March 31, 2023
The Honorable Christopher Marte
New York City Councilmember
65 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
Via mail and email
Dear Councilmember Marte:
Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – strongly supports the proposed co-naming of Mosco Street between Mott and Mulberry Streets in Chinatown as Corky Lee Way. We believe that this is a very appropriate way to publicly mark Mr. Lee’s important contributions to the Chinese American / Asian American communities, both locally and nationally. His untimely death from Covid-19 in 2021 was a terrible loss to these communities and beyond.
As you know, Mr. Lee was a civil rights activist for several decades. From an early age he utilized his photographic skills to record public actions such as protests and parades, as well as the life of the community. He was connected to an extensive network of both community leaders and ordinary citizens, and with his gentle yet impassioned determination he was able to build strong and broad support for his causes. His abilities are needed now perhaps more than ever.
At LESPI we were honored to work closely with him on the publication of LESPI’s book “Chinatown: Lens on the Lower East Side,” a brief history of Chinatown accompanied by the work of six local professional photographers. Not only did he contribute his wonderful photographs, but he was instrumental in lining up the creative team of photographers and writer that made the book such a success.
On a personal basis, I was honored to not only work with him extensively on “Chinatown: Lens on the Lower East Side,” but spent many hours gallery sitting with him in the fall of 2020 for Think!Chinatown’s and LESPI’s exhibit “Chinatown Photo Newsstand” on Mosco Street, based on the book’s photographs. Mr. Lee was always a pleasure to be around, and I was thrilled to learn from him many aspects of Chinese American history that I was previously unaware of. I miss him both personally and professionally, and sincerely hope that the City Council will vote to approve this proposal, as a token of appreciation for his great work for Chinatown, New York City, and beyond.
Thank you for your consideration.
Richard D. Moses
[Similar letter sent March 14, 2023 to David Crane, Chair of Transportation, Public Safety, Sanitation & Environment Committee, Manhattan Community Board 3]