Unequal Opportunity for Mott Street ‘Open Restaurants’ [OP-ED]
New York City rolled out the “Open Restaurant” initiative last month as a lifeline for struggling restaurants during the ongoing ban on inside dining.
While many restaurants along Mott Street have participated in the program, some are excluded due to the fire lane on the west side of the street. Yet, curiously, these restrictions don’t seem to apply to the lower section of Mott from Mosco south to the Bowery. An area for which the Chinatown BID secured seating booths along both sides of the street, courtesy of the Rockwell group, which installed them this month with much fanfare and praise from Councilwoman Margaret Chin.
Strangely, Chin was opposed to converting the entire length of Mott, south of Canal, as part of the initiative. Moreover, according to staffer Ian Chan, she is opposed to an effort led by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association to close the traditional core of Chinatown for an “Open Streets” program running Fridays through Sundays, 5:00pm to 10:00pm. Having participated in the canvassing of businesses within the proposed street closures, I found 95% of businesses were on board with the proposal.
The three-term Chin, who hasn’t been seen around Chinatown since February, has yet to state a specific reason for her opposition. In my humble opinion, every business deserves an equal chance at surviving this pandemic and electeds have a duty to facilitate that.
But for now, it would seem it’s still a tale of two cities on Mott street.