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Spotlight: Chinatown

Discover Chinatown

Max Touhey

New York’s Chinatown is the largest of Chinatowns in the United States. Chinatown is located on the lower portion of Manhattan. In which it reaches two square miles of shops, homes, restaurants, and a vast Chinese community. The population is estimated at around 70,000 to 150,000 citizens.

Chinatown NYC

New York’s Chinatown came into being in the 1870s. The Chinese population grew from around 150 in 1859 to more than 2,000 in the 1870s. Many of the Chinese immigrants were pushed out of the West when a violent anti-Chinese movement that was powered by white concern over losing their jobs when employment opportunities started to collapse at the end of the Gold Rush and completion of the transcontinental railroad.

Soon Chinatown was established in New York with a large overpopulation and racial discrimination and self-segregation. It didn’t take long for them to create structures for the community, businesses, offices, and such which supplied the people who health care, items needed for everyday living, and food. They wanted to become self-reliant away from anyone outside the community.

Chinatown continued to increase to grow in population into the ending of the nineteenth century. The new Chinese immigrants were given places to board as soon as they arrived until they were able to get on their feet. This means that sometimes 5-15 people would live in a two-bedroom apartment. Then the apartment would then be divided into segments of several compartments to give everyone some privacy. Even with the poor and cramped living conditions, Chinese immigrants continued to slowly expand. They even continued to arrive after the Chinese Exclusion Act founded in 1882.

Today Chinatown’s small streets are the place to wonder if you want some unusual shops, culinary delights, and culture. There are many things to do in Chinatown NYC, many of which are free of charge. Make sure you take an afternoon or several to stroll through the busy streets and let the culture sink in all around you. There will be sights, sounds, and smells you will encounter as you navigate through the streets.

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