Neighborhood Chatter

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Lower East Side Museum of Chinese in America Welcomes New Exec. Director The Board of Trustees of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) has announced the appointment of the accomplished program expert and East Asian scholar Helen Koh, who began working there in mid-April. "We are looking forward to having Helen Koh lead our museum," said Maya Lin, co-chair of MOCA's board and designer of the museum. "After an extensive national search, it was very clear that her expertise and passion for Asian studies and her vision for inventive programs and creative audience-building strategies would inspire the board and staff as we enter the next phase of MOCA's growth." On Apr. 25, MOCA's newest exhibition, America through a Chinese Lens, will provide Koh an opportunity to share her vision of MOCA's future. "I look forward to working with the trustees, staff and founders to create an exciting new chapter in MOCA's development." said Koh. Chinatown Squadron Honored at Chinatown Cherry Blossom Festival On Apr. 14, State Sen. Daniel Squadron was honored at the annual Chinatown Cherry Blossom Festival for his work to improve quality of life along the Bowery and throughout Confucius Plaza. Over the past several years, Squadron has led the efforts to bring more trees and green space to the Chinatown community, working with the Parks Department and the community on a number of initiatives, including the planting of 37 new trees in November 2010. The Chinatown Cherry Blossom festival was organized by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York, the Confucius Plaza Board and the Confucius Plaza Tenants Council as a promotion for cultural activities throughout Chinatown. Over the past several years, with Squadron's help, Confucius Plaza has planted 70 cherry trees around the Bowery and Division Street. Citywide NYU Furman Center Issues a Fact Brief on Rent Stabilization In advance of the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement on whether it will hear the case of Harmon v. Kimmel, which challenges rent regulation laws in New York City, The Furman Center has issued a fact brief that details the number of rent-stabilized units in New York City and provides both demographic and socioeconomic data comparing the tenants in these units with tenants in market rate units. "In Harmon v. Kimmel, petitioner James D. Harmon argues that rent stabilization is a violation of several provisions of the United States Constitution," said Vicki Been, director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. "The case would have broad implications for New York City's rental market, approximately 47 percent of which is subject to rent control or rent stabilization laws." The case of Harmon v. Kimmel challenges rent control and rent stabilization laws that have existed in NYC since the 1940s, which allow "more than 1 million city residents to pay artificially low rents," according to WNYC. The Supreme Court can choose at any time between now and June to take the case, or to not hear it at all, which would leave the law in place. 60 Downtown Alliance Computers Donated to Local Nonprofits After upgrading its computer network this past spring, the Downtown Alliance donated 60 of its previously owned computers to nine not-for-profit organizations in the major metropolitan area. "Guided by David Rockefeller's 50-year-old tradition of civic activism, our organization has a long history of collaboration and commitment to community," said Elizabeth H. Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance. "We are excited to continue building on his vision with the donation of these computers." According to a press release, the Downtown Alliance staff sought not-for-profit organizations in need of additional computers, and these organizations accepted the donations. Approximately four years old, each Intel HP Convertible "mini tower" computer was reformatted with Windows XP. Restored to their initial factory settings, the units also came with rewriteable DVD drives and keyboards. The Downtown Alliance is an organization that strives to "make Lower Manhattan a wonderful place to live, work and play by creating a vibrant, multi-use neighborhood where businesses can prosper and the residential community can flourish," according to its website.

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