2020年1月30日 星期四

N.Y. Today: Muted Lunar New Year

What you need to know for Thursday.

Coronavirus, a Fire and Anxiety in the Chinese Community

By Andrea Salcedo

Metro Reporter

It’s Thursday.

Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high in the mid-30s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Feb. 12 (Lincoln’s Birthday).


Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration in the Asian community, marked by reunions with family and friends, feasts, parades and more.

But in New York, the celebrations have taken on a muted feel.

The city’s Asian community is anxious over the potential outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus that began in China and has been spread by travelers across the globe.


In Flushing, Queens, the site of the city’s biggest Chinatown, the Lunar New Year Temple Bazaar scheduled for this weekend was canceled. The event usually attracts hundreds of spectators.

Adding to the worries, last Thursday a fire ripped through a building in Manhattan’s Chinatown that housed the offices of the Museum of Chinese in America.

The effect of the coronavirus on New York

Yesterday, people in New York’s Chinatowns were wondering what precautions they should take against the coronavirus, and some celebrations have been called off.

City health officials have said it was only a matter of time before the virus appeared in New York State, though no cases had been confirmed so far. They said residents should take the same precautions they would for the flu, such as washing their hands, but should also continue about their lives.

Still, some people are worried that their neighborhoods are being stigmatized.

“It’s mixed emotions right now,” said Wayne Ho, the president and chief executive of the Chinese-American Planning Council. “We’re supposed to be celebrating Lunar New Year.”

He added: “The community feels that there could be racial profiling going on.”

Mr. Ho said dozens of people had reached out to his organization to report discrimination. In one case, he said, a Chinese woman who sneezed at a coffee shop overheard someone whisper that she might have the coronavirus. In another case, a man on the subway watched people walk away from him after he coughed.


Scott Liu, who lives in Queens, told my colleagues Joseph Goldstein and Jeffrey E. Singer that he was refusing to leave his house. Mr. Liu said he had been on the last direct flight from Wuhan — the Chinese city where the outbreak began — to Kennedy International Airport, before all flights between the two cities were canceled last week.

Mr. Liu said that he did not believe he was sick, but that he felt responsible to act with caution, even if that meant not visiting his friends and family for Lunar New Year.

“For us, this is very serious,” Mr. Liu, 56, said.

Others, like Lin Qiurong, who emigrated from Fujian Province in China in 2002, said that she ignored messages from her relatives and friends to avoid crowds. This week, Ms. Lin, 40, and her three children put on surgical face masks and headed to a parade in Sunset Park, Brooklyn’s largest Chinatown.

“Look around,” Ms. Lin said at the parade. “It’s much emptier compared to last year.”

The aftermath of the museum office fire

About 200 firefighters and emergency personnel responded to a blaze at 70 Mulberry Street, the building in Manhattan’s Chinatown where the offices of the Museum of Chinese in America are situated. Nine firefighters were injured in the fire, which started about 8:40 p.m., as well as a 59-year-old man whom they rescued.

The city-owned building hosts several community organizations. The museum’s offices stored 85,000 items that tell the story of Chinese migration and life in the United States, some of which dated to the 19th century. The museum itself is on Centre Street.

Yesterday, contractors working with the city recovered almost 200 boxes of the museum’s archives from a second-floor room in the Mulberry Street building. Some of the items suffered no damage. It was unclear when the other rooms would be accessible.

Councilwoman Margaret S. Chin, who represents part of Lower Manhattan, said the Lunar New Year was an opportunity for the Chinese community to show resilience.

“We’ve gone through a lot in the past,” Ms. Chin said, “but we always manage to come together to rebuild.”

From The Times

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

A pregnant woman was pronounced dead after being shoved from a moving car in Brooklyn. [New York Post]

The founder of City Bakery plans to open a cafe focused on hot chocolate. [Grub Street]

Billy Joel’s Long Island home was broken into. The burglar damaged 12 motorcycles and a home office. [Daily News]

Coming up today

Rediscovering New York: Revealing Forgotten Landscapes” is a panel discussion at the Brooklyn Historical Society. 6:30 p.m. [$15]

The maritime historian Bill Miller delivers a lecture called “Floating Palaces: The Great Atlantic Liners” at the National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island. 6 p.m. [$10]

Independent Lens: First Rainbow Coalition” screens at the Countee Cullen Library in Manhattan. 4:30 p.m. [Free]

Alex Traub

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

And finally: ‘Unexpected Pairings’

The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:

Whether it’s a halal platter, a chocolate babka slice or a bowl of matzo ball soup, comfort food in New York City comes in all different cultures, plates and sizes.

And a talk tonight at the Museum of the City of New York aims to celebrate that.

As part of the museum’s “Unexpected Pairings” series, the event is bringing together Pierre Thiam, a co-founder and the executive chef of the West African restaurant Teranga in Harlem, and Jake Dell, the fifth-generation owner of the 132-year-old Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side.

In conversation with Julia Moskin, a Times food reporter, the speakers will discuss the city’s immigrant food culture and how comfort food is defined across the five boroughs.

“Comfort food means different things for different cultures,” Mr. Thiam said. “It’s really the food that you’re nostalgic about, the food that connects with you in a deeper way. The food that you had growing up.”

And an event about food shouldn’t be without it. Visitors will be treated to a post-talk meal featuring samples of beef suya with ndambe from Teranga and matzo ball soup and pastrami from Katz’s.

“What does West African food and Ashkenazi food have in common?” Mr. Dell asked. “It’s comforting to people. To different people.”

He added: “It’s still about bringing you to your roots. Whatever those roots are.”

It’s Thursday — fill your plate.

Metropolitan Diary: Chinatown street

Dear Diary:

I was walking through Chinatown when I saw a man I almost used to know.

He was a quiet, pleasant man who worked as a cleaner at a gym on the Lower East Side where I used to work out. He was there every day, hauling bags of dirty towels and spraying down the free weights.

I had never learned his name and he had never learned mine, but we would smile at each other when our paths crossed.

I hadn’t thought about him in years, but seeing him on the street going about his business, made me remember so much about his looks and his mannerisms then. He was grayer now, and still small but strong, like a welterweight boxer.

I stopped and gazed at him as he walked past me down the street, a ghost from my younger days.

I thought about my old life on the Lower East Side and all of the things that were happening when I was going to that gym. And I thought about all of the people who were a part of my daily life now whose names I might never learn.

— Eric Hutchinson

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