How the pandemic has affected small business in New York City's Chinatown



As the pandemic to called of the nation. One community in particular began to crack early New York City's Chinatown. Faced with the economic concerns and xenophobic fears, Chinese restaurants faced a sobering future author and culinary historian Grace Young Co. Created coronavirus Chinatown stories, which looks to share the narratives of those small business owners struggling to stay open in the wake of the pandemic. Hi, Grace. Hi, Evan. Last March, you spent a day filming the stories of mom and pop restaurants in New York's Chinatown. Many at that point we're still open. How quickly did things change after your visit? Well that day when we were interviewing the restaurant owners, one of them told us that 70% of Chinatown restaurant owners had decided to close the following day and I don't know how he knew that information. In fact, a few hours after we did the interviews On March, the 15th mayor, de Blasio announced that he was shutting all restaurants across the city except for take out So the day that we were in Chinatown was really on the last day that trying town was as we think of it, and we were recording living history documenting where everybody was at that moment. How many restaurant owners did you end up speaking with On that day, we interviewed four restaurants, a restaurant owners and one shop owner. And since that time you've interviewed quite a few more I have. One of the interviews was actually the follow up of restaurant owner that we interviewed on March the 15th May Chow, who owned a Malaysian French restaurant called was a piece. And we went back and interviewed her actually two more times because she closed for two months, and then she opened and lasted for one month. And so we went in and interviewed her as she was closing. I want to play a clip from one of your videos. And it's It speaks to the unique stresses and xenophobia that restaurant tours in Chinatown experienced in those very early days of the pandemic, And this clip is from That restaurant or May chow from the restaurant, Josie piece, a Malaysian French restaurant. We did a very good delivery, but we still have to shut it down because Would work up. I'm afraid of their safety because we have this still xenophobic, right? And they have to take the subway when finish work is about 10 11. They're just the fear their family are really worried about their safety like saying you go to work, You might not come back or something. You know that home. It's just maybe we think, Oh, this is hysterical. But it's real for us in the Chinese community. They're afraid of their safety. They're afraid. The virus. They're afraid this virus going to invest it in in their community, then is really the stigma and saying Look, Chinese have all the virus, right? We are afraid of our safety. Yesterday. My waiter Um, he lived in Queens. So you take the subway to come here to check on me, he say so afraid He was a young guy, he say's afraid because before this two weeks ago He got pushed by people. You got to push early on in the pandemic. We talked so much about the issue of xenophobia in Chinatown. But We haven't heard us much about it Since. Are your contacts in Chinatown reporting stories of xenophobia and racism Still I think it's less right now. I think back in January February March, it was at its height. I think it's certainly still exist now. But it's not as pronounced as it Woz, but it's certainly exists. And I was in China town recently when I saw somebody go up to a street vendor and just knock down their umbrella and cart. And, um, my husband ran after the guy, but, um I think people are subjected to a lot of abuse right now.

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