Nine people were hurt, eight of them firefighters, but none of the injuries was considered life-threatening.
Responders were called around 8:45 p.m. Thursday to Mulberry Street for a fire that started on the fourth floor of the city-owned building and extended to the fifth floor and through the roof.
Videos and photos posted to social media showed flames bursting out of windows and flowing heavily from the roof.
SkyFox was over the scene Friday morning where more than 200 firefighters were battling the five-alarm blaze.
A 59-year-old man was rescued from the fifth floor through a window with a tower ladder, said FDNY Chief Thomas Richardson, Chief of Fire Operations. He suffered smoke inhalation and was hospitalized.
The building near Columbus Park and Bayard Street was built in 1900, according to property records.
The fire comes ahead of the Lunar New Year, which starts Saturday. A third-floor tenant of the building, the nonprofit community organization Chinatown Manpower Project, closed early Thursday for the holiday.
"70 Mulberry is the building where I went to school, P.S. 23, after my family immigrated to New York from Hong Kong in 1963," said NYC Council Member Margaret Chin. "It has been an anchor in the Chinatown community for generations, serving as home to community groups like Chinatown Manpower Project (CMP), Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), United East Athletics Association (UEAA), Chen and Dancers, and Chinese American Planning Council (CPC) senior center to provide cultural and youth programming, workforce development, and critical senior services."
“I know the neighborhood is in shock tonight," Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted. ”We’re going to help the community get through this."
It was not yet known what sparked the fire.