Susie Ying, 73, of Suzie’s restaurant


By Albert Amateau

Susie Ying, a prominent Asian-American community philanthropist and a founder of Suzie’s Chinese restaurant on Bleecker St., died on Sun., Oct. 3, at age 73. She fought lymphoma the past two-and-a-half years, said her daughter, Julie Lau.

At Ying’s funeral on Oct. 9, City Comptroller John Liu and Councilmember Margaret Chin issued proclamations honoring her philanthropic and humanitarian endeavors and her contribution to New York City. Even after her illness’s onset, she became active in relief efforts for victims of the August 2009 Taiwan mudslide. Liu’s proclamation noted that Ying was a leader in U.S.-China trade relations since 1979. Before that she was prominent in U.S.-Taiwan trade affairs.

Born in Shanghai, she moved as a youngster with her family to Taiwan. She came to the U.S. in 1964 to work with a relative who ran a gift shop in the New York World’s Fair.

“My mother had only a grade school education in Taiwan and was self-taught in English,” her daughter said. “She was the representative of China in the major World’s Fairs for a long time, and two years ago she was invited to the 2010 World’s Fair in Shanghai; but she had to refuse because she was getting ill.”

Susie started in the restaurant at 163 Bleecker St. in 1973 with two older relatives and took it over two years later. In recent years, Julie Lau and her husband, Francis Lau, have run the restaurant and plan to continue the business.

“My Mom was one of 12 brothers and sisters,” Julie said. “One of her nieces married Michael Chang [the 1989 French Open tennis champion].” All but one of her siblings survive.

The Bleecker Area Merchants and Residents Association (BAMRA), of which Julie is an active member, paid tribute to Susie on Oct. 9.

“For those of us who had the honor of knowing Julie’s mom, she was a beautiful, elegant, vibrant woman who will be greatly missed,” said BAMRA’s board.