Urban Gadabout: Say, NYC-area dumpling lovers, are you up for a Dumpling Crawl tomorrow (Saturday)?
There's a serious goal: to bring customers
back to NYC's Sandy-whacked Chinatown
It's dumplings, dumplings, dumplings tomorrow (March 2) in New York's Chinatown, thanks to Rally Downtown's four scheduled "Dumpling Crawls" -- at 12n, 2pm (two crawls), and 4pm. Of the two crawls at 2pm, one will be led by NYS Sen. Daniel Squadron, who hatched the idea for the "Dumpling Rally."
"[NYS Sen. Daniel] Squadron, who held his wedding's rehearsal dinner as well as his first-ever political meeting in Chinatown, passionately described the ideal dumpling as 'a rich and satisfying filling' that 'unleashes the full power' of its flavor from its dough wrapping at exactly the right moment.
"'Chinatown is full of small businesses run by independent entrepreneurs -- many of them immigrants -- who, despite all the challenges of succeeding in the city, work hard, stick with it and provide extraordinary food,' he wrote in an email to DNAinfo.com New York."
-- from "Dumpling Rally Looks to Bring Business Back to
Sandy-Damaged Chinatown," on DNAinfo.com New York
Sandy-Damaged Chinatown," on DNAinfo.com New York
Talk about an obvious mark! I only had to learn that a new conglomeration of downtown Manhattan businesspersons called Downtown Rally has scheduled four "Dumpling Crawls" for tomorrow (Saturday, March 2) than I was searching frantically for the "more info" and "buy tickets" buttons. I love dumplings more than just about anything on the planet.
As the invaluable NYC news source DNAinfo.com New York's Serena Solomon explains below, "Rally Downtown is a project to help businesses get back on their feet post-Sandy with events that bring shoppers through their doors once again." As I noted in the caption, the Dumpling Rally was conceived by State Sen. Daniel Squadron, as one way of bringing cash-carrying patrons back into this portion of his district which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
In case you can't bear to read through Serena's piece to get to it, here's the link for the page on the Rally Downtown website devoted to the Dumpling Crawls.
Dumpling Rally Looks to Bring Business Back to Sandy-Damaged Chinatown
March 1, 2013 7:14am | By Serena Solomon, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
CHINATOWN -- To successfully eat a soup dumpling don't bother with chopsticks, according to Christine Seid, the second-generation owner of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
"You have to really carefully put it onto a soup spoon and eat it in one bite so you don't break it and the soup comes out," she said, adding that waiting a few minutes for the broth to cool down is ideal to avoid burning your mouth.
This is the type of knowledge Seid and others will be passing on to amateur dumpling eaters during this Saturday's Dumpling Rally that is providing tours to some of Chinatown's best dumpling houses.
The rally, an idea from State Sen. Daniel Squadron who is a self-professed authority on Chinatown food, is aiming to bring business back to Chinatown as stores still fight to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
"That is one of our goals, to showcase the gems of New York," said event organizer Tom Gray, executive director of the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of Rally Downtown that is organizing the tours. "People will go to places they have never been before. The event will drive traffic, raise awareness and get people to come back to these dumplings houses."
Rally Downtown is a project to help businesses get back on their feet post-Sandy with events that bring shoppers through their doors once again.
The Dumpling Rally is offering four tours this Saturday -- one at noon and 4 p.m. and two at 2 p.m. Squadron will host one of the 2 p.m. crawls.
Squadron, who held his wedding's rehearsal dinner as well as his first-ever political meeting in Chinatown, passionately described the ideal dumpling as "a rich and satisfying filling" that "unleashes the full power" of its flavor from its dough wrapping at exactly the right moment.
"Chinatown is full of small businesses run by independent entrepreneurs -- many of them immigrants -- who, despite all the challenges of succeeding in the city, work hard, stick with it and provide extraordinary food," he wrote in an email to DNAinfo.com New York.
Tickets for the dumpling crawl are $25 and include dumplings at houses such as Prosperity on Eldridge Street and Lam Zhou on East Broadway. The tour ends at the Chinatown Ice Cream factory for dessert.
"It will be a little bit cheaper, you get the social aspect, a set of chopsticks. The dumplings are included and you get ice cream at the end," said Gray. The tour also gives out a map so those who attend can return to the dumpling houses.
While the organization is yet to apply for nonprofit status, Gray said any funds left over will go to planning more business-generating events for Sandy affected areas.
Ten percent of the ticket price will also go to the Chinese American Planning Council, a local nonprofit.
"It took a lot longer for business to pick up for a long time after Sandy," said Gray. "At the very least everyone went without power."
To purchase tickets for the Dumpling Rally go to the event's website.
My first temptation was to try to sign up for one of the 2pm crawls led by Senator Squadron, who has been impressing me as one of the more watch-worthy of the city's rising pols. And I could probably get to one of the 2pm crawls from my 11am Municipal Art Society walking tour with Matt Postal, revisiting one of the Midtown Manhattan walking tours originally proposed by longtime New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable's ground-breaking 1961 book Four Walking Tours of Modern Architecture in New York City. (Tomorrow's walk is sold out, but there may still be space in the second walk from the book which Matt is re-creating, on March 16.) But I'm thinking the senator will be wanting to talk dumplings, or maybe economic development, rather than politics, and am I really that confident of his self-proclaimed dumpling expertise? In the end I decided to play it safe and sign up for the 4pm crawl, with Julie Menin.
As it happens, I'm familiar with two of the stops, Excellent Dumpling House on Lafayette Street, just below Canal (where in fact I came very close to popping in this afternoon after a physical-therapy session, but it was just too crowded), and Prosperity Dumpling on Eldridge Street (which I first visited on a NY Transit Museum eating tour led by Saveur magazine's Todd Coleman). But I'm only too happy to go back to both! Maybe I'll even get some tips about ordering at Excellent Dumpling House. I have eaten there while on jury duty, but the menu doesn't seem terribly dumpling-oriented, merely listing a few varieties as appetizers.