Chinatown area has become “the last cool neighborhood” in Manhattan

December 01, 2011 09:12AM

The young, artistic populace that is the precursor to gentrification has descended upon one of the last corners of Downtown Manhattan yet to be inundated with glassy new development.

According to the Wall Street Journal, cheap rents have brought an artistic community to the area known as Two Bridges, in eastern Chinatown south of East Broadway, which new residents have begun to dub “Chumbo” — a combination of Chinatown and the upscale Brooklyn neighborhood that sits directly across the East River. At least one resident interviewed by the Journal called it “the last cool neighborhood on the island.”

But the Chinese-Americans that have long dominated the area are hip to what the artistic presence means: inflated rents, pricey restaurants and upscale clubs loom in the distance. Residents worry that they and the businesses that serve them will soon be pushed out. A report set to be released today by advocacy group CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities and the Urban Justice Center will confirm those fears, the Journal said. In fact, some institutions more typical of the Lower East Side nightclub area have already begun spilling over into the neighborhood. [WSJ]