Chinatown Fair Not Going Anywhere


The Chinatown Fair will remain open, despite the ‘for rent’ sign.

The Chinatown Fair is not going the way of the tic-tac-toe-playing chicken.

The famed chicken disappeared a few years back, and a few Lower Manhattan residents feared it was “game over” for the beloved Mott St. video arcade when a “for rent” banner appeared over its storefront sign (which still advertises the chicken, by the way.) The banner prompted one reader to write the Voice to ask about it.

But a store employee said the sign is an indication of another game being played.

A game of brinkmanship over rent increases, the employee said.

“We are not closing, I can tell you that,” said a Chinatown Fair employee who gave his name as Benny. “It’s about the rent. They are going to take the sign down after a few months and we will be here. And that’s it.”

It appeared to be business as usual at the arcade this week, as about twenty people, mostly teenage boys, played the latest Dance Dance Revolution, first-person shooters, and martial arts street fighting games. Except for a few new games, the arcade still looks the same as it did decades ago. It smells the same too, a dank odor a friend described as the hormones of teenage boys.

A person who answered the phone at Raber Enterprises, the realtor listed on the banner, confirmed that Chinatown Fair, at 8 Mott St.,was not closing. He said the sign was for other properties on Mott Street. Mott Street does appear to have its fair share of vacancies these days. At least four property near the Chinatown Fair appear vacant.

“We’re not closing,” said Benny. “There’d just be one more vacancy on the block. It’s nothing.”

Dance, dance! But call off the revolution. The Chinatown Fair is not closing.