View Full Version : Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District

October 2nd, 2009, 06:34 AM
Chinatown and Little Italy unite in historic district move


Map showing the boundaries of the new Chinatown Little Italy Historic District.

If the newly designated Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District had a mascot, maybe it would be Marco Polo.

The Italian explorer traveled to China over 700 years ago, bridging a language and culture gap to teach each society about the other.

Over the past 100 years, the same intersection of cultures occurred across a much smaller distance: the blocks of Lower Manhattan’s Little Italy and Chinatown neighborhoods. To honor the area’s architecture and history, the State Historic Preservation Office designated the Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District by a unanimous vote Sept. 15.

“It’s probably the most harmonious interracial community that has ever been,” said Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and leader of the historic district effort. “I can never recall anything that was discordant or tense.”

The district is a narrow rectangle that includes Columbus Park and is roughly bordered on the south by Worth St., on the west by Mulberry and Baxter Sts., on the north by E. Houston St. and on the east by a line between the Bowery and Elizabeth St. The state said earlier this year that the neighborhood was significant because of the remaining tenement architecture and the immigrant groups’ social history.

Because Marco Polo embodies the district’s spirit so well, Papa is planning a Marco Polo Day celebration for the district on the afternoon of Sun., Oct. 18. Featuring cultural performances and food, the celebration will be held on Grand St. between Mott and Mulberry Sts. from 1 to 4 p.m. By mid-October, the National Register of Historic Places may have added the district to their list as well.

Unlike city landmark districts, the state and national designations do not restrict property owners from altering (or demolishing) their buildings. But the state designation does offer tax breaks and incentives for property owners who do preservation work, and it will likely be a boon to tourism in the area.

“It’s good for Chinatown and Little Italy because it’s a larger framework for both communities to address the issue of preservation and the issue of economic development,” Papa said. “It will make Little Italy and Chinatown a destination point.”

Papa hopes the new district will focus attention on the Italian and Chinese immigrants who settled on the same streets and patronized each other’s shops, each learning phrases of the other’s language.

“We hope to make something of that story,” Papa said.


February 4th, 2010, 10:29 AM
This is a sad turn of events; fortunately the building at 233-241 Mott / 32-34 Prince is Landmarked (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/PropertyProfileOverviewServlet?bin=1007495&requestid=2) ...

City's first Catholic school, St. Patrick's Old Cathedral School, to shut its doors

NY DAILY NEWS (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/02/04/2010-02-04_no_luck_for_st_patricks_after_188_years_citys_f irst_catholic_school_to_shut_its_.html?r=ny_local&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nydnrss%2Fny_local+%28NY+Loca l%29)
February 4th 2010

The city's first Catholic school is slated to close after 188 years educating the children of Little Italy.

St. Patrick's Old Cathedral School - which taught generations of students and boasted such illustrious grads as Hollywood director Martin Scorsese - will shut its doors after this school year.

"This is the first school that ever opened. This should have been the last school they closed," said Judith Coello, 40, of Sea Gate, Brooklyn, whose son Brandon, 11, is in fifth grade.

Archdiocese of New York spokesman Joseph Zwilling said the school had just 129 students, down from three times that number 10 years ago.

"Almost half the students come from the other boroughs, New Jersey, Long Island, and other parts of Manhattan," Zwilling said. "We believe that closing this school will also help strengthen the other schools."

Declining enrollment has plagued many of the city's Catholic schools over the past decade, with dozens of schools in the five boroughs closing down.

But parents at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral said enrollment was on the upswing, even in the bad economy, with 50 new students already hoping to enroll for next year .

Parents fighting to save the well-regarded school say it offers a balance of strong academics and plenty of arts and other activities. The school draws students from across the city only because it's a great school, they said.

"I work in midtown Manhattan, and it's always been a comfort to me to know [my children] are two subway stops away," said mother Cassandra Reyes, 37, of Woodside, Queens, whose son Aidan, 5, is kindergartner and daughter Sade, 13, is in eighth grade.

"As parents, we're willing to do whatever it takes. We're willing to fund-raise. If we need to bring more students, we'll do that."

For some students and alums, St. Patrick's is more than a school - it's a family tradition. Take Margaret Vella, a 1968 graduate of the Mott St. school who still lives around the corner.

Her mother graduated from the school as did her three kids. A niece and a nephew still attend. "To take this away from us is a travesty," she said.

Jada Bazquez, 9, has the same fourth grade teacher as her mother, Nina Rodriguez, had 15 years ago.

"It's completely heartbreaking," said Rodriguez, who lives in Alphabet City. "The teachers impacted my life, and I know they can do amazing things for her."

It's not just old-timers who treasure the school.

"The students don't even think of this as a school. They think of it as a family," said Amparo Ally, 42, of the East Village, who enrolled her 4-year-old son Brandon after arriving in the city last year. "It's hard these days to find a school like that."

© Copyright 2010 NYDailyNews.com

March 10th, 2010, 11:31 AM
Feds designate Chinatown-Little Italy

Downtown Express (http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_358/fedsdesignate.html)

The new Chinatown Little Italy Historic District won recognition last month from the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its intersection of Italian and Chinese immigrant cultures, the neighborhood roughly bounded by Worth St., Lafayette St., E. Houston St. and the Bowery was designated by the State Historic Preservation Office last fall. The designations do not prevent the neighborhood’s buildings from being demolished, but property owners may be eligible for tax benefits and historic preservation grants. The Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, which sponsored the application, will hold information sessions for property owners in April.

March 10th, 2010, 11:37 AM
I'm happy?

I think it is definitely historic, but not many places I have been to in CT have made me look around and say "HEY! This needs to be PRESERVED!!!".

Maybe it is just the general atmosphere that dominates so heavily that it is hard to notice the forest for the trees.

The grizzly bears don't help either.

March 14th, 2010, 03:09 AM
244 Elizabeth Street just squeezes into this Historic District, I think.

Waiting on Nolita Rehab

March 12, 2010, by Joey

NOLITA—The boarded-up 244 Elizabeth is waiting on its rehab by the city and conversion to low-income co-ops, but a tipster says don't hold your breath: "Called the name on the permits at the city's office about if this is ever going to happen. He said the Mayor’s OMB (Office of Management and Budget) is holding it up for shifting priorities. He said it will eventually get done, but doesn’t know when. An eyesore on a great block." [CurbedWire Inbox]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/03/12/waiting_on_nolita_rehab_evolution_of_the_evs_crazy _landlord.php

Change Comes to Nolita's Mean Little Elizabeth Street

Friday, May 29, 2009, by Pete

244 Elizabeth, getting a rehab after tenants were temporarily relocated.

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3579/3537548852_164b8dfb4a_o.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2009/05/29/change_comes_to_nolitas_mean_little_elizabeth_stre et.php)

The north end at 268 Elizabeth, about 100 years ago when things were really rough.

Outside Pati's Bank at 240 Elizabeth after the bank was bombed.

240 Elizabeth, former site of Pati's Bank, today.

http://cdn2.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2156/3537549272_83ecd11cef_s.jpg (http://cdn2.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2156/3537549272_ecf18f73ec_o.jpg) http://cdn2.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3579/3537548852_d746d4f97f_s.jpg (http://cdn2.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3579/3537548852_164b8dfb4a_o.jpg) http://cdn2.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3554/3536734939_994fff41c2_s.jpg (http://cdn2.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3554/3536734939_4627145a9d_o.jpg) http://cdn2.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2392/3537548906_fc625cc123_s.jpg (http://cdn2.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2392/3537548906_bba57b4d88_o.jpg)
(click to enlarge)

A curious reader recently inquired about the goings-on at 244 Elizabeth Street, a tired old tenement on the eastern edge of Nolita, noting that this one is "a building where the deadbeat tenants would sit around and BBQ and take over the street, but I noticed a roll down gate covering their front door, cinder blocks covering the ground floor windows and wood covering other windows in the building." Deadbeats? Harsh! We dug into our vast archives and found a tale stretching across the past century, with echoes of Scorsese and the Gangs of New York. Given what we discovered, the neighborhood's newly-arrived neighbors might want to brush up on their marinades, because it looks like the old-timers will soon be back.

244 Elizabeth, currently owned by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, went into foreclosure back in the mid-70's. Now the building is being rehabbed as part of the Tenant Interim Lease Program, a city-sponsored community development initiative (http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/developers/til.shtml) that "assists organized tenant associations in City-owned buildings to develop economically self-sufficient low-income cooperatives where tenants purchase their apartments for $250." High-paying neighbors will want to know that the cinder blocks and plywood now filling the facade are merely the interim design elements; they will give way to new windows and a full renovation. And very possibly the return of sidewalk BBQs.

If any nabe newbies are complaining now, imagine what they would have said a hundred years ago when this block was a target of the infamous Black Hand (http://www.gangrule.com/gangs.php?ID=1) gang. Two doors down at 240 Elizabeth sat Pasquale Pati's Italian Bank; late in the afternoon of January 23, 1908, a bomb was set off in the bank's doorway as a way to extort cash from the banker and terrorize the neighborhood. On duty to combat the insurgents was NYPD's Lt. Joseph Petrosino, who gave his life in the on-going fight and is remembered at Petrosino Square (http://curbed.com/tags/petrosino-square) a few blocks away. Forty years later this block was home (http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/13/movies/in-little-italy-with-martin-scorsese-scene-one-a-fire-escape.html) to director Martin Scorsese, first at 241 Elizabeth and then later in a third-floor apartment facing onto Elizabeth at No. 253.

There, from the fire escape where he slept on hot summer nights, Scorsese soaked up the activity on the mean streets below. Deadbeats and BBQs and all.

Design Commission Meeting Agenda: 244 Elizabeth (http://www.nyc.gov/html/artcom/downloads/pdf/2-2-09_public_agenda_revised.pdf) [NYC.gov; PDF]
Tenant Interim Lease Apartment Purchase Program (http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/developers/til.shtml) [NYC HPD website]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2009/05/29/change_comes_to_nolitas_mean_little_elizabeth_stre et.php