More on the culture of renting in Chinatown. A special Curbed correspondent, herself a Chinatown resident, fills in the blanks on tenant profiling ("the whole racial profiling thing can be true") and why landlords don't want caucasian hipsters roaming the halls ("He feared for the safety of all the old Chinese people living in the building--if they saw a non-Chinese person in the hallway, they'd have a heart attack or get scared.") The email awesomeness in full, after the jump.
Our correspondent writes:
Based on my own personal experience with trying to find a place to live in and around Chinatown, I can tell you that the whole racial profiling thing can be true. Most of the rent-stabilized buildings in Chinatown are owned by old Chinese people but are managed by their younger (and perhaps Americanized) offspring. And most of the buildings are inhabited by old Chinese people who are probably paying 500 bucks a month on rent.
I live in one of those buildings inhabited by old Chinese people, and probably the only reason I got the apartment was because I'm Chinese. The building manager told me as I was signing the lease about how good the building is and how he could probably rent out the apartment to "a bunch of Caucasian guys" for a lot of money, but he said he feared for the safety of all the old Chinese people living in the building--if they saw a non-Chinese person in the hallway, they'd have a heart attack or get scared.
I think I may have gave him a funny look and/or remembered that one of the times I came to see the apartment, I brought along my non-Asian manfriend because then he said, "of course if you had friends over or something, that's ok, as long as your with them. The old people are just set in their ways and are afraid of non-Chinese people."
It's not that non-Chinese people aren't welcome, it's just that they don't want to give the old people a HEART ATTACK