Issuu on Google+

CLOSED DOORS VOluMe 26, NuMber 17 JANuArY 30-februArY 12 2014 PROJECT NAME: South Ferry Terminal Complex (Street Entrance Flood Protection) DOwNtOwN SubwAY $ P. 13 DATE: 11/1/2013 RENDERING: PROPOSED ENTRANCE 1 (GATE-CLOSED) seaPort tower PLan Is now on hoLd, Leaders saY I BY JOSH rOgerS n the history of community activism, it might go down as one of the quickest battle victories of all time. Although the “war” over the South Street Seaport’s proposed 600-foot tower is far from over, the city appears to have taken the advice of Just Press Pause and put the project on hold as of Jan. 29, a mere 16 days after the advocacy group announced its formation to try and halt Howard Hughes Corp.’s development plans. Robert LaValva, the co-founder of Pause who was out of town when the news came out, called the decision “a complete victory for the Seaport and East River waterfront communities, as well as the city at large, representing a new direction in economic development.” Continued on page 3 PaUL Lee, who LoVed & FoUGht For chInatown, dIes P BY JOSH rOgerS Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony aul J.Q. Lee, a Chinatown activist who seemed to relish in uphill fights against the establishment, died Jan. 18 at age 63. Lee suffered a heart attack in the subway on the way to work Jan. 15, and died three days later at Beth Israel Hospital, said Keith Leung, who thought of Lee as a second father figure. Lee and his family owned the 32 Mott Street General Store for over a century before he had to close the business in 2003, citing the loss of traffic from the N.Y.P.D. security closure of Park Row. He became one of the leading voices in the neighborhood to reopen the thoroughfare, which passes under police headquarters and links Chinatown to the rest of Lower Manhattan. Lee was also an actor with over a dozen film credits including small roles in Continued on page 8 Karlin Chan, who now trains lion dancers for Chinatown’s Lunar New Year parades, said when he performed in the ‘70s, it was a “free for all.” Chinatown’s wilder Lunar New Year days remembered W BY SAM SPOKONY ith the Lunar New Year and its colorful costumes, pounding drums and exuberant lion dances starting this week, Chinatown’s cultural leaders are preparing for yet another celebration through the streets. But even as the fanfare of those symbolic dances continues to evolve and grow in the 21st century, there are still those around town who remember a different time — one in which old-school tradition ruled the day, and proper practice of the most minute rituals meant the difference between public disgrace and hard-earned respect. Longtime neighborhood advocate Karlin Chan fondly recalled those days as he sat within the 211 Canal St. headquarters of the New York Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club. Chan, 56, is now the elder — essentially, the figurehead — of the Freemasons Club, which was established in 1956 and is Chinatown’s oldest surviving organization that still performs lion dancing on the New Year, along with other cultural events throughout the country. 5 15 CANAL ST RE ET • N YC 10 013 • C OPYRIG HT © 2013 N YC COMMU N ITY MED IA , LLC “Back then, there wasn’t much for Chinese kids to do around here,” Chan said of the 1960s — the decade when he immigrated to New York from southern China with his parents at the age of 3. “All of us school kids would play with firecrackers, and after a while, we said, ‘Hey, let’s get involved with [the Freemasons Club],’ because they were in charge of the firecrackers during New Year’s celebrations.” So he first joined the club in 1970, at age Continued on page 16


Related publications