Anybody got the scoop on why Fujiyama at 5001 Central is being demolished?
It's been empty for quite some time. I imagine the owners were finding it too hard to rent such a large space, which must have had a serious maintenance budget to boot. Fujiyama only made use of one of the three dining rooms, leaving the others empty. It's a bummer; it was a neat building and I have lots of good memories of both New Chinatown and the Polynesian Lounge. There are efforts afoot to fund an Asian Community Center somewhere in southeast Albuquerque, and I'd had fantasies they might end up at New Chinatown, but probably NC's "traditional"/1950s-kitsch vibe isn't what the Asian community is looking to project...
The caption in the Journal under a picture of the demolition said the building had been damaged by fire. I echo Phil_0 in feeling this is a sad thing--it was a cool building and it will be a total bummer to have yet another vacant lot sitting on that section of Central. The city really needs to think about its planning in regard to these things.
Agreed. Has even one of the bulldozed motel lots on Central east of Carlisle or in EDO been filled in the last ten years? I don't think so, and the vacant space does less than nothing for the neighborhood.
Here's my dream: the city turns the lots into community gardens. Look there's water and electric (if needed) to the sites already. Apartment dwellers could rent a small spot (on a sliding scale) and have some raised beds. They could even put up little garden houses, like they do in community gardens in Europe. Wouldn't that be the bomb?
Or would it be too socialist...?
My old boss (RIP) used to LOVE to take the office out to New Chinatown for lunch meetings. I remember they always had red chile enchiladas on their Chinese lunch buffet.
Does anyone have (or know where to find) pictures of this building - especially interior pictures during the heyday in the 60s? Love mid-century "tiki" type architecture and have always been fascinated by this building but never made it inside to check it out.
It wasn't there in the 60's. That building was built somewhere in the '70's. The people who owned that restaurant (New Chinatown) had their original restaurant in a building that maybe was on that block, even (can't remember exactly). They were "the" Chinese restaurant in town. The brother of the owner had his own restaurant (a bit better in my opinion) that was kind of dive-y and was located where Il Vicino is now. His wife, the hostess and waitress was quite the character. Cannot remember for the life of me the name of the place, though.
China Garden as I recall, in the 1970s and early 1980s.
I was a little kid when they closed, but I thought it was China Dragon. Their (really cool) neon featured a dragon as I recall.
I moved to ABQ from San Francisco in 1993. I went to New Chinatown and asked the hostess if they served 'dim sum' meals. She laughed and said, "No. People in ABQ want 'all you can eat buffets for $5' ".
I guess you were used to "old" Chinatown in San Francisco. Definitely one of the most amazing districts in the U.S.
Thankfully Amerasia didn't believe that 'People in ABQ want 'all you can eat buffets for $5' since they have been serving Dim Sum since 1978.