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Chinatown museum’s archive is decimated after five-alarm fire
On Thursday night, a five-alarm fire tore through a Chinatown building that housed the archives of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), a neighborhood institution founded in 1980 to preserve the history and culture of people of Chinese descent in the U.S.
Aside from storing thousands of historical items, the building, located at 70 Mulberry Street, also housed community groups and a senior center, the New York Times reported.
Around 85,000 items which were not on view at the museum’s main building on Centre Street could be gone: wedding dresses from the early 1900s, historic photos of Chinatown, items brought to the U.S. by immigrants, and even a document on the Chinese Exclusion Act from the late 19th century, the Times says.
The loss of those historical items is “absolutely devastating for the community and families like my own,” Ava Chin a writer and professor at CUNY in Staten Island, told the Times. “It is the only—the single most important—repository of New York’s Chinese community.”
Since the building has been deemed “structurally unsound,” no one will be able to enter to retrieve the items for at least three weeks, Nancy Yao Maasbach, the museum’s president, told the Times.
And in other news...
- North Brooklyn residents want to reclaim part of Williamsburg’s East River State Park, which is used between April and October by the popular food market Smorgasburg.
- Crain’s explained why Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s LaGuardia AirTrain project has sparked controversy.
- On the Lower East Side, a crowd of New Yorkers showed why New Yorkers are the best by lifting an SUV after it ran over a pedestrian. (The affected woman is, thankfully, fine.)
- Big moves happening in the world of NYC politics: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is dropping out of the mayoral race and retiring from public office when his term ends in 2021, and Brooklyn City Council member Rafael Espinal resigned from office.
- Chelsea Flea Market will return under new management.
- Related CEO Jeff Blau spoke to The Real Deal about Hudson Yards and other projects.
- Michelle Williams and Tommy Kail bought a $10.8 million townhouse in Brooklyn Heights. (And we immediately wondered: What does this mean for her gorgeous old Ditmas Park home?)
- And, finally, New Yorkers honored NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died yesterday in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna, by adding his name to the Bryant Park subway stop: