Chinatown Gentrification Watch

documenting and fighting the gentrification and displacement of tenants, street vendors, and youth in new york city's chinatown.

welcome to our youth-run photo blog.


bilingual inspections,
community protection!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

apartment for rent

see that building? even though it looks old;still,the rent is not affordable for some low income tenants who live in chinatown.

Monday, September 18, 2006

inching in ... foreshadows of the future...

from LES...

... to Chinatown ...

as apartments in this new luxury condo complex go on the market for 1.6 million, tenement buildings nearby continue to provide shelter for low-income tenants. crucial as they may be, these tenements are a only a few of the remaining affordable housing in nyc -- a city that is quickly slamming its doors on low-income residents.

a recent nytimes article mentioned how a nearby new development marketed itself as a new residence located in "south soho". this is a terrible and frightening foreshadow of the process in which some rich developers hope for -- evicting the current low-income residents, renaming the community from chinatown to a more hipster (ethnic-free) area like "south soho", and claiming it as a new and trendy neighborhood for young trust fund artists.

soon, sanitation might improve, but only after wealthy tenants move in and begin to complain to the city about the sanitation problems - problems that have plagued this neighborhood from the start but due to city gov't neglegence, complaints have largely been ignored and brushed under the rug under the guise that such unsanitary ways were our 'cultural norms'.

as chinatown tenants experience the looming changes their community, we must continue our work of protecting and educating low-income tenants of their rights.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sept. 11th

It's September 11th again-- 5 years later.

Today, like every day, families who lost loved ones will mourn. Politicians will use the day to further their media courting, political agendas, and election strategies. Chinatown will remain invisible in the mainstream media. No one will remember that Chinatown is right next to the financial district. No one will remember that right after 9/11 Chinatown families could not return home. Chinatown tenants could not go to work and Chinatown children could not go to school. Army tanks sat in the middle of the street for months, making some areas a real-life military zone. Residents not only suffer emotional trauma and loss from 9/11, but also lingering health conditions as well ...

The invisibility of Chinatown and what is happening in the world are not separate from one another, but deeply interconnected. Chinatown exists as a reminder of government racism and neglect here in the US. In the face of catastrophe, the government chose not to rebuild and improve the current housing stock or even to build affordable housing, but to use 9/11 and money previously earmarked for low-income housing to relocate financial institutions out of Lower Manhattan. Profit continued to be the priority. And today, billions of dollars that could go into social programs are still being diverted to fight never-ending wars....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

formerly a parking lot ...what next?

Thursday, August 17, 2006



Tuesday, August 15, 2006

as you can see, it's a new building in Hester S.T.
it looks very nice, but i don't know how many people can afford it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Fight to Survive

Our work in documenting the gentrification that's happening in Chinatown is not just about changing storefronts and changing faces. It is also about the ways everyday people survive and fight.

Immigrant tenants in Chinatown are resilient. Don't let the inability to speak English fool you. Members of the Chinatown Tenant Union meet up to share their stories and strategies with each other. In three, sometimes four, different languages. They participate in city-wide hearings, meetings, and demonstrations. They would rather live in overcrowded, often hazardous conditions rather than let their friends and families live on the streets. They use their own money to maintain their apartments. They go to court even when they can't afford a lawyer. They demand repairs even when they know their landlords will probably ignore them.

And they know what they want: Affordable (not the co-opted language of the word, but truly affordable) housing in the community that is safe and clean.

It's really not that hard to understand.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

dangerous conditions

at one SRO (single-room occupancy) on bowery, the stairs became wet as a result of major rainfall that day. the residents, mostly middle-aged to elderly retired men, noted that this happens a lot when it rains. the building employee usually places 2-3 buckets to hold the water in, but when it overflows, the stairs become a very dangerous climb for elderly men entering and exiting their apartments. the buckets themselves take up half the space on those steps!

would you want your grandfather to be climbing up and down these stairs? how difficult is it for a landlord to avoid potential accidents by simply repairing the ceiling?



Friday, August 04, 2006

I created a Slide Show! Check it out!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

This is a new bar on Essex Street, right above are residential apartments. This is the only bar on that block, however if you were the tenants in that building, would you like all the noises in the middle of the night? For me, it doesn't make sense to place a bar in this neighborhood.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Long time ago this is a laundromat. But not.

my house

This is my Chinatown apartment in 2006.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

new building

as you can see in the picture, there is a very new building - it has a new door and new windows. compared to the old building next to it on the right, you can see how different they are.

Friday, July 28, 2006

In our community, many new apartment buildings are being built. These buildings give our environment a new face. On the another hand, it also affects the people in the community. The rent of apartments in a new building is very expensive. Low-income families can not afford it, and they end up being pushed out of the community to other outer boroughs.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

On Grand Street, this little cafe has opened. The customers they serve are generally not Chinese, and the menu is only in English.


Monday, July 24, 2006



Friday, July 21, 2006

a new bar in chinatown

This is a new bar in New York City's Chinatown. As you can see, the customers inside are mostly young white people. This bar doesn't really serve the poor people in Chinatown. If it doesn't serve the people in this community, what's the use?

in the same building, there are two kinds of environment. at the top of the building, it looks very old. on the first floor, it is totally different. it opens the small bussiness and have a wonderful set up.

This is a new face in Chinatown which was parking lot before. All we can do just take a look!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Evidence of gentrification

Here is more evidence that shows how the landlord is going to rebuild the new houses in Chinatown. They would probably rent this building to the rich people. However, most of the Chinatown tenants are low-income. So how can they afford this kind of expensive houses? That's why I feel that it won't benefit the Chinatown tenants at all. As a result, gentrification has tended to remove low-income tenants from Chinatown.

This building is on East Broadway. The building in the middle has a lot of differences on both sides of building, especially the style and new windows. The landlord use more money to decorate the building. The building is built taller and cut into small apartments. It proves the better environment than before. Because of that, the rent is very expensive. For the low-income tenants who can not afford it, they need to move to other places. From this apartment, we can see how gentification affects low-income tenants.

Monday, July 17, 2006

memories: lost in gentrification.

the store sign of jing kee, formerly at 1 1/2 doyers street...

...its vibrant colors and liveliness, now but a memory...

because physically, it is no longer there.

i can still vividly remember the corner store in the top two photos. during high school, my friends and i would hang out in chinatown; popping in and out of cd and vcd stores (dvds weren't in style yet), oogling at the latest wong faye albums, guwakjai films, and yes! cards. as the sun began to set, we would trot into the corner store, poking the various shiny sterling silver rings sold by a vendor right by the doorway of the deli. some of us would grab some box drinks from the cool fridge inside, and if we had an extra dollar to spare, maybe even some candies by the counter. a simple stop along the way home, taken for granted. it's never until we lose someone or something that we really begin to cherish their existence and the memories they leave behind.

today, gentrification in chinatown is steadily changing the face of this neighborhood. in the blink of an eye, small family-owned shops like the one above are being quietly and quickly wiped out and replaced by entrepreneurs with fatty wallets. behind the brick walls and metal doors on every block in chinatown, gentrification is eating away the walls of tenants' apartments, leaving tenants with dripping faucets, leaky pipes, and roach-infested homes. elderly tenants are forced to cope with noise pollution from nearby establishments from the wee hours of the morning and intermittently, through the night. chinatown street vendors are continually displaced and have difficultly finding a legit spot to vend in their own neighborhood. some have been relegated to areas polluted with terrible bus fumes, creating a substantial health hazard for vendors who make an honest living by selling and serving their communities out on the streets everyday. CHINATOWN IS NOT FOR SALE. rich developers should not strip this rich and vibrant neighborhood at the expense of the low-income families and individuals living in nyc's chinatown.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Summer Youth Gentrification Blog of the Chinatown Justice Project (of CAAAV)

Chinatown is the home and workplace of thousands of Chinese immigrants and is the center of Chinese community life in New York City. With the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere and home to over 84,000 people, Chinatown also contains some of the largest and last rent-stabilized housing stock in the City.

The majority of the people who live in Chinatown rent their apartments, living in overcrowded and dilapidated tenement buildings that are over one hundred years old. Since the mid- to late 1990s, there have been many changes in the community. Many long time low-income tenants are being forcibly evicted, as more and more young professionals see Chinatown as a central location to live. As the supply of affordable housing decreases throughout the City, developers gentrify the community, making it friendlier for those who can pay higher rents.

Gentrification pressures have only increased since September 11th, with the real estate industry looking at Chinatown as the "last frontier" for development in Manhattan. Because priority has not been given to equitable and inclusive development, there is a serious risk of large-scale displacement for the thousands of low-income residents who currently live and work there, and along with it, increased harassment of youth in public spaces (e.g. parks) and small entrepreneurs (e.g. street vendors and merchants who cater to the working-poor).

Since 1999, CAAAV's Chinatown Justice Project has been addressing the conditions of poverty, gentrification, and the targeted practices and policies of the city and police that have historically besieged Chinatown. Based on results of its 1999-2000 community survey of Chinatown's low-income residents and building upon Chinatown's long history of resistance against racial violence and economic injustice, CJP has developed an anti-gentrification organizing project to be carried out through two strategies. Through its youth leadership development and organizer skills training program, CJP develops the leadership of young people to organize their community. By organizing low-income tenants and vendors, CJP seeks to protect Chinatown from displacement, build a healthy community environment with decent and affordable housing for all, and clean and safe streets.