Margaret Chin Pushes Back Against Racially Charged Pasquinade
Above: The “Chinzilla” poster that critics of City Council member Margaret Chin created to express their criticism of her record.
Below: Margaret Chin: “To who seek to poison the well with misinformation and racism, I want you to know that I see you, and I will never shy away from calling you out.”
A controversy has erupted over the use of a poster by critics of City Council member Margaret Chin that caricatures her as Godzilla, the metropolis-destroying monster featured in dozens of Japanese films starting in the 1950s. The image superimposes the Council member’s face on the behemoth’s body, and rechristens the creature “Chinzilla.”
“The sentiment behind these personal attacks is nothing new,” Ms. Chin said on Tuesday. “Perhaps xenophobia in the wake of coronavirus has made this poster less palatable than when we first encountered it. Nevertheless, I am reassured by those who stood with me to condemn this ludicrous—and poorly photoshopped—piece of propaganda. Other elected officials of color have endured and will endure similar tactics and it’s important that we denounce racism in any form—and yes, the poster is still racist even if a person of color produced it.”
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou called the poster “unacceptable” and “incredibly hurtful” on her Instagram feed.
The poster was used to spur attendance at a Tuesday rally co-hosted by the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NMASS), the National Lower East Side Workers Center, and East River Park Action, called to protest the billion-plus dollar East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project. This proposed reconstruction of the East River Park, between 25th and Montgomery Streets aims to create anti-flooding barriers that will protect the adjacent communities from the effects of climate change, rising sea levels, and future extreme-weather events. The plan has proved controversial with some residents of the Lower East Side, in part because it may require closure of the park for several years during construction.
In a Tuesday statement, NMASS alleged that Ms. Chin, “co-signed the deal with the City to close East River Park under the guise of flood protection in order to prime the area for market rate housing on [New York City Housing Authority, or NYHCA] land.”
While Ms. Chin does support the ESCR Project, she has long fought proposals to “infill” vacant parcels within NYCHA complexes with market-rate housing, in order to raise money for the financially strapped public housing agency. Moreover, this plan (which has yet to progress beyond the discussion phase) is unrelated to the ESCR, which is funded and launched two weeks ago with the mobilization of equipment for the start of construction.
A Tuesday rally on the Lower East Side, at which several dozen protestors displayed the poster.
“NMASS is responsible for this misinformation, and its members have a track record of opposing any plan that involves change,” Ms. Chin said. “This brand of liberal-in-the-streets-NIMBY-in-the-sheets close-mindedness threatens our parks, our schools, our communities, and our City from advancing and improving for everyone. NMASS defends this picture as advocacy, but this poster clearly lacks any real information and only exists to depict me as a caricature.”
“Unfortunately, this photoshop fail is just a symptom of the organization’s stubborn disinterest in any plan that involves change or compromise,” she continued. “It is all well and good for a community to advocate for better transparency and representation from government. During our country’s politically unprecedented times, one beacon of light is increased civic engagement. But not all activism is created equal.”
NMASS said that its members, “are furious that Chin has been working hand in hand with Mayor de Blasio to give our tax dollars to real estate developers to bring luxury mega-towers into Two Bridges, home to a working-class community of color whose rent is already too high.” (In fact, Ms. Chin is one of the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the de Blasio Administration that seeks to subject the Two Bridges development to the heightened legal scrutiny of the City’s uniform land-use review procedure.)
“We are calling out an elected official for robbing her constituents of color of their homes, livelihoods, and community, and handing them to developers on a silver platter,” NMASS continued. “This is racism.”
Ms. Chin replied, “to NMASS and any other organization who seeks to poison the well with misinformation and racism, I want you to know that I see you, and I will never shy away from calling you out.”
‘Affordable Housing is Unaffordable’
Stringer On New Yorkers Being Priced Out of Their Communities
New York City Comptroller, mayoral contender, and Lower Manhattan resident Scott Stringer took part in a candidates’ forum last Saturday, as part of the annual West Side Tenants’ Conference.
Mr. Stringer condemned the controversial plan by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to move several hundred homeless men from the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side, to the Radisson New York Wall Street Hotel, in the Financial District, saying, “the mismanagement of this administration, who does it hurt at the end of the day? It really hurts the most vulnerable people. He is taking the men at the Lucerne and moving them around as if they are just collateral damage to a failed mayoralty and a failed housing plan. We have to do better.”
Jenny Low, a longtime Lower Manhattan activist and community leader, has entered the race for the City Council seat that will be vacated next year by Margaret Chin, who is required to step aside because of term limits.
“Iʼve spent my whole life fighting for Lower Manhattan, and Iʼm ready to put my skills and experience to work fighting for a recovery from this pandemic that puts working families, small business owners, and our Cityʼs most vulnerable first,” Ms. Low says. She is entering a crowded field. To read more…
Fashion show of cutting edge Chinese designs and a panel discussion with top fashionistas marking the culmination of our annual China Fashion Competition. The competition supports emerging designers and promotes creativity inspired by China’s culture and aesthetics in contemporary, global design. This year’s competition is introducing a sustainability component to promote socially conscious and environmentally friendly fashion. Free
We’re going to the Moon—again! In the next decade NASA’s Artemis program will first orbit, and then land on the lunar surface. What may seem like a re-run from the 1960’s is designed to establish a more permanent human presence on the Moon. This will be used for both scientific and private aims, and it may serve as a stepping-stone to Mars. In this event, we’ll learn more about what’s planned, what we gain from human space exploration, and how we establish international agreements off-planet. $15-$35
Another Day, Another Court Ruling about 52 William Street
On Thursday afternoon, Justice Anil Singh of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division granted a temporary stay, which has the effect of halting once again the planned transfer of more than 200 men from the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side, to the Radisson Wall Street Hotel, located at 52 William Street.
This order is slated to remain in effect until at least December 14, when a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division is scheduled to hear further arguments, and decide whether to extend the stay, or allow the transfer to proceed while litigation continues. To read more…
Santa’s Secret Helpers
Imagine what it’s like to be a kid who, for some reason, isn’t on Santa’s list. Now, just imagine what a huge impact you can make in the life of a child and their parents by being their secret Santa.
Stockings with Care, a charity based in Lower Manhattan, steps in to help when parents cannot provide Christmas gifts for their children, so no child is left out. But the organization, which has benefited over 40,000 children since 1992, needs your help. The parents give the gifts that donors (such as you) provide to the child, preserving their dignity and connection, while ensuring the gifts received are the ones the child wished for. Stockings with Care has created five easy ways to contribute.
The Church Street School for Music and Art will continue a decades-long Downtown tradition (albeit, in virtual form, as a concession to COVID-19) by offeringGingerbread House Decorating Kits (priced at $85), now through Christmas week.
Each take home kit includes one homemade gingerbread house, a variety of candy, freshly made icing, and one foiled round to set your house up on. In addition to offering great holiday fun, this program is one of the most important fundraisers for the highly regarded non-profit institution that has brought enrichment to the lives of generations of Lower Manhattan kids.
Two separate residential towers planned for the Financial District are suffering from the local real estate slowdown. In developments first reported by the online real estate journal, YIMBY, the building now under construction at 161 Maiden Lane has undergone removal of pieces of its facade in recent weeks (the only recent activity on the otherwise-stalled project), while construction equipment has been removed from 45 Broad Street, which is the site of a planned 1,115 foot residential tower.
Bowery restaurant photograph for Changing New York, 1935.
536 – Gothic War: The Byzantine general Belisarius enters Rome unopposed; the Gothic garrison flee the capital.
1793 – New York City’s first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, is established by Noah Webster.
1856 – The Iranian city of Bushehr surrenders to occupying British forces.
1905 – In France, the law separating church and state is passed.
1917 – World War I: Field Marshal Allenby captures Jerusalem, Palestine.
1935 – Walter Liggett, American newspaper editor and muckraker, is killed in a gangland murder.
1935 – The Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, later renamed the Heisman Trophy, is awarded for the first time. The winner is halfback Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago.
1946 – The “Subsequent Nuremberg trials” begin with the “Doctors’ trial”, prosecuting physicians and officers alleged to be involved in Nazi human experimentation and mass murder under the guise of euthanasia.
1953 – Red Scare: General Electric announces that all communist employees will be discharged from the company.
1968 – Douglas Engelbart gave what became known as “The Mother of All Demos”, publicly debuting the computer mouse, hypertext, and the bit-mapped graphical user interface using the oN-Line System (NLS).
1979 – The eradication of the smallpox virus is certified, making Smallpox the first of only two diseases that have been driven to extinction (Rinderpest in 2011 being the other).
1447 – Chenghua Emperor of China (d. 1487)
1608 – John Milton, English poet and philosopher (d. 1674)
1779 – Tabitha Babbitt, American tool maker and inventor (d. 1853)
1883 – Joseph Pilates, German-American fitness expert, developed Pilates (d. 1967)
1886 – Clarence Birdseye, American businessman, founded Birds Eye (d. 1956)
1898 – Emmett Kelly, American clown and actor (d. 1979)
1930 – Buck Henry, American actor, director, and screenwriter
1934 – Judi Dench, English actress
1942 – Joe McGinniss, American journalist and author (d. 2014)
1953 – John Malkovich, American actor and producer
1165 – Malcolm IV of Scotland (b. 1141)
1437 – Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 1368)
1798 – Johann Reinhold Forster, German pastor, botanist, and ornithologist (b. 1729)
1982 – Leon Jaworski, American lawyer and politician (b. 1905)
1991 – Berenice Abbott, American photographer (b. 1898)
EYES TO THE SKY
November 30 – December 13, 2020
Full Snow Moon rises this afternoon, winter stars follow, planets delight
The Full Snow Moon rises above the east-northeast horizon this afternoon at 4:48pm, nearly simultaneous with sunset in the southwest at 4:29pm. See moonrise about an hour later every evening and sunset remaining within seconds of 4:29pm until the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21.
Mornings, awake to the intriguing spectacle of moonset in the west-northwest as the Sun rises in the southeast. Tomorrow, December 1, sunrise is at 7:01am, while the great orb of the moon will be visible in the daylight blue sky until 8:08am. See the moon higher and longer in the morning sky – in waning gibbous phase – everyday this week. The Sun rises about a minute later everyday through the 26th: Sunrise is at 7:12 on 13th.
Downtown Restaurants Brace for More Closure Orders
As New York wades deeper into its second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, some local restaurants are trying to get ahead of the curve of anticipated closures by voluntarily shutting down both indoor and outdoor dining.
Among these is Blue Smoke, in Battery Park City, owned by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which is also taking similar measures at the company’s Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern.
Distressed Downtown Real Estate Indicators Point South
The first Baron Rothschild is said to have advised, “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.” If he was correct, this may be an auspicious moment to purchase real estate in Lower Manhattan, where the distress is acute. To read more…