Chinatown Awarded $20M State Grant to Revamp East Broadway Mall and Sites Neaby
Last week announced that Chinatown is the recipient of $20 million in state grant money to reconfigure three key areas in the neighborhood.
The main targets for a renovations are the city-owned East Broadway Mall beneath the Manhattan Bridge; the East Broadway Triangle – that chaotic intersection of Eldridge, Division, and Forsyth Streets where the daily fruit stand is headquartered; Forsyth Plaza at the mouth of the bridge; and Kimlau Square at the bottom of the Bowery.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced the $20 million state grant Wednesday at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association on Mott Street.
“Chinatown serves as a beacon of cultural richness and diversity, not just for New Yorkers, but for the entire world,” Hochul said in a statement. “With this award, Chinatown will shine even brighter and reach its fullest potential as a vibrant community and an international arts and cultural destination.
The first component of the plan is a reimagining of the East Broadway Mall, the partially vacant shopping center that dates back to 1994. It’s fallen on hard times in recent years, including the recent pandemic loss of the 88 Palace banquet hall on-site. Now, a portion of the grant money is reportedly earmarked to convert the space into a theater with streetside retail.
Next up is the chaotic confluence of narrow streets straddling the bridge itself. The plan is to improve bike and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, as well as street furniture and install permanent set-ups for the produce vendors.
As for Kimlau Square memorial plaza, officials told Gothamist that the full renovation and redesigns are likely to require additional city and state funding down the line.
As for perception, local activists want to ensure that the grant money is evenly disbursed amongst the various community organizations.
“This grant and others in the future should be more evenly distributed throughout the many orgs that have served the community,” says vociferous activist Karlin Chan. “Chinatown was hard hit by the pandemic, and during the early months of lockdown it was residents who stepped up while organizations sheltered in place.”