Mei Lum knows a thing or two about Chinatown.

After all, she is the fifth generation owner of Wing On Wo, a porcelain shop on Mott Street.

What You Need To Know

  • The Abrons Arts Center and W.O.W. Project have teamed up to celebrate the Lunar New Year

  • "From Chinatown With Love" supports local businesses in the neighborhood

  • This is the fifth year of the collaboration

  • W.O.W. Project is based at the Wing On Wo porcelain store, which has been in Chinatown since the 1890s

From that store, she founded the W.O.W. Project, which is working with the Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side to help Chinatown businesses that are rebounding from pandemic losses.

The initiative is called "From Chinatown with Love."

"It's a way for us to really see and recognize the small businesses that make up the cultural fabric of our neighborhoods," Lum said.

The W.O.W. Project is a community-based initiative that reinvents, preserves and encourages Chinatown's creative culture and history through arts, culture and activism.

Working with Abrons, which is part of the Henry Street Settlement, the "From Chinatown With Love" initiative plays off a Chinatown tradition.

Patrons who spend $25 or more at five participating businesses get a free calendar. If they spend $45 or more, they receive a homemade, limited-edition charm depicting a lucky rabbit.

It's all about bringing good fortune and protection for the new year, the year of the water rabbit. The charm bags also include an illustrated story featuring the participating businesses. 

"We've been partnering with the W.O.W. Project for the past five years on a Lunar New Year initiative, with the goal to really come together as a creative community to celebrate not only the Lunar New Year, but also our neighborhood," Ali Rosa-Salas, the vice president of visual and performing arts at Henry Street and Abrons, said.

Among the participating businesses is Spongies, appropriately named since they specialize in traditional sponge cakes. Owner Fernando Ponce has been living and working in Chinatown for three decades, and is glad to take part in the project.

"I am so glad to participate and be part of that community in Chinatown," Ponce said.

Abrons has a variety of Lunar New Year activities coming up, including a free art session and a ceramics exhibition featuring local artists.