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City Hall helping Chinatown organizations displaced, damaged by blaze

Damaged office space at 70 Mulberry St. in Chinatown, as seen on Jan. 26. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Several organizations housed at the Chinatown building that went up in flames last week are being temporarily relocated with City Hall’s help.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that city agencies are working to place tenants housed at 70 Mulberry St. at nearby sites until the fire-damaged structure is repaired or rebuilt.

De Blasio called the Mulberry Street building “a pillar of Chinatown,” as it houses numerous cultural groups, athletic organizations and social services to assist local residents. The tenants include the storage facility for the Museum of Chinese in America, which lost in the Jan. 24 fire more than 85,000 artifacts kept on site. 

“The fire at 70 Mulberry jeopardizes a vital collection of American history,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of the Museum of Chinese in America. “Thank you for the outpouring of support from near and far. MOCA is strengthened and determined to recover, repair and rebuild.”

In addition to offering storage space to store recovered artifacts, the city is also providing the Museum of Chinese in America with resources from the Department of Records and Department of Cultural Affairs to further recover their archives.

Meanwhile, the city connected the CPC Chinatown Senior Center with four nearby senior centers to accommodate members. The primary alternate site is the Open Door Senior Center, 168 Grand St.

“CMP has been grateful for the support the mayor, elected and city officials, and the community have offered us since the five-alarm fire broke out on Thursday night,” said Hong Shing Lee, the CMP executive director. “At this moment, CMP’s first and foremost priority is to continue our commitment to the community we serve, minimize service interruption and resume our program activities as soon as possible.”

The Chinatown Manpower Project will be using space provided by the Chung Pak Daycare Center and P.S. 130, while the H.T. Dance Company will be moving its administrative offices to a nearby partner organization. The city is also offering its space at 125 Worth St. for the dance company’s performances.

Finally, the United East Athletic Association will be relocated to available space in the municipal building at 1 Centre St.

“I stand with the entire community as recovery efforts continue,” de Blasio said. “We will do everything in our power to help these incredible organizations rebuild and bring this historic building back to life.”

Robert Pozarycki