Chinatown, New York City

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  • seafood market in Chinatown
    seafood market in Chinatown
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    Mahayanna Buddhist temple in Chinatown
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    Chinatown, New York
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  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Visit the Chinatown in New York!

    by jumpingnorman Updated Jun 6, 2009

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    Chinatown, NY
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    June 6, 2009 - We just finished walking the Brooklyn Bridge going from east to west and saw the City Hall of New York, and the map said Chinatown was nearby...I asked 2 Chinese ladies on a bench the direction and they said just follow "Central St".

    True enough, my DNA relatives (I am partly Chinese myself) did not lie...before me were several Chinese restaurants and bargain stores after a short walk. Shirts were being sold for just $3, and great caps for 3 for $10 -- but I came here for the food! It was notable that there were also lots other Asian restaurants, like Vietnamese.

    But this Chinatown is supposedly the biggest Chinese enclave in the USA --- bordered by Chambers Street to the South, East River to the East, Broadway to the West, and Canal Street to the North....that's a huge area. And I saw many more restaurants that iwanted to check out in the next few days!

    There's really not much Chinese architecture as in other Chinatowns -- maybe there is a Chinese pagoda somewhere that I missed? Well, I just like walking around Chinatowns because of my heritage....

    And if you do get lost, not to worry --- subway entrances are accessibly situated...

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    Great place to look for chinese herbs!

    by FRONA Written Jul 16, 2004

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    Chinatown

    Chinatown began as a small community of Chinese immigrants seeking work in the West so that they might send home wages to their families still living in the motherland.
    At the turn of the century, Chinatown was isolated and controlled by secret neighborhood organizations collectively known as "The Tongs." Some of the Tongs simply brokered loans within the community; others, such as the "Hip Sing," had formed criminal organizations. Doyers Street was well known as "the bloody angle," where gangs often carried out retribution against their enemies. The Tongs made a truce in 1933 which brought peace to the streets of an agressive Chinatown.

    By 1940 the area had become home to many middle-class families. During the post-war era, businesses and immigrants from Hong Kong brought new wealth to Chinatown. Today, over 80,000 Asian Americans who trace their roots back to the East call Chinatown their home.

    The neighborhood is known for its excellent Chinese cuisin, but its highlight is the Eastern States Buddhist Temple at 64b Mott Street. Inside the Temple, visitors will be delighted by the sight of 100 golden Buddhas shimmering in the candlelight.

    The frequent festivals and parades, as well as the galleries and curio shops create a celebration of Chinese culture that is well worht a visit.

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    I don’t speak Chinese!

    by mindcrime Written Jul 28, 2008

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    seafood market in Chinatown
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    Usually the district of the Chinese community outside of China is called Chinatown wherever it is, in Europe, the United States etc and works as the actual working community for them. Believe it or not more than 200.000 people from china live at this district of NY! Because of some Hollywood kung fu films I saw as a kid I wanted to see the area that some of the actors play at!

    All the stores here target to Chinese people as customers, the newspaper are in Chinese etc Of course, the area isn’t just an ethnic ghetto and it is very popular among the tourists too, at least the central part along Canal street where you can find many souvenir shops and a lot of seafood markets (pic 1) where old Chinese ladies go to shop some weird sea creatures that smell bad! :). There are also many markets that sell traditional herbal medicines (no I didn’t try any…) and a lot of street vendors everywhere with some strange exotic fruits. Try to avoid the imitation sunglasses, perfumes and handbags. You’ll find then at the Chinatown of your city too :)

    I walked for a while in the small streets and I barely met with any other than Chinese people, we drunk something at Hon Café where nobody couldn’t understand in English that I just wanted a milkshake so I drunk something else!

    Then we returned back to the small alleys and visited the central park of the area which is the Columbus Park. The Chinese community gather there for socializing. I noticed many ladies under their colorful umbrellas chatting and playing cards (pic 3) and the men in different tables playing an unknown to me domino game (pic 4). Some interesting points to see here are the two Buddhist temples I saw, probably there are more but those are the ones I already had info for.

    The first one is the Eastern States Buddhist Temple (pic 2) located at.64 Mott street. It was full of visitors looking strange at the dozen of small Buddhas. The second temple is the Mahayanna Buddhist temple located at 133 Canal Street. It’s the largest one and it has a 5m tall golden Buddha in the main hall (pic 5) and a souvenir store. There’s no entrance fee and I enjoyed more because there wasn’t any other visitor inside.

    Some streets have a lot of Vietnamese restaurants in case you know the difference between them (I don’t! I was confused with so many hanging ducks around!). It’s the first time in my life I see so many people eat with chopsticks and I also noticed a lot of Karaoke bars that probably will be full of people in the night.

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    Chinatown

    by apbeaches Updated Apr 18, 2010

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    We enjoy walking down Canal Street, Mott Street. The markets, shops, restaurants and people watching are just great.

    The Pearl River Shop on 477 Broadway is filled with Chinese inspired clothing, giftware & kitchen items at very reasonable prices. The streets are filled with knockoff bags and watches and plastic toys made in China.

    We love the many reasonably priced restaurants. As a child & student we lined up on the side walk to get inside Wo Hop at 17 Mott St. The restaurant is clean, service is very fast and the typical Cantonese food is good and very reasonably priced. The portions are huge we always have too much left over. The Excellent Dumpling House 111 Lafayette St. between Canal & Walker has the wonderful Chinese Dim Sum & the women pushing it by in the carts. You point to what you like and they write the price on the ticket. For a few dollars you can really have a fresh & wonderful meal. The Sun Hop Shing Tea House on 21 Mott has all of the wonderful bubble teas is just wonderful. I don't think you could go wrong with good & reasonable food in Chinatown. The restaurants cater to tourists and are very reasonable and helpful.

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  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo

    NYC's Chinatown

    by Gypsystravels Updated Jan 16, 2008

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    Chinatown is a great place to spend a few hours wandering the streets. You can get a great feeling of the Asian community if you just walk around. If you are looking for that special Asian item, you will find it here. If you love to cook, you can find every single item under the sun for that great Chinese meal.

    I love walking around and visiting their many restaurants and shops.

    PLEASE NOTE: Do not come to Chinatown to purchase any of those "knock-off" items. It is illegal and if you are caught you may be fined.

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  • Christophe_Ons's Profile Photo

    A thriving and still expanding immigrant community

    by Christophe_Ons Written Apr 7, 2004

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    Chinatown - a colourful blend
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    If you're not in the mood for Asian cuisine, you're in the wrong area. Chinatown is famous for its restaurants and hectic street life. But there are also galeries, antiques and curioso shops, and Oriental festivals.

    This Chinese immigrant community used to be isolated from the rest of the city, financed and controlled by its own secret family organizations - The Tongs; and it was the scene of bloody gang wars until 1933. By the 40's it was home to many middle class families; and immigrants and businesses from Hong Kong also brought postwar prosperity to the community. Currently more than 150.000 Chinese Americans live in its many tenements and high rise buildings, and many of them work in this concentrated and very self-sufficient area.

    Food is everywhere. Vendors sell wonderful snacks. The markets on Canal St sell some of the best fish, fruit and vegetables in the city. Mott Street is lined with Cantonese and Szechuan restaurants.

    Canal Street is also infamous for its counterfeit (and illegal) designer goods, and you will find shops with inexpensive, one-of-a-kind Chinese import goods all over the place.

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    Chinatown

    by bct341 Written Apr 11, 2004

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    Chinatown

    New York City’s Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in the United States—and the site of the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere—is located on the lower east side of Manhattan. Its two square miles are loosely bounded by Kenmore and Delancey streets on the north, East and Worth streets on the south, Allen street on the east, and Broadway on the west. With a population estimated between 70,000 and 150,000, Chinatown is the favored destination point for Chinese immigrants, though in recent years the neighborhood has also become home to Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Burmese, Vietnamese, and Filipinos among others.

    Chinatown is a tightly-packed yet sprawling neighborhood which continues to grow rapidly despite the satellite Chinese communities flourishing in Queens. Both a tourist attraction and the home of the majority of Chinese New Yorkers, Chinatown offers visitor and resident alike hundreds of restaurants, booming fruit and fish markets and shops of knickknacks and sweets on torturously winding and overcrowded streets.

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    Walk Around Chinatown

    by bct341 Written Apr 11, 2004

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    Chinatown Market

    Of course, Chinatown has great restaurants with just about every asian cuisine and culture covered. But it is also nice to just walk around Chinatown and feel the ambiance and the vibrancy of this area of manhattan.

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  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo

    Chop Sticks anyone!!

    by scottishvisitor Updated Jun 13, 2006

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    Run Down China Town

    China Town is a bit run down (excuse the pun) we visited with a tour on a Sunday & most places were shut but we did get to see inside one of the many temples. China town has a lot of nteresting old buildings as well as lots & lots of restaurants & shops.

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  • Dutchnatasja's Profile Photo

    A different world in New York.

    by Dutchnatasja Written Oct 15, 2004

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    New York - Chinatown
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    Chinatown in Manhattan is a must see. Nothing is more unique than their unusual foods and remedies. A walk through the crowded aisles will expose you to a world of curious fruits, roots, and who knows what else! It is is a cultural haven full exotic traditions, and a huge amount of restaurants.

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  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    You'll feel as if you were in China!

    by King_Golo Written Jan 6, 2008

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    Food stall in Chinatown

    Chinatown New York is the world's biggest Chinatown, and also the biggest population of Chinese outside of China. Having mentioned this, you won't be too surprised when I tell you that you'll feel more like in China than in New York when you walk around there! Chinese shops line the streets, Asian mothers accompany their children to school, Chinese signs are everywhere (and you sometimes have trouble finding an English translation!), McDonald's looks for waiters who are fluent in Chinese, English and Spanish... As I had to get up early every morning when I was in New York, I could experience the daily work routines of Chinatown - in the morning, all the shops get their deliveries, fruits and vegetables are unloaded from numerous trucks, men and women set up their food stalls, the air smells sour and sweet, like rotten garbage, exhaust fumes, male sweat, and then suddenly like fresh spring rolls or fried chicken. It's really an experience to go there early in the morning. I usually came back at night to see Chinatown's million lights make the streets shine bright yellow, pink and blue while many of the food stalls were still selling hot meals to passers-by. Chinatown is a place that you have to experience with all your senses, and it makes sense to come back several times if you've got the time.

    Check out my Chinatown travelogue for more impressions!

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  • pigletsmom's Profile Photo

    New York's Chinatown

    by pigletsmom Updated Feb 29, 2004

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    photo from www.chinatown-online.com

    Chinatown is located in lower Manhattan and is near SoHo and Little Italy. It is a fascinating neighborhood filled with old world tradition.The streets are filled with mysterious restaurants, seafood markets, souvenir shops, and asian delis. The area is designed with lots of asian inspried architecture, colorufl decor, and neon signs. The shops and restaurants tend to flow onto the street. I always feel like I'm on a movie set when I'm in Chinatown. One of my favorite places to visit in the city.

    Food tip: Step into one of the many chilnese delis and ask for sticky sweet rice cakes. They are white, cut in squares, soft, and gooey. I'm addicted to them, and have to buy them by the boxload when I'm in New York.

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  • marielexoteria's Profile Photo

    Chinatown

    by marielexoteria Updated Feb 9, 2010

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    Beautiful street lamp
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    Chinatown in Manhattan (there's one in Brooklyn and one in Queens) is one of the many vibrant and colorful neighborhoods you will find in New York.

    This is one of the largest Chinese communities outside of Asia and where I started to appreciate the diversity that is New York City (and the US for that matter), with the colorful houses, the constant (and sometimes rushed) movement and the food =) On a normal Saturday early afternoon, it was a little crowded and I can only imagine how it is when they celebrate their holidays.

    I was reminded of Beijing in the sense that I saw a lot of hairdressers one after the other hehehe.

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  • iam1wthee's Profile Photo

    Chinatown-- Which one?

    by iam1wthee Updated Feb 23, 2010

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    New York has 3 Chinatowns. One in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
    The one in Manhattan has the most to offer to a tourist though. Some of the best Chinese food is served in Manhattan. What they serve in the Queens Chinatown is the food that most of us Americans consider exotic.

    For one week in February Manhattan Chinatown celebrates the Chinese New Year where there are parades and festivals galore no matter the temperature. There is a museum of Chinese Americans, beautiful temples, Chinese ornaments, fountains, furniture, Chinese teas, and Chinese herbs. Early in the morning in Christopher Park and some other open spaces you will find people doing Tai Chi. It is free to join them. On Mott street you will find many accupressurist charging $10 for 10 minutes. Accupressure is like a medical massage or sports massage/physical therapy. Some of these folks are licensed in China just not in the US. ****Make sure you disclose all of your problems before you let them start to work on you. ***

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  • eddymario's Profile Photo

    China town

    by eddymario Written Jan 6, 2004

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    New-York

    New York City’s Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in the United States—and the site of the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere—is located on the lower east side of Manhattan. Its two square miles are loosely bounded by Kenmore and Delancey streets on the north, East and Worth streets on the south, Allen street on the east, and Broadway on the west. With a population estimated between 70,000 and 150,000, Chinatown is the favored destination point for Chinese immigrants, though in recent years the neighborhood has also become home to Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Burmese, Vietnamese, and Filipinos among others.

    Chinatown is born
    Chinese traders and sailors began trickling into the United States in the mid eighteenth century; while this population was largely transient, small numbers stayed in New York and married. Beginning in the mid nineteenth century, Chinese arrived in significant numbers, lured to the Pacific coast of the United States by the stories of “Gold Mountain” — California — during the gold rush of the 1840s and 1850s and brought by labor brokers to build the Central Pacific Railroad. Most arrived expecting to spend a few years working, thus earning enough money to return to China, build a house and marry.

    By 1880, the burgeoning enclave in the Five Points slums on the south east side of New York was home to between 200 and 1,100 Chinese. A few members of a group of Chinese illegally smuggled into New Jersey in the late 1870s to work in a hand laundry soon made the move to New York, sparking an explosion of Chinese hand laundries.

    Chinatown Today
    Today’s Chinatown is a tightly-packed yet sprawling neighborhood which continues to grow rapidly despite the satellite Chinese communities flourishing in Queens. Both a tourist attraction and the home of the majority of Chinese New Yorkers, Chinatown offers visitor and resident alike hundreds of restaurants, booming fruit and fish markets and shops of knickknacks and sweets on torturously winding and overcrowded streets.

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