Fire Breaks Out on Elizabeth Street, Seven Injured, Six of Them Firefighters [UPDATE]

A fire broke out this morning at 83 Elizabeth Street. All the residents of the six-story Chinatown building have been evacuated.

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Another Chinatown Bus Bites the Dust: Feds Crack Down on Lucky Star

Categories: Chinatown

Queens Surface 295 via Compfight cc
It's a sad season for the Chinatown bus. Opportunities to visit Boston from New York City's Chinatown on a $25 whim have been cut back as of Wednesday, when the US Department of Transportation issued an "imminent hazard out-of-service order" for the Lucky Star bus line.

"The basis for determining that Lucky Star's motor carrier operations pose an imminent hazard to the public is Lucky Star's widespread and serious noncompliance with Federal safety regulations," Curtis L. Thomas, regional field administrator from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, wrote in the order.

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After Angry Birds Incident, Scott Stringer Writes Letter to Ray Kelly

Angry Birds, a central player in this local politics story.
This is a story about Angry Birds and a Manhattan pol who is probably going to run for mayor in 2013.

More specifically, this is a story about an Angry-Birds-inspired police raid that prompted Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to write a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

On November 8th, 2011, the NYPD conducted raids on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown to stop the sale of counterfeit merchandise related to Angry Birds -- you know, the addictive game where you slingshot little birds at little pigs. Well apparently, the NYPD got wind that some vendors in these Manhattan neighborhoods were selling merchandise related to the Angry Birds franchise and responded with a raid.

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Chinatown Property Owners Say City Illegally Charged Them BID Fees Before BID Even Existed

A before and after shot from the BID's website.
Some Chinatown property owners didn't really want to be part of a Business Improvement District in the first place. Now a group of them are claiming that the city illegally charged them fees corresponding to months before the BID even officially existed.

The city told the Voice yesterday that it is correcting that error, but that's doing little to appease some frustrated business owners.

These BIDs, which are public-private partnerships, are intended to revitalize neighborhoods and support economic development through a partnership of local property owners and commercial tenants. Businesses pay annual fees that BIDs charge for cleaning sidewalks, picking up trash, and other local efforts.

To those who didn't want to be a part of a Chinatown BID in the first place, the alleged financial mishap is an extra slap in the face, especially as businesses are struggling to stay afloat during a tough economy.

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Rich Old Woman Pick-Pockets Chinese People Because She Hates Them

The New York Post has the sort-of Robin Hood story today of Ha Vasko, a rich 67-year-old Vietnamese woman arrested in Chinatown four times for pick-pocketing. "I hate Chinese people," she explained to the police. "They sell fake stuff, take the money, and send the money back home," she went on, in an effort to justify the money she steals. "They get benefit cards and they don't contribute anything back. So I take their money and give it to people who need it. I give it to homeless people who need it." If not for the racism, this could almost be adorable. Why couldn't she have said she hates tourists?

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Kong Xin Huang, 79, Missing in Chinatown

Where is Kong Xin Huang?
‚ÄčCops are asking for the public's help in finding Kong Xin Huang, a 79-year-old Chinatown man who was last seen at around 3 p.m. Saturday at his home, 79 Chrystie Street, Manhattan. Huang, who speaks only Cantonese, is 5-foot-10, 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue baseball cap, brown coat, light brown pants, and black leather shoes.

Tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or submit tips at or text info to 274637 (CRIMES), entering TIP577.