The restaurant Yee Li on the corner on Bayard and Elizabeth street had a gas fire a couple of weeks ago. The noise was so loud that it woke up everyone in the neighborhood. A good portion of the restaurant was burned out and renovations are currently taking place. This restaurant is owned by the same people who own Hsin Wong mid block.
Today, I went to Hsin Wong for my regular "som bow fan," where you get 3 dishes over rice. The owner insisted on treating me to dinner because I had treated him to ice cream on occasion a few months before. I was very touched by the gesture. Even though one of his restaurants just burned to a crisp, he chose to offer me a free meal.
Chinatown is beautiful in that way. It is a real community that cares about each other. Even though not all of us physically live in the area, the space connects us all.