Chinatown, New York

The “Chinese City” in New York is a must for tourists. It is the largest Chinatown in the United States and the cultural and political center of the Chinese in New York. It is the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere, with permanent residents estimated at 70,000 to 150,000. Thousands of tourists are here every day.

The core of Chinatown includes Canal, Mott, Pell and Doyers Streets on the southern edge of the Lower East Side. The neighborhood has grown more and more and absorbed parts of Little Italy. The boundaries are Kenmore and Delancey Streets in the north, East and Worth Streets in the south, Allen Street in the east and Broadway in the west. The world in Chinatown is bright, colorful and lively, hopelessly overcrowded and sometimes shabby.

The enclave is a strange world for the tourist with exotic shops in narrow streets, fruits and vegetables, living fish, crabs and mussels in the shop windows and red-stained ducks hung in the showcases of the restaurants. The labels are in Chinese and English. You feel like you are in another world. There are more than ten Buddhist temples in this area and even the telephone booths are designed as pagodas. Magnificent dragons, fans, lanterns and figures create an exotic atmosphere.

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When the neon lights shine in the evening, the district is particularly beautiful. A visit is particularly recommended on weekends. Then the relatives from other parts of the city come to their families and life is particularly colorful. There should be at least 200 restaurants. If you like Chinese cuisine, you should definitely stop here. Especially at lunchtime there is often “dim sum”, a kind of Chinese fast food made up of individual snacks filled with shrimp, meat or vegetables, served hot and fresh. One helps oneself from the serving trolleys, which are constantly pushed through the rows of tables. You pay according to the number and type of plates you have taken. The price-performance ratio is still considered real here.

Chinese cuisine is generally one of the best in the world because, as a rule of poverty, the chefs understand how to conjure up delicious dishes from supposedly inferior ingredients. But there is no Chinese cuisine in the true sense of the word. What Europeans understand by this is Chinese food with a strong European influence. China’s cuisine is as diverse as its regions. Traditional Chinese cuisine therefore differentiates between Cantonese, Szechuan, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hunan, etc. and often takes on Vietnamese and Malay influences. Cantonese cuisine is dominant, but Chinatown offers all regional characteristics. You can find restaurant recommendations on the website of Chinatown online. The 10 best dim sum restaurants in New York City presents the website of before (served between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.).

Chinatown also offers plenty of shopping, especially tea, ginseng, furniture, china, clothing, and small kit from Taiwan. All products from China can also be found here, especially of course ingredients for Chinese cuisine. Recommendations for shopping in Chinatown offer again Chinatown online.


Nobody really knows when the first Chinese reached New York. The first Chinese are said to have been sailors who entered New York Bay in 1847 on board a junk and were an attraction due to their strangeness. About 25 years later, they were followed by Chinese migrant workers working on railroad construction in California were active or came during the gold rush and were no longer needed. From the beginning, the Chinese settled where there were already Chinese. This was not least a consequence of the racial discrimination of the “foreign”. Shortly after the gold rush, the world traveler JJ Benjamin, who came from Hanover, wrote about the Chinese situation at the time: “In this country they deserve all condolences, because they are treated worse than the dogs there. If someone kills a Chinese man and robs him of his few hard-earned dollars, he has to face no punishment in advance, since no consideration is given to this nation in court, and no white man is inclined to pay a “heavenly resident” in favor of the lost “heavenly resident” To bear witness. In the mines

With the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) Washington DC tried to stop the further influx of Chinese into the USA. The Chinese were extremely unpopular, after all, they were willing to work harder and cheaper than other immigrants. The state reprisals were high: Immigration was only possible if a job was guaranteed and the re-entry of women and children was generally forbidden, even for Chinese men who had lived in the USA for years. As a result of these restrictions, only around 40 to 150 women lived in Chinatown around 1900; the number of men was around 7,000. The consequence of this “Bachelor’s Society” was the flourishing of prostitution and opium consumption.

It was not until the Second World War that living conditions eased and limited immigration was allowed. In the 40s and 50s of the 20th century, the population grew slowly but steadily. With the increase in the immigration quota from 1968 onwards, Chinatown exploded. Today, land rents in Chinatown are among the highest in New York. The inflow of capital from Hong Kong also made a significant contribution to this. The population of Asian and Pacific descent has doubled in the last decade in New York, but is still around 7%, making it the city’s smallest minority group.

Due to historical developments, the Chinese society is still closed. You had to help yourself and be prepared for all dangers. Chinatown has always been characterized by an internal self-organization, culturally, politically and socio-politically. In a sense, it’s a world of its own. It is said that there are still people here who speak Chinese (Mandarin or similar), but not a word of English and have never seen the rest of the USA.

If you want to delve into the history of Chinatown, then a visit to the Museum of Chinese in the Americas recommendable. You can also learn everything about rice culture and the 7 m long dragon weighs 1.5 tons. The street festivals on the occasion of the Chinese New Year (between January 21 and February 19) are a special attraction (Lunar New Year’s festival).

The beginning and end of the New Year celebrations do not fall on an annually recurring day in our calendar, but “vary”. The reason is that the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar calendar and is therefore, for example, the lunar year 4702 in 2004. In 2004, the Chinese New Year festival begins on January 22nd according to our calendar and is the year of the “monkey”. The Chinese astrological calendar is based on a 12-year moon cycle and gives each year the name of an animal. The festival spans a period of 2 weeks and ends on the 15th day with the lantern festival.

New York City celebrates the festival in particular with the Manhattan Chinatown Parade, which basically takes the following course and usually takes place on the Sunday after the start of the New Year between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The parade begins on Mulberry Street (Columbus Park) – Canal St. – Mott St. – Chatham Sq. – East Broadway – Market St. – Division St. – Bowery – Canal St – and ends at Mulberry St. The highlight is always the dragon parade, there are also numerous other events in the districts.

The Museum of Chinese in the Americas provides background information and, under the heading “MoCAlender”, also notes on the dates of events. Further links on this topic can be found under By the way: One of the top ten parades on the occasion of the Chinese New Year is also the Moving to San Francisco: The highlight here is a kite that is moved through the streets by 100 people. USATODAY offers a report on Chinatown in English under the heading “ New York’s Chinatown: Food, shopping and the Year of the Rooster “.

Chinatown, New York

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