A discussion regarding Chinatown

blade_bltz

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North Quincy HS is closer to 35% asian...

Also...school enrollment? What does that tell you besides the fact that white parents try their damndest to get their kids out of the public school system?
 

blade_bltz

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How bout New York, New Jersey, Chicagoland...

I bet the Chinese population of Flushing ALONE rivals that of greater Boston.
 

12345

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That would be why i said second largest. Illinois doesn't have that many chinese. you probably should click on the link i provided.
 

tobyjug

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Quincy has a burgeoning Asian population. Alot of realtors in that area make a point of marketing to an Asian clientele. And it isn't just east Asian, either. It is interesting to see what were Syrian Christian stores 40 years ago now selling halal meat to south Asian immigrants.
City leaders resisted it because they lived in a past of a white industrial proletariat and lifetime employment at the shipyard. Everytime one of them talked about a downtown location, he or she would mark it in reference to a store that wasn't there anymore: "Yeah, its next to Sears", "Turn right at Remick's", "Go past the back of Woolworths, past Child World, then..."
 

Suffolk 83

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The downtown had almost no Chinese signs, there were only 2 Asian supermarkets, I would say its level of Asian-ness is comparable to Malden.
I'm guessing when you say downtown your talking about Quincy Center. Wollaston to North Quincy is the hotspots for the Asian community there. Its really two different animals.

North Quincy high probably is about 35 percent Asian, but IMHO it seems as if there are less Asian families and more adults there. The last Mayorial race there was a very prominant Asian canidate and most of the signs were all in Mandarin? I'm not sure of the language but it sure wasn't english. I believe the race was VERY close. Which isn't a big deal if the marketing campaign was a regular one but he seemed to be using the Asian influence to his benefit just judging by the non-english signs. That's a pretty clear sign to me.
 

Ron Newman

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From Boston.com, March 2, 2011:



The Hayden Building in 1977 and today. In the first photo, taken by Bob Stanton for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the building was in use as an adult movie house and had begun to fall into disrepair.


Historic Chinatown building, once an adult theater, will be reborn as housing

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox March 2, 2011 05:46 PM

A long-empty historic building in the former Combat Zone adult entertainment district will soon see new life as apartments intended for hip downtown residents.

Historic Boston Incorporated announced on Wednesday that they have selected an architecture firm ? South Boston-based CUBE Research and Design ? for the renovation of the upper floors of the Hayden Building at 681 Washington St. in Chinatown.

Kathy Kottaridis, executive director of HBI, said the firm stood out because of the young architects? ?fresh approach to historic preservation.? Preliminary estimates put the cost of renovations at about $2.6 million.

Built in 1885, the Hayden Building was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, a leading American architect of the 19th century who also designed Trinity Church in Copley Square as well as Sever and Austin halls at Harvard University, his alma mater. Richardson designed the building as a favor to his father-in-law, Dr. John Cole Hayden, and it is his only remaining commercial structure in Boston.

It was designated a Boston landmark in 1977 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, but it continued to be used as an adult movie house through the waning days of the Combat Zone. Even today, its immediate neighbors to the rear are Centerfolds and the Glass Slipper, Boston?s only remaining strip clubs.

HBI bought the building in 1993 and made extensive repairs to the exterior as well as stabilizing the whole structure, which had begun to tilt.

?HBI ? purchased it when it was in very bad shape ? you could see through the roof of the building and everything was exposed to the elements,? Kottaridis said. ?So we borrowed against other properties; we did everything we could to sort of come in and do what we do best, which is save an at-risk historic building.?

When the organization took over the property, it found much evidence of its former life, including dozens of reels of pornographic films and handwritten signs indicating what to do in case of a police raid.

After some cleanup, HBI was able to lease the first floor as a Liberty Bank branch for several years, until the firm merged with General Bank and closed the branch. But they were long unable to afford the massive repairs needed on the upper four floors, which had been damaged by fire and water, as well as many years of neglect.

A non-profit historic preservation advocate and developer, HBI was founded 50 years ago to save the Old Corner Bookstore at the corner of Washington and School streets downtown and has since helped preserve historic properties in neighborhoods all over the city.

With most of the properties it buys, the organization makes the necessary restorations and improvements and then seeks a buyer who will maintain the building?s historic integrity so it can free up the funds to put into other projects.

?We?re not very curatorial,? Kottaridis said. ?We want to do right by the buildings and abide by very excellent standards, but we want buildings to work for their current environments; we want them to work for the people who live here and now and need them for certain uses.?

Kottaridis said the original plan was to sell the Hayden Building, but it has now been in HBI?s hands for 18 years, and the organization plans to retain ownership for the foreseeable future. It will act as a landlord for the four apartments and the first-floor retail space, but Kottaridis said they plan to sell the building next door that houses Penang Malaysian Cuisine.

?We have never really felt like our job was done because we never activated the upper floors,? she said. ?It was too expensive for a very long time, and I think the only reason we can do it now is because we?re selling the non-historic building next door and are able to reinvest in this building, and also that we have the inherent value of the ownership of the building debt-free.?

Kottaridis said that sale will fund much of the work, with help from small construction loans and as much as 40 percent in tax credits for historic preservation. Once the building is completed, HBI hopes it will be a steady source of income that will support their efforts on other buildings, as the Old Corner Bookstore has been.

The footprint of the building is around 1,000 square feet, and Kottaridis expects that each of the upper four floors will contain a single two-bedroom apartment, which will rent at market rate. HBI hopes to begin construction by this fall, if they can get all the necessary permits in time.

For a gallery of photos from the Hayden Building, click here.

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
 

Ron Newman

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I remember when Liberty Bank moved in here, it was considered a great advance for the neighborhood, as no bank would have dreamed of locating in the old Combat Zone. But once the bank moved out*, Historic Boston either didn't try hard enough, or just didn't succeed in getting a replacement tenant for the ground floor retail space.

*the bank is now Cathay Bank, still in the neighborhood but a block north in the Ritz-Millennium complex.
 

odurandina

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DBM

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is it me, or is Chinatown starting to look a bit decontaminated?

Why not dress up a few blocks a bit more like they do Chinatown in San Francisco? i'm not drinking the San Francisco kool-aid. But their Chinatown is awesome.

http://www.ronsaari.com/stockImages/sanFrancisco/SFChinatownGrantStreet.jpg

http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com/files/2015/11/15/6358321340030087211293841033_10651607614_ba81a44442_b.jpg
I imagine Beach Street from corner of Washington to the Chinatown Gate is the only viable candidate for such a canopy-style treatment--but actually a pretty appealing candidate, given the length of the view corridor and the Gate's function as a framing device.

Now who's going to pay for it and properly warehouse, clean, dismantle, and reinstall it year after year after year? (Assuming you'd have to take it down in the worst winter months. San Francisco don't do blizzards and nor'easters after all.) The politics in Chinatown are so contentious right now with all the gentrification controversy. The only entities that could--and would--pay for/maintain it would probably be a consortium of developers. But then the anti-gentrification activists would grumble about how they displace hundreds of tenants to only offer a cosmetic/superficial window-dressing piece in return...
 

Cortes

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I have lived 10 minutes walking distance from Chinatown for 20 years now, so will try to keep this brief. It seems to me that most of the Chinese people who live in the area don't live in "Chinatown", they live south of Kneeland St. That's why the major Chinese grocery store has been south of the pike for decades. Another is that the number of vacant lots IN Chinatown is really disproportionate when looking at other locations that close to the center of the city. A third is that the Chinese population in the area is very old.

That said, keeping Chinatown "Chinese" is going to be hard. I propose building TALL on the vacant lots and absolutely stuffing the buildings with Chinese people. That includes major buildings being built in city owned projects. And really, I don't have a problem with that. Density is one of the things that symbolizes Chinatowns around the globe. If young and or wealthy Chinese people want to buy into Chinatown and actually LIVE there, I KNOW it would benefit the entire city. Perhaps it could become a new hub of Chinese international business. Unless that happens, Chinatown will continue to dissolve into pockets of subsidized housing surrounded by wealthy others, and will survive only as subway station.
 

Paletexan

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I have lived 10 minutes walking distance from Chinatown for 20 years now, so will try to keep this brief. It seems to me that most of the Chinese people who live in the area don't live in "Chinatown", they live south of Kneeland St. That's why the major Chinese grocery store has been south of the pike for decades. Another is that the number of vacant lots IN Chinatown is really disproportionate when looking at other locations that close to the center of the city. A third is that the Chinese population in the area is very old.

That said, keeping Chinatown "Chinese" is going to be hard. I propose building TALL on the vacant lots and absolutely stuffing the buildings with Chinese people. That includes major buildings being built in city owned projects. And really, I don't have a problem with that. Density is one of the things that symbolizes Chinatowns around the globe. If young and or wealthy Chinese people want to buy into Chinatown and actually LIVE there, I KNOW it would benefit the entire city. Perhaps it could become a new hub of Chinese international business. Unless that happens, Chinatown will continue to dissolve into pockets of subsidized housing surrounded by wealthy others, and will survive only as subway station.
I live near Chinatown too (but for a little over a year) and really think it’s very unique, though small. I agree density is needed to increase housing but the plan needs to also focus on building a community with amenities where Chinese people want to live and raise families (versus having to move out to Malden or Quincy). That seems increasingly hard to do organically in Boston. I think investing in top schools focused on US/Chinese, along with housing, might attract people organically with amenities to follow. Then again, being new to Boston, that may be just as hard.
 

George_Apley

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Cortes said:
That said, keeping Chinatown "Chinese" is going to be hard. I propose building TALL on the vacant lots and absolutely stuffing the buildings with Chinese people. That includes major buildings being built in city owned projects. And really, I don't have a problem with that. Density is one of the things that symbolizes Chinatowns around the globe. If young and or wealthy Chinese people want to buy into Chinatown and actually LIVE there, I KNOW it would benefit the entire city. Perhaps it could become a new hub of Chinese international business. Unless that happens, Chinatown will continue to dissolve into pockets of subsidized housing surrounded by wealthy others, and will survive only as subway station.
The hard thing with "keeping Chinatown 'Chinese'" is that Chinatown, like other urban ethnic enclaves, was historically populated mostly by poor immigrants. China doesn't have many poor emigrants to the US these days, so "preserving the neighborhood" could means two different things: preserving it as a livable space for the original inhabitants of Chinatown and their descendants, or making it an attractive cultural neighborhood for the "young and or wealthy Chinese people". I guess one can follow the other, but I think that misses the point of modern Chinese property buyers. Young and wealthy Chinese buyers aren't generally looking for a place to settle in, or start a business or a family in. They're looking for real estate in desirable areas as investment properties to make a profit, hide assets from the CCP, and/or have a pied-a-terre in a global city. The type of Chinese buyer who would preserve the ethnic culture of the neighborhood doesn't really exist.
 

Rover

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I don't know how you can enforce that a neighborhood stay pure to one ethnicity. I sympathize with the people being pushed out, and also think that you could build low income housing and have people who already live in the neighborhood go to the top of the line but if market rate housing is filled by non Chinese people I don't see what's to be done nor why the city should be discouraging that. Eastie is less Italian, Southie is less Irish, etc etc. These things happen over time.
 

TallIsGood

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My Italian grandparents moved out of the North End and my Irish grandparents moved out of South Boston. Kind of the way of the world. Different cultures melt into America. that’s a good thing IMHO.
 

jpdivola

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I think the North End is a pretty good model. It's no longer an Italian neighborhood by residency, but it remains a heart of Italian culture in Boston.
If there is organic community support to keep a Chinatown, the city/,state governments can help cultural events, heritage memorials, etc.

But, government can't (and shouldn't) be in the business of trying to micromanage the ethnic composition of various neighborhoods.
Public services like immigration assistance and affordable housing should not have an explicit goal of building ethnic enclaves.
 

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