In 1983, the New York City DOT leased out land under the Manhttan Bridge to local, Chinese American developers on a 30 year term with “No option to purchase or renew”1

This land became East Broadway Mall, which has acted as a focal place of support to thousands of Fuzhounese immigrants from the late 1980s onwards,

after a decade or so of unequitable labor practices, gentrification (me incl.), and upzoning, East Broadway Mall filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

after the pandemic, only ~20% of the retail tenants remained, the mall is mostly empty, but still acts as a place of gathering

for dance classes in the liminal halls, and small events in an empty dim sum restaurant;


the streets outside it have always been used as common spaces for exchange,

here, grocers come and go each day to sell their produce. small, habitual vendors find space in between them,
selling crabs, sunglasses, backpacks, single fish,
homemade treats.

here, there is no string of capital chaining everything together.
the people act as a multitude, sharing canopies when it rains,
negotiating space amongst themselves.


vendors are neighbors

1  this was changed to a 50 lease, w/o option to purchase.