Dear Neighbor,


Chinatown needs you. 

By one count, New York City has nine Chinatowns – and the businesses in these neighborhoods have suffered tremendously. We spoke to Marcia Hu, a community lead for Send Chinatown Love, an organization mobilized in March to help Asian-owned small businesses. Hu is 25 years old, lives in Flushing and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs through digital marketing and seminars. She explains why they’re hurting. 

No websites: Many of these businesses lacked an online presence, which hindered efforts to fundraise. 

Unorganized economy: They also tend to operate as cash only, which made it challenging to qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the government. 

Racism: Covid-19 has fueled a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and xenophobia. 

The toll is obvious, Hu said, when you compare the barren streets of Manhattan’s Chinatown with other parts of the city teeming with people. Some ways she suggested you can help:

Educate yourself. Hu suggested existing Asian American organizations to stay up to date on the Asian business community. Some good places to start are the Greater Flushing Chamber of CommerceWelcome to Chinatown and Think!Chinatown

Order directly from Asian restaurants in your neighborhood. If you use apps like Grubhub and Uber Eats, the restaurant has to pay a fee.

Grocery shop in Chinatown. You are spoiled for choice. Manhattan, Flushing, Elmhurst, Bensonhurst, Forest Hills and Sunset Park all have their own Chinatown neighborhood. Think!Chinatown created a doc that lists open Chinese supermarkets. 

Report incidents of anti-Asian racism and discrimination here.

Be a tourist. Still homebound? You can explore Manhattan’s Chinatown virtually

Donate. Send Chinatown Love allows you to donate to specific vendors or purchase a voucher for future use. Welcome to Chinatown is trying to raise $200,000 for a Longevity Fund, from which it hopes to distribute $5,000 grants to 40 small businesses. 

AND HOW ARE YOU? 
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OUT & ABOUT

Backyard Bronx Boogie: The Bronx Brewery is hosting its annual opening day party (delayed by Covid) this Saturday, August 8. There will be four DJs, a food truck and lots of beer. Citing social distancing, Bronx Brewery is only selling table reservations, not individual tickets. No walk-ins. Reserve here

It’s beginning to feel more like summer: The LeFrak Center at Lakeside at Prospect Park has reopened. The center offers boat and bike rentals … and everyone’s favorite hot summer day activity: the splash pad. (Kids, that one’s for you; parents, grab a beverage from the center’s Bluestone Café.) Learn more
 


Photo courtesy of Joyce Kam

Honor Black lives lost: Brooklynite Joyce Kam created a memorial at Bushwick Inlet Park in Williamsburg to honor victims of racial injustice. There are 187 photos of Black people who lost their lives due to police violence or hate crimes. The memorial will be on display through August at 50 Kent Ave. 

Live, from a parking lot: Culture Lab at The Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City has turned its parking lot into a space where it hosts free,live and socially distanced music and comedy events (Michael Che of “SNL” fame has performed several times) for the community every Thursday through Monday. Refreshments are available for purchase, but BYOS (bring your own seat, that is). Bonus: Dogs are allowed, as long as they’re leashed. Follow Culture Lab on Facebook for more upcoming events.

Blooming: The AnkhLave Arts Alliance, which supports artists of color, partnered with the Queens Botanical Garden for an exhibit featuring installations by six local female artists of color. The exhibit is part of an effort to promote artists who represent and reflect the diversity of visitors to the garden. Learn more

Leave city life behind in the city: The Queens County Farm Museum sits on New York City’s largest remaining tract of farmland and dates back to 1697. As of this past weekend, the museum has been welcoming back visitors and features a new art installation, “Cover Crop,” by Queens native Aaron Asis. Don’t forget to feed the farm’s goats during your visit. More info on the Queens County Farm Museum website


Photo courtesy of Tishman Speyer

We are resilient: The flags surrounding the rink at Rockefeller Center, which normally represent countries in the United Nations, will be replaced by 193 new flags celebrating diverse culture, energy and strength. The flags were designed by local New Yorkers and artists including Marina Abramović, Jeff Koons and Christian Siriano. See all of the flags here

GET & GIVE HELP

Rent relief deadline extended: The deadline to apply for New York’s Covid Rent Relief Program has been extended to Thursday, August 6. Eligible applicant’s household income must have been below 80% of the area median prior to March 1. Use this chart to check your eligibility. Additionally, applicants must have been spending more than 30% of their gross monthly income toward rent prior to March 1. Learn more and apply here.

Feed your hood: We first wrote about community fridges a few weeks ago, and we’re thrilled to see this initiative has been spreading since. The latest neighborhood to get on board is Jackson Heights. Its fridge begins operating Saturday, August 8, and organizers seek volunteers to canvas local grocery stores, talk to neighbors, create flyers, translations and more. Sign up.

Safety first: If there ever was a time to start biking, now might be it. Coronavirus means less cars on the road, and you might not feel ready to ride buses or subways. To brush up on cycling skills, Bike New York has a virtual class on Wednesday, August 5, and again on August 12. Sign up to attend. 

#AstoriaStrong: Not quite comfortable going out to eat yet? Local restaurants are sharing some of their most popular recipes in a new cookbook, “Astoria at Home.” All proceeds will benefit the Astoria Mutual Aid Network. Order your copy here

Opening borders: There’s a case for more migration not less, even in a global pandemic. Join the 92nd Street Y for a virtual discussion with bestselling authors Salman Rushdie and Suketu Mehta. Tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 online

THIS & THAT

Wholesale at home: With many restaurants closed or operating at limited capacity, food wholesalers have pivoted to selling direct. That means consumers have more access to high-quality options at affordable prices. We’re a fan of the Meat Guys, a family-run business with no delivery fee or minimum. See what’s in stock this week.
 


Photo courtesy of Puppet Kitchen International

A furry colleague on Zoom: Yes, this is the world we live in these days. Give your coworkers a good laugh and support the arts by booking a Muppet-style puppet to make a cameo or deliver a message at your next meeting. Learn more and reserve your puppet.

Calling all foodies: Perhaps you’ve seen it in your feed — literally. Bay Area-based food tech startup Shef allows you to order refrigerated meals from home cooks in your neighborhood,then delivered to your door. The service just launched in New York City. Type in your zip code and see who’s cooking near you. 

Do you feel safe? Queens Public Library is hosting a virtual workshop this Friday, August 7, at 4 p.m. for young women of color. Participants will discuss solutions and ways to protect themselves. Register by email and mention “Protected” in the subject line. 

DAY-TRIPPING

Brooklyn-Queens Greenway — Bike from Flushing Meadows Corona Park to Alley Pond

Yes, you can bike in Queens and not on Queens Boulevard. This roughly 20-mile ride is a good one for getting a tour of Queen’s finest parks. Start out in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and ride around the pleasant, though sometimes crowded, loop around the lake. Cross the bridge that leads you to the Unisphere but instead of going straight, head to the service road on the eastern edge. Look out for a greenway sign and right turn for Fowler Path (you will go under a bridge), which takes you by a playground. From hereon out, keep an eye for the greenway signs (not always easy or intuitive). You will pass Queens Botanical Garden, Kissena Park (the lake makes for a nice halfway snack stop), Cunningham Park and finally, Alley Pond Park. The highlight is the three-mile Vanderbilt Motor Parkway linking Cunningham and Alley Pond. Formerly an elevated road, the path is now only for bikes, walkers and joggers. Save some energy as this is also the toughest, hilliest part of the ride. For more details, check out this useful guide.

And for when you can’t spare an entire day but need a break

Summer in the city can be brutal. Escapes within, though, are possible. Look no further than Midtown for a complete oasis with a 25-foot waterfall, lush greenery, ample shade and a café. Open Monday through Friday, Greenacre Park is the perfect spot when you need a quick break from the grind. 

LAST WORD  

We want to see, hear, feel, support your art and response to this moment. To submit a poem, short story, artwork or any shareable experience, email us.

This week we welcome Sawyer Shader-Seave, who shared his video titled “Breaking the Matrix.” Shader-Seave, who studies data science, uses the programming language Processing to make his art. You can see more of his work on Youtube. Click the image below to watch. 

This newsletter was written by Danielle Hyams, with contributions from Sumathi Reddy. Photographs and design by Nitin Mukul and editing by Robin Cabana and Faye Chiu. Did you like it or find it useful? Tell a friend to sign up. Support our vendors, freelancers and efforts by making a donation to our tip jar.