Learning from Chinatowns’ Recovery

Image credit: Christopher Postlewaite / NYC Go

New York City’s Chinatowns were some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19. At the same time, they have demonstrated remarkable resilience despite citywide spikes in xenophobia and anti-Asian violence, drawing on a legacy of self-reliance and community-driven efforts. Join Open House New York for a discussion among leaders from business, arts, and community-based organizations in Manhattan, Sunset Park, and Flushing’s Chinatowns for cross-sector, cross-borough reflections on their neighborhoods’ resilience and reopening. The conversation will explore what can be learned from Chinatown as we emerge from the latest pandemic lockdown—drawing attention to the strategies these neighborhoods have adopted to spur recovery, and how these enclaves provide a symbol of the city’s resilience during times of catastrophe and economic downturn, from 9/11 to COVID-19 and #StopAAPIHate.

The panel addressed questions about the future of Chinatown and the city at large, such as:

  • What can the city learn from reopening efforts in the city’s Chinatowns, particularly in regards to supporting immigrant neighborhoods and minority-owned businesses?
  • How are arts and cultural programming/initiatives impacting economic recovery? And what role do cultural / civic organizations play in building community resilience (in Chinatown vs. citywide)?
  • What types of coalitions are being formed across the city’s different Chinatowns to advocate for COVID-19 relief and resources? How does the rise in anti-Asian violence factor into Chinatowns’ recovery?

Open House New York hosted a conversation moderated by journalist Eveline Chao with Wellington Chen (Chinatown BID/Partnership), Yin Kong (Think!Chinatown), Liang Ming (Glow Community Center), and Paul Mak (Brooklyn Chinese-American Association) as they reflected on the needs and aspirations of their communities—both unique and shared–and learned from the past to plan for a post-pandemic future.

Open House New York’s Conversations on the City offers diverse perspectives on the issues defining New York’s recovery, resilience, and reopening in the aftermath of COVID-19. The series was launched at the onset of the pandemic in April 2020 amid a moment of uncertainty about the future of urban life, ultimately drawing together an audience of 10,000 over the subsequent months. Organized around a broad theme or topic, the series has a point of view: urban life brings an abiding joy. What makes cities continue to thrive, what propels them forward, is a shared need for human connection; this is what cities make possible and it will always prevail over whatever challenges may arise.

Registration for the event is on Eventbrite.

The event is $5 for General Admission and free to OHNY Members and Volunteers. The discussion will be virtual and hosted live on Zoom.