The Uncertain Recovery of Manhattan’s Chinatown

By Juliana Kim

[Want to get New York Today by email? Here’s the sign-up.]

It’s Thursday.

Weather: A nice, warm day reaching about 70, and mostly sunny by the afternoon.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until March 28 (Passover).

Jenny Wu, 28, planned to have her wedding banquet next year at Jing Fong, the largest restaurant in Chinatown.

For many, the dim sum palace was the prime spot to hold weddings, birthdays, graduations and reunions. But that is no longer possible: After 28 years in operation, the banquet hall closed down this past Sunday.

The restaurant will continue to offer takeout and some outdoor dining. But Jing Fong’s banquet hall was geographically and symbolically at the heart of Chinatown, and the shutdown underscored the uncertain recovery of one of New York’s most famous immigrant neighborhoods.

[The Jing Fong closing leaves a “crater” in Chinatown.]

Here’s what you need to know:

The details

Gripped by the pandemic, Jing Fong experienced an 85 percent plunge in revenue, making it virtually impossible to operate, Truman Lam, whose family owns the restaurant, told my colleague Winnie Hu.

“We just can’t make ends meet, and who knows when this business is going to rebound?” he said. “Half of our business was attributed to banquets, parties and weddings, and that’s been a big fat zero.”

Jing Fong was one of few unionized restaurants in the city. The closing is particularly painful for the more than 100 workers who lost their jobs.

Source: Read Full Article