Sadly – with Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw retired or no longer in the network nightly news business, it looks like Peter Jennings also has to take a leave. The Age of the Big Three News Anchors is truly ending. Best wishes to Peter in recovering from the lung cancer.

Prince Rainier of Monaco, widower of Grace Kelly, has passed away.

NY Daily News’ Frank Lombardi reports that Chinatown may be getting its own arch (much like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Montreal (Montreal is one that I happen to know specifically – there are bunches of arches welcoming you to the – albeit small – multilingual Chinatown that is smack dab in the middle of downtown)). Anyway, Lombardi writes:

Boston’s Chinatown has one. And so do the Chinatown districts of Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.

They all have distinctive arches, or gates, that serve as symbolic welcome mats for Chinatown visitors.

But New York’s Chinatown district – the biggest in the Western hemisphere – has long suffered from arch envy.

That could finally end soon with the help of a $250,000 budget allocation announced yesterday by City Council officials towards building a $1.5 million gateway to Manhattan’s historic Chinatown.

Delighted community leaders hailed the first infusion of public funds to help build what they hope will be “a lucky gate” for Chinatown – whose economy was hard hit by the 9/11 terror attacks – and for the city at large….

“After 150 years of making New York City the great city that it is, it’s about time that Chinese-Americans, who have contributed so much to the Big Apple, get their gate,” added Councilman John Liu (D-Queens), the city’s first Asian elected official.

Efforts to build an arch in Chinatown have been stymied for more than two decades.

The specific site for the arch hasn’t been finalized, but its architect, Tieh-Chi Ho, said the preferred location is across Park Row at Chatham Square.

“Our arch will be the biggest,” according to Ho, who is providing his services pro bono.

It will be 45 feet high, with an 80-foot span, and would take from 18 months to two years to erect after all required funding and city approvals are obtained, he said.

“I’d like to have started yesterday,” he joked.

Personally, the design drawing that the Daily News provided, as designed by the architect, looks weird. Maybe because I just think the arch as designed is too wide (maybe it needs to be taller to look more narrow – and to have space for buses and trucks to go through it); maybe because I think it’s rather weird to smack an arch right there in the Chatham Sq. area. I don’t know; I mean, Montreal’s arches are nice looking stuff (for pedestrians to walk under and use as nifty background for the taking of pictures), without looking gaudy. Can NYC Chinatown’s arch avoid looking gaudy yet be practical? Hmm.

Plus, Brooklyn’s having its own Restaurant Week, from 4/11/05 to 4/20/05 – three course meals for $19.55 (I think it’s in honor of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the pinnacle year of 1955). Here’s the list – check it out! (so goes my plug for the home boro).

George Ross, Donald Trump’s General Counsel and “The Apprentice” sidekick, made an appearance at Brooklyn College, his undergraduate alma mater. (I heard he’s also supposed to make an appearance at the Alma Mater Law School…).

Apparently, there’s a new Chinese tea cuisine restaurant in town, according to Cynthia Kilian in “Temptress with a Teapot”:

As feng shui goes, meeting China’s brightest culinary star in a lavatory doesn’t bode well. Yet that’s where tea alchemist Jin R introduced her self last week at Yumcha, the hotly anticipated haute Chinois restaurant that opens Monday.

For the West Village restaurant, the woman Time magazine recently dubbed China’s first celebrity chef has developed an exquisite variety of tea creations that combine sensual presentation with exotic ingredients….

“A really nice cup of beautiful tea, you will feel touched,” Jin says. “You show the soul, the spirit of the culture there. It is like looking at a painting.”

Jin believes the new China embraces everything different — new architecture, new art, Hollywood. And it’s nothing like our Chinatown.

“Chinatown — I couldn’t believe it!” the 33-year-old super-cook says. “It’s like China 80 years ago. I went there a couple of days ago and thought, ‘I have never seen this place in China.’ ”

A classically trained musician and artist, Jin opened her trend-setting Green T. House in Beijing eight years ago. When her first chef quit, she began concocting her own recipes, using tea in salads and sauces, crafting dishes in which “image is more important than anything.”

Typical of the breathtaking creations that earned her reputation is a dessert that uses dry ice to re-create the smoke and incense of a Buddhist temple. The glittering confection is served on a golden plate, with gold paper, a Buddha statue, gold lotus root, green-tea ice cream and two chocolates….

The tea art at Yumcha — which is Cantonese for “drinking tea” with dim sum — includes preparations such as “purple in date, ginger in black,” a rich amber brew sweet ened by honey dripped from a foot-long cinnamon wand.

Yumcha owner Quentin Danté is such a fan of Jin’s that he literally went halfway around the globe to enlist her help with the restaurant.

“She’s the polar opposite of me,” Danté says. “Jin is exhale, I’m inhale. Her life is tranquility, mine has been nothing but turmoil.”

If Yumcha lives up to its growing buzz, Jin and Danté have plans to bring New York a Green T. House, which would be more than just a fashionable spot to sip seductive brews.

Jin believes it would serve as a cultural embassy for the cutting edge of Chinese style. “China has changed a lot, but Westerners don’t know the new Chinese culture,” she says.

“China now, it’s very open, it’s very creative, it’s very refreshing,” she adds. “It’s about energy and creativity and spiritual attitude, and that’s what I want to share with the New York culture.”

Hmm. Modern China coming to NYC, to make NYC’s Chinatown flashier. Hmm. I think this Jin woman needs to become more familiar with NYC’s Chinatown (it only looks old since it has plenty of old-fashioned buildings; it’s vibrant enough; but I’m not familiar enough with Chinatown, so I ought to talk; but I thought it was silly she mentioned she’d never seen Chinatown in China; of course not – Chinatown’s a Chinese American invention; why would you want to find it in China?)….

So it goes. Can’t week for this week to end already.

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