HomeAsian AmericansCommunity rallies behind bookstore gutted by fire

Community rallies behind bookstore gutted by fire

More than 400 people donated more than $235,000 in less than 24 hours to help one of the few Asian American bookstores in the country recover from a devastating fire on July 4.

Owner Lucy Yu of Yu and Me Books in New York City put the call out for donations on Go Fund Me and people immediately responded.

“We have been forced to cease operations and postpone all events for the foreseeable future, Yu wrote on Go Fund Me. “Most devastatingly, we’ve been told that the store will require a complete gut renovation-estimated to take about a year to complete.”

Among those who have contributed are actor Simu Liu, bestselling author Celeste Ng and debut author Vanessa Chan who have each donated $5,000, according to Go Fund Me.

Customers left kind notes for Yu in an effort to comfort her. Many said Chinatown would not be the same without Yu & Me.

RELATED: NYC Chinatown fire damages Yu & Me Books. 2 Injured

This photo shows both smoke and water damage to the interior of Yu & Me Books in New York;s Chinatown
via Go Fund Me

“There is no Chinatown without Yu and Me Books. This bookstore has changed the lives of many just in the last couple of years it has been around, and we’re all rallying behind you, Lucy and team! Sending lots of love and support,” wrote Jennifer Tam.

Simu Liu also left a note on Instagram.

“Helping in any way I can,” said Liu. “Always remember the support you had for my book. You guys truly are invaluable in our community.”

Eli Chen echoed Liu’s sentiments.

“This place is so important for sharing stories by and for the AAPI community and it needs all the help it can get,” she said.

Yu said the fire started in a residential unit on top of her store which she said suffered both smoke and water damage.

As AsAmNews first reported Thursday, members of the community in the area attempted to salvage as many books as possible. They gathered to put the books in plastic bags.

(Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Vanessa Chan. We apologize).

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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