Due Diligence

LuckyRice festival founder and cookbook author Danielle Chang loves her proximity to Chinatown but could use more space (of course)

By Lucy Cohen Blatter | February 3, 2016 - 11:59AM

Now in its seventh year, the LuckyRice Lunar New Year Celebration will take place on February 9. But this year's celebration of Chinese food and drink also marks the debut of festival founder Danielle Chang’s first-ever cookbook, Lucky Rice: Stories and Recipes from Night Markets, Feasts, and Family Tables.

Chang has a passion for Chinese food and culture, and before launching LuckyRice—a series of large-scale feasts, gastronomic gatherings and festive dinners around the country—Chang was CEO of Vivienne Tam, the founder and publisher of Simplycity Magazine and Simplycity.com (co-founded with childhood best friend Lisa Ling). She's also worked at Goldman Sachs, the New York Times, and as a professor of contemporary art history. 

She lives in a three-bedroom condo in Manhattan in a neighborhood that's constantly changing. She tell us more below.

1.  What neighborhood do you live in?

On the border of Chinatown and SoHo.

2. Is this your dream neighborhood or is there someplace else in NYC you’d prefer to settle in?

Even though this neighborhood has changed so much in the past couple of decades since I've lived here, I love it so much because it is home—where I've lived for the longest period of my life.

3. Do you own or rent?


4. How’d you find it?

Looking and looking at everything for years! I swear, I know Manhattan street addresses better than most real estate brokers!

5. What’s the one thing you love the most about it?

The proximity to Chinatown, where I eat and shop almost daily.

6. If there’s one thing you could change about your apartment, what would it be?

Who doesn't want more space in NYC?

7. In three words, describe the first apartment you've ever lived in.

College dorm room.

8. Do you prefer old NYC or this NYC?

Truth be told, I'm nostalgic for old New York. Old New York (and south SoHo) circa 1990 when I feel first moved here was full of art galleries and raw energy. I was formerly director of Jeffrey Deitch gallery on grand and Wooster—just down the street from where I currently live—in the mid-90s when this part of where SoHo crosses into Chinatown still felt like uncharted territory.

9. Tell us about the favorite apartment you’ve ever had.

I like to be grateful for the things I have in life right now, so I'll have to say I'm happiest in the apartment I live in now. 

10. And the worst?

Must have been the fourth floor cockroach-infested—and later mice-infested—apartment on Sullivan Street when I was a grad student.

11. Name one NYC service you couldn’t live without.

Food delivery, of course!

12. What's your favorite spot in the city?

Balthazar, my local haunt I've been frequenting since it opened. I like to start my evenings there with a Bombay Sapphire martini.

13. Which would you rather: Brooklyn brownstone or a penthouse in a shiny, new condo?

These days, Brooklyn brownstone. My dream is a West Village townhouse with a large backyard—but isn't that everybody's?

14. If you could live elsewhere, where would it be?

Hong Kong, or the Bay Area.

15. Any advice for a recent New York transplant?

Don't be wedded to a neighborhood or apartment. Rent for six months or a year so that you can check out different neighborhoods and lifestyles (penthouse vs. brownstone?), because you never know.


Playwright, actress and Brooklynite Staceyann Chin on gentrification, rising rents and the importance of balance in NYC

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