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10.10.2015
I was in New York City yesterday working toward getting a visa, and had some time to head out to the Brooklyn Chinatown, an offshoot of the much larger and better known Manhattan Chinatown.
I didn’t have much time to spend out there (It takes about a half an hour by subway from Midtown Manhattan), and as such did not get a chance to have lunch and really complete the experience, but here are some pictures that I got. If you do have any interest in heading out this way, simply hop on the N train headed toward Coney Island and get off at 8th avenue.  Chances are fair that you will only see one or two non-Chinese, so you may get some strange looks when stopping in for some food! If you want to explore Chinatown at your own pace, here is a self-guided tour that hits upon the main things to see in Chinatown New York.
Save money with your time in the Big Apple with our Guide to NYC on a Budget as well as a tourist pass. There are many ways to arrive in Chinatown and the Canal Street subway station is the closest to the starting point of this tour, the NYC and Company information kiosk at 210 Canal Street. Start your tour at the Visitor’s Kiosk where they often have free copies of Time Out Magazine and also nifty pocket-sized foldable subway maps!
Throughout the 1700s, the area west of Baxter Street and south of Canal Street was a swampy area known as Collect Pond which provided drinking water to Colonial New York. Immerse yourself in Chinese culture by spending a few minutes in this small but lively park where many elderly Chinese people come to play cards, mahjong and other Chinese games.
This very short sloped street resembling an alley was once a much longer thoroughfare but was reduced to its current size when Five Points was torn down. This multi-denominational, multi-lingual church has served immigrants here for more than two centuries. From 1891 to 2003, this was the site of the longest continuously family-operated store in Chinatown. Despite the Japanese name, this Chinese chain of candy stores sells hundreds of kinds of Asian and Western candies and dried fruits, nuts, jerky, seafood and a fabulous selection of all things gummy! This narrow colorful street, lined with 100 year old brick tenement apartment buildings, small storefronts and awnings and flags with Chinese writing is a favorite locale among photographers and filmmakers, as no street more than Pell screams out “This is Chinatown!”  Due to the numerous barber shops and hair salons, locals sometimes refer to Pell Street as ‘Barbershop Alley’.
This corner store with its dusty windows and traditional Chinese trinkets and ornamental wear has been in business since 1957. Also known as the Chinese Opera House, the very first Chinese-language theater in the United States east of San Francisco opened in this building in 1893 to meet the needs of a rapidly growing Chinese population.
In 1962, this statue was erected by the American Legion and is dedicated to Chinese Americans who died fighting for democracy in World War II. This small, hardly noticeable sliver of land is the oldest cemetery in New York, dating back to 1683. This two-story red brick building is the oldest townhouse in New York City and was built in 1785 after the Revolutionary War by Edward Mooney, a butcher. The 44-story co-op complex with 762 apartments was constructed in 1975 to accommodate the growing number of Chinese immigrants flocking to America. In front of Confucius Plaza is a 15-foot bronze statue of Confucius, the Chinese philosopher. Though the first thing you will notice about the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge is the traffic and constant gridlock, take a moment to admire the grand archway and colonnade, designed by one of the most famous architectural firms of the early 20th century Carrere and Hastings, who designed the magnificent New York Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.
Opened in 1997, this is the largest Buddhist Temple in New York City and home to the City’s largest Buddha statue.
This grand 110-foot-tall Beaux Arts-style domed structure was built in 1924 and is now owned by HSBC bank. This is the oldest community organization in Chinatown founded in 1883 by wealthy Chinese merchants who spoke English and who wanted to assist newly arrived Chinese immigrants open their own businesses by providing financial assistance and skills training.
A fantastic shop for tea connoisseurs where you can sample hundreds of different varieties of whole-leaf teas. The market is actually just shop after shop selling fresh fish and seafood at very competitive prices.
Museum Of Chinese In The Americas 70 Mulberry Street housed in a late 19th-century schoolhouse.
New York’s Chinatown is the second oldest Chinatown in the United States, San Francisco being the first. Chinese men continued to flock to America where they could earn higher wages than in China and better support their families who could not legally accompany them to the United States due to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted.
If you’re looking for jewelry, handbags, perfume, sunglasses, watches, wallets, shoes, etc. Though we don’t endorse purchasing knock off counterfeit handbags, we can provide you with information about where and how to do this. For those brave enough, you can deal with individual sellers who presumably have better quality counterfeit items. Serving Cantonese classics like lobster in white sauce, sweet and sour pork and lo mein since 1968, this bustling restaurant in a clean, well lit basement level space, is a favorite among New Yorkers hungry for a nostalgic meal at very good prices. This huge banquet hall size restaurant serves Dim Sum, a meal of small plates of dumplings with a variety of fillings like pork, shrimp or vegetables; steamed buns, ribs, seafood, and other Chinese treats.
This shop is a hole in the wall, but you can’t miss it as there is usually a short line to get 5 fried pork dumplings for a $1. At $5 a scoop it’s a bit pricy, but thy have unusual flavors like ginger, wasabi and black sesame seed.


Tucked away in a small storefront among the bustling fish market you’ll find the most delicious pumpkin steamed buns in all of New York City. If you feel like having dim sum but want to leave behind the mystery of pointing at unknown foods from wheeled carts, try this full service restaurant.  Menus are provided with a full description and photos of the food. Free Tours by Foot – we offer several pay-what-you-like tours that are focused on, or include, Chinatown in Manhattan. New York City Tourist Passes – both the New York Pass and the New York Explorer Pass include guided food and history tours of Chinatown for free. Bus Tours – All the major hop-on, hop-off bus companies have at least one stop in Chinatown. We do also offer two pay-what-you-wish tours that cover Chinatown, our SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown Tour and our Chinatown Food Tour. Because the building was built to resemble an Egyptian mausoleum, the jail came to be called “The Tombs”. In 1982 it was renamed Mosco Street in honor of Lower East Side community Activist Frank Mosco. Today it is lined with Chinese restaurants, trendy bubble-tea shops, tourist-type gift shops.
There are small sample dishes next to most items – we recommend you sample the pre-served rose petal, a wasabi peanut and the candied baby-crab. By the early 20th century, like many of the smaller streets branching off of Mott Street, Pell Street had its share of vice in the form of brothels, gambling houses, gang hideouts and opium dens, two of which were located at 11 and 13 Pell.
Compared to the other gift shops of Chinatown filled with Hello Kitty bags and “I Love New York” t-shirts, Ting’s looks as if they haven’t changed their store windows for a decade.
The street is named for Hendrik Doyer, an 18th-century Dutch immigrant who owned the land on which the street sits. The interior resembles an American coffee shop with vinyl booths and a counter with stools. As the area became more and more Chinese at the run of the 20th century, the area around the square became seedier as flop houses and tattoo parlors cropped up. But in the past few decades more and more Chinatown residents are from the Fuzhou province and the area east of Bowery, particularly East Broadway (known as “Fuzhou Street” and Eldridge Street are dominated by Fujianese owned shops. At that time, this area was outside the boundaries of New York proper and thus suitable for a graveyard. The building was the first major publicly funded housing project built for almost exclusively Chinese Americans. You can enter the temple’s foyer for free (dressed appropriately – this is a house of worship). It still serves the community over 130 years later offering social services, language classes and cultural preservation activities.
You can also find a massive array of dried goods, from different types of mushrooms, squid, shrimp, and many items you probably won’t recognize.
It is one of the most important national archives of Chinese history in America, it offers special exhibits and public programs. Merchandise can sometimes be knockoffs of your favorite brands or have logos meant to resemble those of the fancy name brand bags. The ladies at the counter are very fast and don’t have time for questions so be ready with a dollar in your hand. The roast pork buns are good too and there’s an array of sweet and savory baked and steamed items ranging from $1 to $3. Prices are great and the assorted dumpling platters are great way to try several different types of dumplings.
Our SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown Tour runs twice everyday and spends about 45 minutes in Chinatown. The original building was torn down and eventually a new modern Manhattan House of Detention was erected. By the time the spire was added in the 1860s, the church was Roman Catholic with a congregation of Irish and Italian immigrants. It served as social center of sorts, a place where Chinese immigrants could come to talk, where illiterate immigrants could get assistance from literate immigrants to write letters back home, or to rent a bed by the night in the back of the store. Nor have their prices which means if you want a bamboo backscratcher, chopsticks, and other Chinese trinkets, this shop is for you. Unlike other food establishments in early Chinatown with their exotic mysterious appearance, Nom Wah’s decor was familiar to non-Chinese diners and made it more enticing for people to come in and try this new type of food. Thus it is no coincidence that Lin Ze Xu, a Chinese politician who fought to keep the opium trade out of China in the 1830s-40s, happens to be Fujianese. Spanish and Portuguese Jews were the original founders of the Shearith Israel congregation, the only one in New York for nearly 200 years until 1825. During colonial times and after, Broadway replaced Bowery as the main street of Manhattan and by the 1800s the Bowery had grown into an entertainment district.
Look up and you will see small, arched quarter-windows typical of the late Georgian and early Federal styles of the era in which it was built. On its base, there is a Confucian proverb praising a fair government with leaders of wisdom next to an American flag.


The temple is housed in a storefront so it is quite small, which is why Annie Ying opened the much larger Mahayana Temple in 1997 on Canal Street, included in this tour.
There are a few stores that selling greens and fruit but manly it’s the fish that bring the locals in to do their weekly shopping. Thus, in the early days of Chinatown, a Chinese woman was a rare sight and those who did make it to America were often sponsored by Chinese theaters where they would perform at exotic Chinese theaters where upper-class worldly men would visit. If a shop does carry fake bags, they won’t make it obvious and you will have to go to the way back of the shop and have a look.
If you indicate you are interested, they will take you off to the side and discreetly show you pictures of the items they have. Traditionally Dim Sum is served on the weekends only and early in the day, sort of like brunch. They are served in broth or by themselves with add-ins such as duck, chicken or vegetables. Forks are to the right of the register and there is hot sauce on the tiny counter across from the open kitchen where you can see your dumplings being made. They also do a great job with familiar flavors such as Mint Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter and vanilla Fudge. If you are a vegetarian or just want to try something different, try the lotus paste steamed buns with  consistency of peanut butter and a taste similar to that of chestnuts. The church is still Roman Catholic but its congregation is mainly Chinese making it one of the largest Chinese Roman Catholic congregation in the Western world. Doyers is an oddly curved street, the result of having been laid out prior to the City’s official street creation policy, the Commissioner’s Grid Plan of 1811 mandating that any new streets conform to the still existing grid pattern.
Though the restaurant has had different owners of the years, the current owners have been involved with it since the 1940s.
The statue was erected in 1997and is a source of pride for the Fujianese residents of the neighborhood. Since the 1820s the building has housed a tavern, a hotel, a pool parlor, a restaurant, a Chinese club and currently is a community bank. Toward the back is an elaborate altar with benches for kneeling and a red box for donations for which you get a fortune scroll in exchange.
Warning: if you are squeamish, do NOT look inside the large plastic garbage bins next to the fish displays. When the railroad was completed, Chinese workers moved east seeking work and to escape the resentment and discrimination they experienced in the West. One will find larger Chinese populations in Flushing and Elmhurst in Queens and Sunset Park in Brooklyn.
If you want to make a purchase, you then follow them to semi-secret, but generally safe, locations to complete the deal. However, many restaurants in Chinatown now serve on weekdays as well, though the atmosphere is much more fun on weekends.
They also have pork buns, and vegetarian dumplings but they cost a bit more and aren’t as good as their signature dish. The proximity of Chinatown to the Twin Towers resulted in street closures in the area, cutting off much business to Chinatown.
Read the news articles posted on the restaurants windows to learn about the family’s history and the hard times and good times the restaurant has endured over the decades.
This is one of the very few pre-colonial sites left in the city yet most New Yorkers have never heard of it.
The wall of more than 100 small golden Buddhas make it worth it to take a peek inside, especially since it is free to enter.
When having Dim Sum, instead of ordering from a menu, you are given a large ticket on which the waiters keep track of what you eat. It is open to the public and you can sit in on trials during the day or night court from 5 pm-1am. Worth (formerly Anthony) Street on the south, Baxter (formerly Orange) Street on the west and Mosco (formerly Cross) Street on the east.
With the Chinatown economy now in recovery, new owners have opened up a gift shop at the location. Keep your eyes open in the area as you may see film crews shooting scenes for one of the many “Law and Order” type TV shows that take place in New York.
If you see something you like, stop the waiter, point at the item and give your food ticket. The servers don’t speak much English so you may just have to wait and be surprised by what you’ve selected to try. If you are a big group, you will get your own table, but when it is crowded you will have to wait in the crowded lobby until a table is free.




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