1 East Broadway


In late 1973, Basement member and City College of New York professor, Michio Kaku, rented out a loft on 1 East Broadway to live in. After competing for space on 22 Catherine Street, members of the Community Planning Workshop desired another location to host their English classes and afternoon youth programs. Michio offered up a portion of his loft free of charge for CPW’s use beginning in 1974.  

Members of the Community Planning Workshop inside Michio Kaku’s loft on 1 East Broadway. Undated. Courtesy of Marina Yu and Henry Kwong.

At 1 East Broadway, CPW hosted regular English classes every weekend. On weekday afternoons, volunteers put on youth programs for children whose parents worked and needed childcare. During tax season, CPW hosted volunteer accountants from a Chinese accountant’s association to assist residents with their annual filings thanks to the work of Basement Workshop members, Sue Eng.


An excerpt of the mission statement for the Community Planning Workshop (CPW) is shown on the left side of the page. Courtesy of Geeming Chin.

While activities for residents were hosted at 1 East Broadway, CPW continued to use 22 Catherine Street for administrative purposes. The close proximity of Michio’s loft with Basement’s headquarters at 22 Catherine Street allowed for a regular flow of general Basement members with those involved in CPW’s activities. Folks at 1 East Broadway regularly socialized with their counterparts on Catherine Street during this time.

Julie Ong
Laura Moy
Georgina Jui
Jeff Jung
Nancy Lau
Tom Chan
Irving Kuznetzow
Charlie Lai
Henry Kwong
Sue Hom
Tony Lee
Sabrina Lee (not pictured)
Dan Baumol (not pictured)
Marina Yu
Geeming Chin
Maria Hom
Gloria Gong
Paul Gong
Community Planning Workshop group photo. May 1977. Courtesy of Marina Yu and Henry Kwong.

By late 1975, Basement was planning a move from using 22 Catherine Street as their headquarters to a much larger loft space on 199 Lafayette outside of Chinatown. While the majority of Basement’s core programs moved to the loft on Lafayette, 22 Catherine was kept for administrative use and for CPW’s English programs with stipulations.


Basement Workshop and CPW Lease Agreement. July 1976. Courtesy of Marina Yu and Henry Kwong.

Unlike other programs run by Basement Workshop, CPW was required to sign a lease agreement with the organization, indicating that CPW would be responsible for raising funds to support using the Catherine Street space. The move to Lafayette resulted in both a physical and emotional distance between the CPW arm of Basement with the rest of the organization. Although CPW members did participate in other Basement activities at 199 Lafayette, such as theatre workshops run by renowned actor, Mako, day-to-day exchanges became few and far between.

After the rest of Basement moved to Lafayette, CPW’s English classes continued until 1979 at Catherine Street. The tax preparation services continued in pop-up locations around Chinatown, not to be held at 1 East Broadway again. 

Travel to other locations of the Basement Workshop: