The Chinatown Business Improvement District has launched a words of kindness campaign in an effort to bring comfort and warmth to the hearts of struggling businesses and residents in Lower Manhattan amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recent nor’easter that battered the East Coast with heavy snowfall is the just latest in the long series of setbacks that have plagued Chinatown and Little Italy from regaining their footing since the attacks of 9/11, SARS, Superstorm Sandy, the Great Recession, and fires leading to the COVID-19 pandemic. The historically rich Lower Manhattan community has been home to many groups, harbored famous historical individuals, landmarks, sprawling markets, and some of the city’s finest cuisine visitors and fellow New Yorkers have traveled to enjoy for decades.
However, since the onset of COVID-19, the beloved community has suffered even further.
Those traveling to enjoy the tastes and sights of the area have been reduced to a trickle, leaving many restaurants no choice but to either hibernate or worse. The once lively region is currently featuring a hub of steel shutters that showcase the hardships of the world as it is.
If the lack of patronage was not enough, the neighborhood has also taken a hit due to all the xenophobic hate related incidents brought on by the pandemic.
With so many individuals out of work and suffering from food insecurity, the Chinatown BID and Little Italy Merchants Association are taking a stand to remind Lower Manhattan residents they are cared for through a humanitarian competition that seeks New Yorkers’ help.
Named Warm Hearts NYC, the neighborhood is asking for readers to submit a sentence (or paragraph) of up to 25 words of encouragement that they believe would lighten the lives of business owners during this dark period in their lives.
The selected messages will then be placed on the shuttered businesses, on digital displays and on street banners inspiring the neighborhoods to keep faith and remain optimistic for the future.
“In this unprecedented once-in-a-century catastrophe, we want to call on all Clarence Odbody to earn their angelic wings much like in the movie It Is a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart so, this is calling on our common humanity, putting a message out will save a life,” said Chen.
In addition, a Chinese saying, “Have you eaten yet?” intended to show concern for an individual’s well-being will be displayed on banners from lampposts and showcased on monitors fixed to the Chinatown Information Kiosk on Canal Street and Baxter Street to promote love and support from caring individuals all over.
You can submit your own words of inspiration by visiting amny.com/warmheartsnyc. The contest is open to all ages and the deadline to submit is March 4.
Those who participate are entered into sweepstakes with a chance to win a $100 dollar gift card. Winning messages will be announced on March 25.