Manhattan’s Chinatown is home to the largest and oldest enclaves of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. Located in lower Manhattan and bordering the Lower East Side on the eastside, Little Italy to the north, the Civic Center on the south, and Tribeca to the west.
While Chinatown is considered to have no officially defined borders, there are distinct streets that are said to comprise the neighborhood’s boundaries. These are Grand Street, which overlaps Little Italy to the north, Worth Street to the southwest which borders the Civic Center with East Broady forming the southeastern border next to Two Bridges. Finally Allen Street borders the Lower East Side to the east and Lafayette Street borders Tribeca to the west.
One of nine Chinatown neighborhoods in New York City and one of twelve within New York’s metropolis, Chinatown is home to the largest population of ethnic Chinese outside Asia–and equally as diverse.
The other Chinatowns are in Queens (with four areas), Brooklyn (with three), Nassau County on Long Island, in addition to Edison and Parsippany-Troy Hills in New Jersey. Brooklyn and Queens have been the leaders in the growth of the burgeoning Chinatown population outside Manhattan and encompass some of the largest Chinese populations within all cities in America. Furthermore, while Manhattan’s Little Fuzhou is comprised of mostly recent immigrants from China’s Fujian Province, it is technically a part of Chinatown.
Recently, the Chinese community has expanded into East Harlem and Uptown Manhattan.
Originally, Chinatown was predominantly settled by Cantonese speaking Chinese, but by the 1980s & 1990s, Fuzhounese-speaking immigrants began flooding in. Given the linguistic differences between these two groups, many Cantonese and Fuzhounese-speaking immigrants adopted Mandarin to communicate within their community. Cantonese is China and Taiwan’s official language so it makes sense that Chinatown residents would adopt it.
Ah Ken is considered to be the first Chinese person to have permanently immigrated to New York City’s Chinatown.
Ah Ken was a Cantonese businessman and founded a successful cigar store on Park Row. A street that runs through the Civic Center, Financial District, and Chinatown with a busy intersection at the end punctuated by Millennium Park. Immigrants coming after Ken would follow in his footsteps and were dubbed “cigar men.” He would also inspire cigar makers such as William Longford, John Occoo, and John Ava to do business in Chinatown, which would come to form a monopoly on the cigar trade during the mid 19th Century.
Ken is also widely speculated to have been the landlord operating the small Mott Street boarding house which rented bunkbeds to early Chinese immigrants to Chinatown looking for a place to stay while they found work. Because of this endeavor, Ken was able to earn on average $100 each month (a small fortune in those days!) with which he saved and purchased his Park Row cigar shop. It was because of Ken’s efforts that modern-day Chinatown grew within that area.
Due to West Coast racial discrimination and predatory new laws that were set up to prevent Chinese immigrants from seeking employment in myriad occupations, many moved to the East Coast to search for work.
Many of those fleeing the West Coast’s bigotry took jobs in hand washing laundry facilities and restaurants.In those early days of the Chinese diaspora, Chinatown started on Mott, Park, Pell and Doyers Streets and was an immediate neighbor to the infamous Five Points district. The dangerously crime infested, disease plagued slum, the Five Points was of course made famous by director Martin Scorsese’s 2002 Academy Award nominated Gangs of New York, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio.
In 1870, Chinatown’s Chinese population numbered only around 200, but by the time the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was passed, the population had burgeoned to 2,000 residents. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was among the most significant restrictions of free immigration in America’s history and banned the immigration of Chinese laborers. Originally meant to be codified for only 10 years, this xenophobic law was renewed in 1892 by the Geary Act, and became permanent in 1902. It is noteworthy in American history for being the very first law to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the US. It wouldn’t be until December of 1943 that the Magnuson Act would repeal it.
Due to this bigotry and cultural divide separating them from their neighbors, Chinatown’s immigrant community was largely separate from the rest of Manhattan.
Interestingly, the 1900 United States Census found that while there were 7,028 Chinese male immigrants in New York City at that time, only 142 were women. That’s an astounding gender gap! In Growth and Decline of Muslim Hui Enclaves in Beijing, Wenfei Wang, Shangyi Zhou, and C. Cindy Fan would write that these restrictions created a “virtually bachelor society” in Chinatown until 1965. It wasn’t until the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943 that this gender inequality would shift.
With the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Chinatown saw its population grow rapidly as more immigrants were allowed into the United States from Asia. However, due to deteriorating buildings and high crime rates, robberies, burglaries, rape, and racial tension With the myriad ethnic groups in the area, many Chinese people were scared to walk in the area. In turn, this led to fewer businesses in the area and a significant portion of the properties were vacant and not occupied. Female Chinese garment workers were especially prone to be the victims of this violence, facing robbery and rape on their walk home from work.
Associations called “tongs” aided new immigrants and were comprised of a mix of clan and landsman’s associations, political alliances, and more nefariously, crime syndicates.
These associations and gangs provided protection to Chinatown’s residents from the harassment engendered by the anti-Chinese sentiment that was prevalent in NYC at the time. They assisted immigrants, gave out loans, and helped start businesses. However, With the lack of economic opportunity afforded to these immigrants, the crime syndicates flourished leading to an increase in gang warfare in Chinatown. These tongs perpetuated an image of Chinatown as being dangerous due to their opium dens, prostitution establishments, and high murder rate.
Tourism arrived in Chinatown around the turn of the 20th Century as New Yorkers began visiting the neighborhood seeking out the exotic adventures and culinary delights.
Chinatown, however, is currently undergoing a round of gentrification which is seeing the area’s real estate thriving and rents rising. This in turn means that many poorer Chinatown residents cannot afford to live there and instead have shifted to other New York City Chinatowns, such as in Flushing & Elmhurst in Queens, Brooklyn, and East Harlem. Flushing’s Chinatown was said by The New York Times to rival Manhattan’s older Chinatown as the cultural ground zero for Chinese-speakers.
As rents increased, many landlords and business owners began terminating lower-income residents’ leases to make more money off the rising property values. By 2007, luxury condos were spreading into the area from SoHo. Some argue this has increased Chinatown’s economic and cultural diversity, while still others criticize the gentrification for sending Chinese immigrants away.
Today, many tourists and New York City residents visit Chinatown’s street vendors for their knock-off perfumes, purses, and watches as well as the more than 300 Chinese food restaurants that call Chinatown home.
These retail and culinary businesses support Chinatown’s bustling tourism. Tourists’ favorite sites in Chinatown include famous landmarks such as the Church of Transfiguration and the statues of Confucius and Lin Zexu. Popular restaurants include Jing Fong, New Green Bo, Amazing 66, and the three locations of chain restaurant and Zagat rated Joe’s Shanghai famous for their steamed bao buns.
Chinatown’s Nom Wah Tea Parlor is New York City’s oldest dim sum establishment, having been opened in 1920. Having been recently remodeled, this throwback eatery is full of old-world charm. Having been around for almost a century, you know if must be a delicious restaurant! If you’re like us, you love bubble milk teas (simply Boba to those in the know) and getting your fix of these addictive drinks is easy in Chinatown. The local favorite spot for Boba in Chinatown is Kung Fu Tea.
Noted for their consistently fresh tapioca and complex tea flavors, Nom Wah Tea Parlor’s 22 locations (two of which are in Chinatown) serve something for every palate, with jelly drinks, slushies, iced coffee and of course boba teas!
While much of the garment making trade has moved back to mainland China, the fashion industry’s proximity to Chinatown has allowed some of the garment work to remain locally in Chinatown. At its peak, Chinatown’s garment industry employed 30,000 people, but now is a predominantly small-scale operation focusing on quick production in small volumes.
Whether moving your family, client, or business, choose PackingRUs–New York City’s #1 moving boxes, moving kits, moving supplies, and professional packing & unpacking company. PackingRUs is making moving easy with our Same Day Delivery right to your door On Demand anywhere in Chinatown.
From professional moving kits, packing supplies, and moving boxes in every of shape and size, our Mobile Store has what you need already on the trucks when they arrive to your home in Chinatown. Call us now to place your order for same day delivery.
And what if you don’t know what you’ll need to get started packing? We can diagnose your move for you! Our knowledgeable drivers and packers have years of experience moving people in and around Chinatown. Simply request a diagnosis over the phone or in person when we deliver and we’ll be happy to write you a customized relocation prescription.
PackingRUs gives FREE in home estimates and we will explain in detail how to execute your move. We can answer all of your moving questions, address all of your packing concerns, and give you a written quote when we visit your home. All of our estimates are guaranteed and will never be a dollar more nor a dollar less than we give you on site. We believe hidden fees and extra charges are the reason many people dread moving. So rest easy knowing you made the right choice with PackingRUs as your packing & moving experts.
To help calm your packing fears, we’ve spent years refining our moving kits to best serve Chinatown residents as they move in and out of the area. Each moving kit has three sizes and are 10% cheaper than ordering packing boxes and moving supplies à la carte. In addition to these pre-made kits, we can customize your moving kit to your exact needs. We have kits for every type of home: from Studio Kits, Dorm & College Kits, to One Bedroom and Five Bedroom Kits, we know what you’ll need to pack smartly, efficiently, and safely. We even have packing kits for moving offices, kitchens, wardrobe, and storage needs.
All of our federally approved high volume Edge Crash Tested (ECT) boxes are made of premium corrugated cardboard and are designed specifically for moving and shipping goods locally, nationally, or internationally. All of our moving boxes and moving supplies meet USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL regulations for shipping items. Our packing supplies including tape & dispenser, packing paper, bubble wrap, professional grade Moving Blankets, labels, packing peanuts, stretch wrap, furniture pads, mattress covers, and more are guaranteed by PackingRUs to get the job done.
The right packing and moving materials make the difference between ensuring items arrive at their destination safely and the horror stories most people associate with moving. We offer professional grade premium supplies at prices that can’t be beat. So don’t break the bank moving—call PackingRUs today to move smart.
PackingRUs ensures our customers are completely satisfied with their experience and never overspend on packing supplies. Our Same Day Delivery with No Minimum Purchase is the cherry on our moving sundae—making for a sweet experience that doesn’t leave a sour taste in your mouth. And we gladly accept coupons from our competitors, so if you find a lower price, we’ll beat it. We won’t be undersold and we take pride in making sure our customers are 100% satisfied.
PackingRUs is here to help you with any question regarding your upcoming packing and relocation. Call us toll free today at 800-380-8386 and we’ll show you why we are New York City’s go to option for moving boxes, moving kits, moving supplies, and packing services. And you can always email questions, concerns, or orders night and day to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With world class service, same day delivery, and unbeatable prices PackingRUs is moving made simple for New York City’s Chinatown residents.
We are offering a same day delivery NO minimum at the following NYC Manhattan neighborhoods and zip codes:
In Manhattan and Central Harlem: 10026, 10027, 10030, 10037, 10039
In Chelsea and Clinton: 10001, 10011, 10018, 10019, 10020, 10036
In East Harlem 10029, 10035
In Gramercy Park and Murray Hill: 10010, 10016, 10017, 10022
In Greenwich Village and Soho: 10012, 10013, 10014
In Lower Manhattan: 10004, 10005, 10006, 10007, 10038, 10280
On the Lower East Side: 10002, 10003, 10009
On the Upper East Side: 10021, 10028, 10044, 10128
On the Upper West Side: 10023, 10024, 10025
In Inwood and Washington Heights: 10031, 10032, 10033, 10034, 10040
So call us today! You won’t be disappointed. We guarantee it! 1 (800) 380-8386