Even with my deep cynicism, I was shocked.
|This is one of the busiest grocery stores in Chinatown, and usually I'm stepping out of everyone's way, regardless of the day of the week. As you can see, I could have danced through the produce aisles and no one would have said anything.|
|This is Hei La Moon, a well-known restaurant in Chinatown. This angle makes it look emptier than it was; in reality, there was one table of customers. However, there were still more waitstaff.|
I came back home shaken, and my son and I agreed that Chinatown was now a ghost town. So imagine my relief when I received an email from Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu inviting me to dim sum at China Pearl this past Saturday for ten dollars at the door. My husband, son, and I jumped at the chance. (We also contributed a little extra, because I knew they would eat much more than that.) Here's what that looked like.
|This is what it should look like.|
I was heartened to hear Councilor Wu describe the event as part of an effort to support local businesses while combating racism and misinformation. My favorite place to buy housewares is in Chinatown, but I am always wary of admitting that. "Buy Local" conjures up images of buying artisanal, handcrafted products made in a local workshop, but it also includes buying imported products from a locally owned business. And yes, some of those businesses are owned and operated by recent immigrants, and they need your dollars as much as any other local business.
When we walked back to the car after dim sum, I noticed that at least one newish business was shuttered. New businesses in Boston, especially restaurants, have a tough road in store for them, but they don't usually fold in that area in under a year. It pains me to think about what losing that business cost the people who were planning on running it.
Before I go, let me say that people are absolutely right that they should be taking precautions with their health, because there is a very real, very frightening public health problem now: the flu, which thus far has killed at least 14,000 people in the United States. Please follow whatever advice your medical provider has offered. And in case you're wondering, as of this writing, only fifteen cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19, to be exact) have been confirmed in the US.
Deb in the City