, leaving the M.S. 131 auditorium more than half empty, while hundreds of residents who wished to attend and participate were forced to remain outside.
“I was very, very angry that there were so many empty seats,” said resident Christina Lo. “But the guards kept on telling us that inside was full.”
As the audience within the auditorium began to chant “let them in” (in a reference to the larger crowd congregated outside), guards refused to open the doors. At least once, as a handful of attendees exited early, guards tried to slam the doors as people outside attempted to rush in, resulting in a physical confrontation in which outsiders gripped the partially opened door and tried to pry it fully open, while multiple security personnel struggled to pull it shut.
“It is ridiculous that there are already five shelters, and the City still wants to add three more,” Ms. Lo said. “Chinatown, which depends on the restaurant and tourism businesses, has been hit hard by the pandemic. A lot of stores closed and many people lost their jobs. More shelters will not help to revitalize the livelihood of Chinatown.”
In a separate development the following day, 35-year-old Chinatown resident Christina Yuna Lee was followed into her apartment building late on Saturday evening, and stabbed to death. The suspect taken into custody at the scene was a resident of a nearby homeless shelter, on the Bowery.
The scene outside the home of Christina Yuna Lee, who was stabbed to death in her Chinatown apartment late on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, elected officials and community leaders gathered, at the prompting of State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, in the park across the street from Ms. Lee’s apartment, to decry the ongoing torrent of violent crime targeting Asian-Americans.
“Our communities are facing a crisis of homelessness and lack of access to mental health services — and we must commit to once and for all ending the revolving door of our inadequate mental health services and sheltering system,” Ms. Niou said.
Justin Yu, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and widely regarded as the unofficial “mayor” of Chinatown, said, “I have been in this country for 50 years. I settled in this community 45 years ago. I have never felt so scared or so mad. Many people ask why we have in this area so many mentally ill homeless and so many crimes. One of the reasons is that in this community are disproportionately located so many shelters — all in one square mile.”
“We care about the homeless,” Mr. Yu continued, “but the City cannot locate so many homeless in this small area. We cannot make Chinatown ‘shelter town.’ We need a safe environment, just like everybody else. Please let the whole City share this burden, and not put it only on Chinese Americans.”
Above: Chinatown civic leader Justin Yu: “We care about the homeless, but the City cannot locate so many homeless in this small area. We need a safe environment, just like everybody else.” Below: State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou: “Our communities are facing a crisis of homelessness and lack of access to mental health services.”
Benjamin Wei, the founder and executive director of Asians Fighting Injustice, said, “another Asian woman has been murdered. The second one in four weeks, murdered by a mentally ill homeless man. This is a pattern. The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes has been 1000 percent since the start of pandemic, while Manhattan has closed 500 hospital beds for the mentally ill in the last ten years. Asians are 25 times more likely to be attacked in New York City than white residents.”
Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, said in response to a question about whether government agencies engage in a pattern and practice of freezing out communities when deciding where to locate homeless shelters, answered, “absolutely — that’s why we’re all here.”
Denny Salas, a Chinatown resident and activist who is running for State Assembly added, “every time government tries to correct a past wrong, the responsibility always falls on working class communities, whether it involves building new homeless shelters or new jails. They need to start involving communities right from the jump.”
Lights, Cameras, Violation
CB1 Pushes for Expansion in Use of Monitoring Devices
Community Board 1 (CB1) is pushing for the expanded use of traffic enforcement cameras, the automated monitoring devices that can detect violations of the speed limit and other rules (such as stopping at red lights) on public roads.
The use of such equipment began in New York nearly a decade ago, when then-Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed New York City to launch a pilot program to deter speeding in 20 school zones. The success of that initial deployment in 2013 has expanded to 950 cameras in 750 school zones, where the devices logged more than four million violations in 2020, an increase of almost 100 percent from 2019.
Data from the City’s Department of Transportation document the difference that speed cameras make, with a 71.5 percent reduction in speeding and a 16.9 percent drop in injuries at times when and in locations where they are in use. To read more…
FiDi Couple Arrested on Charges of Laundering Billions
A married couple living in the Financial District were arrested by FBI agents on Tuesday morning, and charged with conspiracy to launder billions of dollars worth of stolen cryptocurrency. Ilya Lichtenstein and his wife, Heather Morgan, were arrested in their home, at 75 Wall Street, according to federal prosecutors.
Mr. Lichtenstein and Ms. Morgan are alleged to have been in possession, through various online accounts, of 94,000 bitcoin, the virtual currency, which had been stolen by hackers from a digital exchange, Bitfinex, in 2016. The current value of that quantity of bitcoin is more than $3.6 billion.
While the couple are not currently charged with having participated in the 2016 robbery, federal agents tracing the proceeds from the Bitfinex theft followed a digital trail that led to accounts controlled by Mr. Lichtenstein and Ms. Morgan. To read more…
Three Among Every Hundred of Your Neighbors May Soon Be Gone
More than 600 Lower Manhattan households are facing the prospect of being forced from their homes, in the wake of New York State’s eviction moratorium expiring in mid-January.
This data comes from an analysis by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), an umbrella organization of 100 non-profit affordable housing and economic development groups that serve low- and moderate-income residents in all five boroughs of the City. ANHD’s report, “New York’s Pandemic Rent Crisis,” documents that eviction proceedings have been filed against 656 rental tenants in the eight residential zip codes that comprise Lower Manhattan.
‘A Weakened Voice for the People of Battery Park City’
Niou Votes Against Redistricting Plan That Will Exile Lower Manhattan to Staten Island
As controversy continues to swirl around a legislative redistricting plan that is widely perceived to disenfranchise Lower Manhattan by severing Battery Park City and the Financial District from the surrounding communities and instead grafting them onto Staten Island, one elected official has taken a stand against the proposal.
As the scheme came before the State Assembly on Thursday, Yuh-Line Niou (who represents Lower Manhattan in that house of the State Legislature) was one of a small handful of lawmakers who voted against the plan.
“Today, I voted to oppose the proposed redistricting maps put forward by the legislature,” Ms. Niou said afterward, “and it is important to me that my constituents understand why I felt it necessary to take this step.
All we need is LOVE! All ages are invited to create heart-shaped “love locks” to tie onto park fences showing your love for BPC. Music, treats and a festive atmosphere provided. Free Battery Park City Authority
In 1939, the Christian Front was formed in response to a call by Father Charles Edward Coughlin to oppose the Popular Front, a communist organization. The members of the Christian Front were American Catholics who supported a pro-Nazi agenda. In 1940, the FBI alleged that members of the group were trying to install what they called a “temporary dictatorship” to end the influence of Jews and Communists, who they saw as the same, in the United States. Charles Gallagher‘s new book Nazis of Copley Square: The Forgotten Story of the Christian Front chronicles the history of the front and how it was ultimately taken down. Join the Museum for a discussion about the book between Gallagher and David Kertzer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Paul Dupee Professor of Social Science at Brown University, Free suggested $10 donation
Leaders in the NFT (non-fungible token) market will discuss the current explosion and future opportunities within this crypto segment. NFTs are a family of crypto assets that hold ownership of unique data linked to a blockchain (e.g. Ethereum). They are typically packaged as digital collectibles, works of art, music, video game items, real estate of virtual reality platforms, and concert tickets. With the NFT market exceeding $27 billion, our panelists will discuss those factors that separate this highly profitable digital market from the rest. The panel discussion will be moderated by Michael Maloney, Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law and Founder of Royale. Panel discussion will be followed by audience Q&A. Free
Join ADL NY/NJ, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the New York Board of Rabbis, and 92Y for a conversation with Dr. Georgette Bennett, whose new book, Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By, tells the story of her efforts to get aid to Syrians during their Civil War. The massive $175 million humanitarian effort that she sparked was largely carried out through unprecedented partnerships between Syrians and Israelis. The conversation will reveal a fascinating story about the impact one person can have and why Bennett was recently cited in Forbes’ first “50 Over 50” Impact list. ,Free; suggested $10 donation,
1-Coast Guard Building Operations – Discussion with Micah Bonner, Director of Auxiliary Southern Region, First Coast Guard District
2-Poets House – Presentation by Cornelius Eady, Interim Director & Jane Preston, Managing Director
3-Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Waterfront Assets (Brooklyn Bridge/East River Esplanade, New Market Building, Fidi/Seaport Coastal Resiliency Master Plan) – Discussion with Gigi Li, Vice President, Government & Community Relations
Join the Museum and Our Travel Circle for a virtual walking tour of Istanbul, which is home to the vast majority of Turkey’s 26,000 Jewish citizens. Istanbul’s Jewish community today is a fraction of its size during Ottoman rule in the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was one of the world’s most important Jewish centers. Unlike Jews in much of Europe, Istanbul’s 500,000 Jews were permitted to work in all professions and could enter the Ottoman court. They excelled in commerce and were particularly important leaders in medicine. Remains from that time can still be seen in the Balat area, along the Golden Horn, and in the Galata district in Beyoğlu—the centers of Istanbul’s Jewish life. Our tour guide, Safak, will take us on a journey through time and into the modern day life of Jews in Istanbul. $36
At LMHQ’s February Women’s Breakfast, we will be shining a spotlight on practices, skills and products you can use to build out an accessible, sustainable routine to take care of yourself mentally and physically. From energy healing to CBD to movement as medicine, our expert practitioners will help you figure out what works best for you so you can always put on your oxygen mask before helping others. Free
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which led to over 100,000 Japanese Americans being forcibly removed from their homes to incarceration camps all over the Western United States. The executive order was influenced by prevalent anti-Asian prejudice. Since that time, Asian Americans have faced ongoing prejudice and hatred. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen dramatically, making it more important than ever to talk about these issues. Join the Museum for a program commemorating the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and discussing the continuing violence and bigotry against Asian Americans. The program will consist of a conversation between Sam Mihara, who was a child prisoner at Heart Mountain Wyoming camp; John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC; and Eric L. Muller, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics at the University of North Carolina School of Law. They will be interviewed by distinguished journalist Ann Curry. Free; suggested $10 donation
For more than forty years, George Washington was dedicated to an innovative and experimental course of farming at Mount Vernon, where he sought to demonstrate the public benefits of recent advances in British agriculture. In this lecture, Ragsdale will discuss these methods of British agricultural improvement and how they also shaped Washington’s management of enslaved labor. This lecture will take place via Zoom. Free
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Ethical and respectable gentleman, an IT Wizard, seeks a living/work space in BPC. Can be a Computer help to you and your business, or will guarantee $1,500 for rental. Reciprocal would be great!
Please contact: 914-588-5284
20+ years experience
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
78 year old refined intellectual gentleman having a passion for cruises and travel seeking a male or female caregiver/companion in exchange for all expense paid venture on the ocean. Only requirement is relationship comfort between us and ability to help with physical care regarding the limitations and restrictions of COPD.
New Mandarin Immersion Preschool Opening in Tribeca
“I originally created the school in 2008, for my first daughter, Arwyn, who is now turning 16,” recalls Sarah Liu, the owner and founder of the Ya Ya Preschool. The program, originally known as “Mandarin Seeds,” began in Ms. Liu’s apartment, “then we grew into yoga studios,” she recalls. “It became so popular that we rented space in Gymboree on Reade Street, and then moved into our own space on Warren Street, with two classrooms.”
The original school transitioned to online learning during the pandemic, “but now we are moving back to an in-person model, and accepting applications for the Ya Ya Preschool,” a Mandarin immersion program, which will open in July at 291 Broadway.
“Ya Ya means ‘sprouting,’” Ms. Liu says, “which describes us, because this is a nursery program that will prepare toddlers for kindergarten, especially in private school.” To read more…
Albany to Lower Manhattan: Drop Dead
Redistricting Grafts Downtown Assembly District Onto Staten Island
In a move that has stupefied and outraged local leaders, the legislature in Albany has proposed to redraw lines for the State Assembly that will divide Lower Manhattan, and transfer its representation to a district on Staten Island.
The current boundaries are slated for change because the 2020 Census has the legal effect of automatically triggering a recalibration of all election district boundaries within the State. This task has fallen to the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR), which has operated largely in secret for several weeks. To read more…
‘Our Representative Won’t Give A Damn About Us’
CB1 Discusses Harm to Lower Manhattan from Gerrymandered Assembly District Lines
Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 became the forum for a vehement discussion of the proposed legislative redistricting that will uproot Battery Park City and the western Financial District from Lower Manhattan, and instead relegate representation of these communities in the State Assembly to Staten Island.
Analysis By Housing Group Cites Declining Affordability in Lower Manhattan
A leading housing advocacy organization has completed an exhaustive look at threats to affordability in every community in the five boroughs, and has found that Lower Manhattan ranks among the ten most at-risk neighborhoods by one key metric, while also placing in the 20 most-endangered by another.
The Bowling Green Greenmarket brings fresh offerings from local farms to Lower Manhattan’s historic Bowling Green plaza. Twice a week year-round stop by to load up on the season’s freshest fruit, crisp vegetables, beautiful plants, and freshly baked loaves of bread, quiches, and pot pies.
Fulton Street cobblestones between South and Front Sts. across from McNally Jackson Bookstore.
Locally grown produce from Rogowski Farm, Breezy Hill Orchard, and other farmers and small-batch specialty food products, sold directly by their producers. Producers vary from week to week.
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted at all farmers markets.
TODAY IN HISTORY
1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia aboard the USS Quincy, officially beginning U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relations.
The substance of this meeting on the Quincy was dominated by a disagreement over the future of Palestine: FDR argued for a Jewish state, and Ibn Saud protested that the Jews should get their state in Bavaria. ( wikipedia )
842 – Charles the Bald and Louis the German swear the Oaths of Strasbourg in the French and German languages.
1778 – The United States flag is formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte renders a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.
1779 – James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.
1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.
1855 – Texas is linked by telegraph to the rest of the United States, with the completion of a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas.
1912 – The U.S. Navy commissions its first class of diesel-powered submarines.
1924 – The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company changes its name to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).
1929 – Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone’s gang, are murdered in Chicago.
1945 – World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces begin fire-bombing Dresden.
1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabiaaboard the USS Quincy, officially beginning U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relations.
1961 – Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at the University of California.
1989 – Union Carbide agrees to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal disaster.
1989 – Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.
2000 – The spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker enters orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.
2018 – A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries.
1368 – Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1437)
1468 – Johannes Werner, German priest and mathematician (d. 1522)
1483 – Babur, Moghul emperor (d. 1530)
1490 – Valentin Friedland, German scholar and educationist of the Reformation (d. 1556)
1545 – Lucrezia de’ Medici, Duchess of Ferrara (d. 1561)
1640 – Countess Palatine Anna Magdalena of Birkenfeld-Bischweiler (d. 1693)
1819 – Christopher Latham Sholes, American journalist and politician, invented the typewriter (d. 1890)
1859 – George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., American engineer, inventor of the Ferris wheel (d. 1896)
1894 – Jack Benny, American actor and producer (d. 1974)
1913 – Jimmy Hoffa, American trade union leader (d. 1975)
1924 – Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma (d. 2017)
1941 – Paul Tsongas, American lawyer and politician (d. 1997)
1942 – Michael Bloomberg, politician and patrician, 108th Mayor of New York City
945 – Zhu Wenjin, Chinese emperor
1400 – Richard II, king of England (b. 1367)
1744 – John Hadley, English mathematician, invented the octant. (b. 1682)
An octant is a portable instrument that uses a small mirror to bring two images together—those of the sun and the horizon, for instance—to determine latitude at sea by observing the altitude of celestial bodies.
1881 – Fernando Wood, American merchant and politician, 73rd Mayor of New York City (b. 1812)
1891 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (b. 1820)
1975 – P. G. Wodehouse, English novelist and playwright (b. 1881)
1999 – John Ehrlichman, American lawyer and politician, 12th White House Counsel (b. 1925)
2012 – Dory Previn, American singer-songwriter (b. 1925)
Credit: Wikipedia and other internet and non-internet sources