edit

Introduction

Manhattan's famous Chinatown is a lively neighborhood, full of good values in restaurants and food shopping. Also on sale are cheap knockoffs of designer labels made in China, and all sorts of trinkets and toys. Chinatown is a much larger neighborhood in population and area than it used to be a few decades ago, and for all practical purposes encompasses most of "Little Italy" and a large portion of what was traditionally called the Lower East Side, north of Canal Street and on the north side of the Manhattan Bridge overpass. Indeed, in a real sense, it can be said that the center of Chinatown is no longer on Mott Street between Canal Street and Chatham Square (though that stretch is well worth visiting), but has moved further north and east to East Broadway between Chatham Square and Pike Street and Grand Street between the Bowery and Chrystie Street, where locals shop for foodstuffs - and you can, too, for good values. Chinatown has also been growing more diverse, becoming a bit less of a Chinatown and more of a China and Southeast Asia town, with a growing presence of immigrants from Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. And inasmuch as it remains a Chinatown, it is no longer dominated by Cantonese people the way it used to be. For example, Eldridge St. between Division and Broome Sts. is now known as Little Fuzhou, due to a recent influx of Fuzhounese immigrants who have given Chinatown a new flavor.

The Chinatown area also encompasses what little remains of Little Italy, an area which is essentially comprised of a few blocks of Mulberry Street north of Canal, plus a bit on streets perpendicular to Mulberry (such as the block between Mulberry and Mott on Grand Street, or part of it). Little Italy is almost devoid of Italian residents nowadays, and is primarily a kind of tourist theme park, but still contains a few eateries with reputations. What used to be the northern end of Little Italy, now called NoLIta (which extends north to Houston Street), is a quieter residential area, less touristy, but with upscale boutiques, and more often frequented by New Yorkers than SoHo, of which it is in some ways an eastern extension, nowadays.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

The main attraction in Chinatown is just walking through the neighborhood, visiting the above-mentioned shopping streets.

City Hall (Subway: 4 5 6 to Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall or J Z to Chambers St or R to City Hall), ☏ +1-212-788-2656, ✉ tours@cityhall.nyc.gov. On a triangular city block between Broadway, Park Row and Chambers Street sits City Hall, a gorgeous gleaming white building completed in 1812 and still serves as the home of certain city government functions, such as the office of the mayor. The building itself is fenced off and only accessible by tour, but there is a lovely park surrounding the building, with plenty of shady trees and a pleasant fountain just to the south of the building. Just north of City Hall and on the same block is the 2 Tweed Courthouse, a gorgeous government structure and the legacy of Tammany Hall boss William M. Tweed, who used the courthouse project to embezzle large sums of money from the city budget and was convicted in a courtroom in this building.
City Hall Station. The original subway station, and quite a marvel to witness--the chandeliers and ornate tiling are a sharp contrast to the nearby Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station. There's one catch, though: it's been closed since 1945. However, you can see it by staying on the downtown 6 train after its last stop Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall; it will turn around in the old station. This is the one place in the system where this is allowed, and the announcements reflect that. The Transit Museum (in Downtown Brooklyn) offers occasional tours as well, which allow you to actually walk around the station, but you must be a museum member and a US citizen, making this an impractical choice for most visitors.
Manhattan Municipal Building, 1 Centre St (at Chambers St). With New York City growing and not enough space in the City Hall building, this 40-story structure was built to meet the space demands of the city government. Completed in 1915, it is a massive and very grand building with the gilded statue of a woman standing atop the building's spire.
Chatham Square (at the intersection of The Bowery, East Broadway, Park Row, Mott and Worth Streets). At this square at the confluence of several major streets, there is a memorial archway to Chinese-Americans who died in WWII which has some interesting calligraphy. Also in the square is a statue of Lin Zexu, a Chinese scholar who opposed the opium trade in the 19th century.
Columbus Park, Bayard St (between Mulberry and Baker Streets). An excellent place to relax and people-watch. Early in the mornings, people practice their tai-chi there. If you're interested, some of these people might teach you a little bit of it. At times, there are a group of women practicing the traditional Chinese fhan dances. Also, usually in the summer time there are basketball tournaments one may either participate in or watch. In the afternoon when school is out, many adolescents hang out in this park.
Museum of Chinese in the Americas, 215 Centre St (between Howard and Grand Sts.). Tu-W, F-Su 11AM-6PM, Th 11AM-9PM, closed M. Exhibits on the history and culture of Chinese-Americans. $10 adults, $5 students/seniors, children under 12 free.
African Burial Ground National Monument, 290 Broadway, 1st floor (north of City Hall), ☏ +1-212-637-2019, fax: +1-212-227-2026. Visitor Center: Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM except Federal holidays; Memorial: Daily 9AM-5PM except Federal holidays. For most of the 18th century, Africans in New York City were buried in a graveyard outside the city. The graveyard was eventually forgotten and was rediscovered in 1991. This museum and memorial site commemorate the estimated 15,000 Africans that were interred on the site of the memorial. Note that the museum is located inside of a Federal building so airport-style security should be expected. Free.
Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St, ☏ +1 212 219-0888. Su-Th 10AM-5PM, Fri 10AM-3PM. The museum, a non-sectarian cultural organization based in the restored 1887 National Historic Landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue, presents the culture, history and traditions of the great wave of Jewish immigrants to the Lower East Side drawing parallels with the diverse cultural communities that have settled in America. The museum offers guided tours of the synagogue, new exhibits and programs -- including concerts, neighborhood walking tours and film screenings. $10 adults, $8 students/seniors, $6 children (5-18), $15 families, free admission Monday all day. Eldridge Street Synagogue (Q1113721) on Wikidata Eldridge Street Synagogue on Wikipedia edit
Italian American Museum, 155 Mulberry St. (at Grand St.), ☏ +1 212 965-9000, ✉ info@ItalianAmericanMuseum.org. F-Su 12PM-6PM.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Subway

For general purposes, the D or B subway lines to Grand Street are optimal for accessing Chinatown. The J and Z to Bowery leave you a little north of the center of Chinatown. The F train to East Broadway leaves you toward the eastern edge of the neighborhood. The 6, N, Q, R, W, J or Z to Canal Street leave you a few blocks west of the center of the neighborhood though in the midst of the excitement, congestion, and vendors of Canal St (this is generally the best stop for shopping for anything other than foodstuffs). Further afield, it is also possible to take the 4 or 5 to Brooklyn Bridge or the 2 or 3 to Park Place and walk north and east. The A, C, or E trains that stop at Canal and 6th Av. and the 1 train, which stops at Canal and Varick, are far west of the neighborhood though walkable in good weather.

By Bus

Several city bus lines including the M9, M15, and M103 traverse Chinatown.

Chinatown is the home of several super-cheap long distance bus companies. You can take buses from Manhattan's Chinatown to other Chinatowns in Boston; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; to various cities further afield; and to casinos in Atlantic City. Ticket offices of the various bus companies are scattered throughout Chinatown, including those of Eastern Coach and Lucky Star Bus, among others.

By Foot and Bicycle

You can of course walk to Chinatown. If you're coming from Brooklyn, you can cross the Manhattan Bridge, which opened to pedestrian traffic within the past few years. Note though, that your view will be partially blocked by a protective mesh, and that you will be periodically rattled by the B, D, N, and Q trains crossing the bridge. But on the plus side, you will exit on Bowery near Canal Street in central Chinatown. Another bridge that can be crossed from Brooklyn to Manhattan is the Williamsburg Bridge. After crossing the Williamsburg, you will be left on Delancey Street, a few blocks east of the northeast corner of Chinatown. All things being equal, though, it is most pleasant to cross the Brooklyn Bridge and then take the short walk to the southern reaches of Chinatown from the pedestrian exit. Note that it is also possible to use a bike path on the Manhattan Bridge and that the walkway over the Brooklyn Bridge doubles for most of its length as a bike path; the Williamsburg Bridge also has a bike path.

Top

edit

Eat

If you want to have a really cheap meal, or it's really nice weather, consider buying something on the street (the fried chicken cart that you may find on Canal or Walker Street right near the triangle between Canal, Walker, and Baxter Streets serves really tasty legs and wings, for example) or a cheap prepared thing such as is sold at the Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco Street between Mott and Mulberry, and eat it in Columbus Park or another park as a kind of impromptu picnic.

If you'd rather have a sit-down meal, Chinatown probably has the largest number of inexpensive restaurants in Manhattan. They range from the "rice, soup, and four side dishes" steam table places to the "4 dumplings for $5" establishments to full-service restaurants like Great NY Noodletown and Noodle Village, which abound in dishes "on rice," noodle soups, and congees for around $7 or less, and on up to a seafood specialist like Oriental Garden, where specially requested, highly prized varieties of live fish and seafood can run up the bill somewhat. But what Chinatown lacks is anything truly high-end. For the most part (with the exception of off-menu items at Oriental Garden), $30-40 is about the most you are likely to pay, even if you pig out at a multi-course banquet.

Banh Mi Saigon Bakery, 198 Grand St (between Mott and Mulberry), ☏ +1 212 941-1541. This is in back of a jewelry and gem shop; no kidding! Both the Banh Mi Saigon (pork) and Banh Mi Ga (chicken) sandwiches are fantastic. Get them to go and eat them in a nearby park such as the one on the corner of Spring and Mulberry, a few blocks north and one block west. Note: Do not confuse this place with Saigon Banh Mi So at 369 Broome St, which serves sandwiches that are fine but nowhere near as good.
Bo Ky, 80 Bayard St (between Mott and Mulberry Sts.), ☏ +1 212 406-2292. Very inexpensive food, reliable soups that are especially welcome in cold weather. Very quick service. They have side dishes of offal (pig's ears, etc.) for those who like them. They are also known for their Teochew country-style duck. There is another branch with an identical menu at 216 Grand St., between Mott and Elizabeth.
Cheung Wong Kitchen Inc., 38A Allen St. (corner of Hester St.), ☏ +1 212-343-2373. 10:30AM - 10PM. This restaurant is probably putting out the best soy sauce chicken in Chinatown today, and their soy sauce duck is also delicious. Very good roast pork, too. Most of the rest of their dishes are just OK, but it's worth going there just for the chicken or duck, and the price is certainly right, as you can absolutely pig out for about $13. If you get a main dish, you are entitled to also have a small soup, so just ask for the soup if you want a mild pork broth with some greens. The restaurant is small and unprepossessing, and you are likely to share a table with a stranger, but you aren't there for the atmosphere, anyway. The most expensive dish on the menu costs $10.95 and rice plates are almost all between $4 and $5.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, 65 Bayard St (between Mott and Bowery), ☏ +1 212 608-4170. Enjoy the "regular" flavors like taro, green tea, lychee, black sesame, mango, and coconut (or the "exotic" flavors like strawberry, vanilla...), and don't neglect the sorbets. The owner also experiments and creates new flavors. Even though there is a Haagen Dazs down the street from this ice cream store, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is the go-to place for ice cream when you visit Chinatown. On a nice, sunny day, you'll most likely find a long line of customers outside the store waiting to purchase their ice cream. That is how popular this store is. If you really like the ice cream, you may purchase one of their Chinatown Ice Cream Factory t-shirts. Prices have crept up. 1 Scoop $3.75 / 2 Scoops $5.75 / 3 Scoops or Pint $6.95 / Quart $11.75.
Fay Da Bakery. This bakery offers a wide assortment of traditional and fusion buns, pastries, cakes, as well as an assortment of drinks and bubble teas. All their buns are freshly baked every morning so the quality and consistency is always there. It's a self-serve bakery so you can easily pick and choose while taking your time. edit 5 Fay Da Mott, 83 Mott St (between Canal & Bayard Sts), ☏ +1 212 791-3884.
Fay Da Centre, 191 Centre St, ☏ +1 212 966-8934.
Great NY Noodletown, 28 Bowery (corner of Bayard), ☏ +1 212 349-0923. This restaurant, which is open late, has the feel of a Chinese diner. It can be very crowded at peak hours. Try the noodle soups and congees (around $5/person), the Ginger-Scallion Lo Mein (ditto), the barbecued items, and the salt baked dishes, but don't neglect the less inexpensive specials, like the dishes with chives or pea shoots (around $13/person, with different charges depending on choice of beef, chicken, shrimp, scallops, etc.).
Joe's Shanghai, 9 Pell St (between Mott and Doyers), ☏ +1 212 233-8888. This is the most famous of the Shanghainese restaurants in Chinatown, but not the best. Like most every other Shanghainese restaurant, it serves the popular "soup dumplings" (xiaolong bao in Chinese) which contain either pork or crab+pork with soup all within a dumpling. However, due to its popularity, here are some tips: Don't wait on line, go only at odd hours and order adventurously (get things like eel).
iM Star Cafe, 19 Division St (between Catherine and Market Sts), ☏ +1 212 966-8988. Small restaurant decorated with caricatures of Hong Kong celebrities on the walls. If you hit the morning stream of customers, you'll definitely have to wait for a seat since their breakfast is... to die for! Extremely cheap! This restaurant is the best restaurant to eat at if you're looking for something similar to the diners in Hong Kong. A mix of Chinese and American tastes. Definitely try their French toast, pan fried rice noodle, and iced milk tea! Extremely cheap.
Nice Green Bo, 66 Bayard St (between Mott and Bowery), ☏ +1 212 625-2359. Stick to Shanghainese food and do not get things like "Jalapeno Chicken." edit
Noodle Village, 13 Mott St (Between Chatham Sq. and Mosco St.), ☏ +1 212-233-0788. 10:30AM - 11PM every day. This is a very good restaurant and a good value. They serve their noodles nicely al dente and use good roast pork and roast duck. Their vegetables are fresh, too. Excellent rice dishes and casseroles, too — for example, they make a delicious spicy curried oxtail rice dish. Chef's Specials: $8.50-14.50, Vegetable dishes: $3.25-6.75, Side Order: $1.25-9.75, Congee: $2.95-8.50, Dumpling Soup: $5.50-6.50, Noodle Soup: $5.25-8.50, Lo Mein Hong Kong Style: $6.50-11.50, Vegetables: $4.50-5.75, Dumplings: $3.75-6.95, Drinks: $1.25-3.50, Dessert: $3.50-5.50.
Sheng Wang, 27 Eldridge St. (Between Division and Canal Sts., down a short flight of outdoor stairs.), ☏ +1 212-925-0805. 10AM-11PM every day. This is a very cheap place to eat, as you can easily fill up on a single dish. For example, their standout dish is 10 steamed pork dumplings for $3. Some dumpling connoisseurs consider Sheng Wang's dumplings the best in Chinatown today. Most of the rest of their dishes are noodle soups with hand pulled or peeled noodles made in house, and be warned that for a single person, trying to eat an order of dumplings plus a bowl of noodle soup is likely to be quite excessive. Also, one type of tripe they use in soups can be overly chewy. But you can't beat the value. $3-7 per dish.
Spicy Village (大福星, previously known as He Nan Flavor), 68 Forsyth St (Between Hester and Grand St), ☏ +1 212-625-8299. Daily: 10AM-11PM. This very informal eatery across the street from Sara Delano Roosevelt Park serves food from the province of Henan. All items are good, but the highlight is the Spicy Big Tray Chicken ($12.95), a very large soupy, stewy bowl of flavor, including cumin seeds and a generous helping of potatoes, that's not quite like any other style of Chinese food. Take at least one friend with you if you can, so you can share the chicken and some cold dishes. The proprietress is very nice. Appetizers: $1-6; Noodles and soups: $1.25-6.50; Specials: $1.25-12:95.
Tai Pan Bakery, 194 Canal St, ☏ +1 212 732-2222. This bakery store offers numerous Chinese breads, delicacies, and both hot and cold beverages/snacks. It shares its name with a popular bakery store chain in Hong Kong.
Cafe Hong Kong, 51 Bayard St. (Between Bowery and Mott/Elizabeth St.), ☏ +1 212-608-5359. 11AM-11PM every day. This restaurant was opened in 2013 by personnel from the defunct South China Garden, which used to be around the corner on Mott St. The portions are large and the food is delicious. This is in the estimation of many people the best Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown right now, and best to go to with at least a couple of friends and a big appetite, so that you can share a few dishes. If you like chicken, get the garlic fried chicken, which is one of their standout dishes. Appetizers: $3-6; Soups: $3-9.95 (the $9.95 ones serve 4); Salads: $6-7 (except Lobster Salad: seasonal price); Sandwiches: $2-5; Mains: $7.50-28, plus some seasonal-priced ones, but clustering between $12 and $16 for mains not based on rice or noodles; Lunch specials: $6.95 (11AM - 4PM).
Eileen's Special Cheesecake, 17 Cleveland Pl, ☏ +1 212-966-5585. M-F 9AM-9PM, Sa-Su 10AM-7PM. Some of the best cheesecake in the city, with individual-sized slices so that you can sample multiple flavors.
Hop Kee Restaurant, 21 Mott St, ☏ +1 212-964-8365. A decades-old Cantonese restaurant with classic dishes (Roast Pork Lo Mein, etc.) Open late on weekends (until 4AM), but like many other Chinatown restaurants, cash only.
Lombardi's Pizza, 32 Spring St (corner of Mott), ☏ +1 212 941-7994. The establishment in its current incarnation was opened in 1994, but describes itself as a continuation of "America's first pizzeria" (established in 1905). Their coal oven pizza is served by the pie, not the slice. Many New Yorkers think it has coasted off its prior reputation for years, but tourists can sometimes be seen lined up outside the door.
Amazing 66, 66 Mott St. Very good Cantonese food--go in a large group and get a feast!
Nha Trang, 87 Baxter St (between Canal and Bayard Sts), ☏ +1 212 233-5948. Looking to catch a quick lunch or dinner? This is definitely the place to go! Speedy service! You order and five minutes later, it's on your table ready to eat. A nice, homey Vietnamese restaurant. Be sure to try the soft-shelled crabs and fried calamari. Keep in mind that while this is good Vietnamese food for Manhattan, if you've had really good Vietnamese food in a place like San Jose, you may be very disappointed by this and any other sit-down Vietnamese restaurant in Manhattan.
Ping's Seafood, 22 Mott St, ☏ +1 212 602-9988. Good seafood restaurant especially the seafood pan-fried noodles & calamari. Also has dim sum. Note that this place can get very crowded during weekend dinner.
Shanghai Cafe, 100 Mott St (between Canal and Hester), ☏ +1 212 966-3988. Can make the best Shanghainese food in Chinatown, but has some consistency problems. Many young Chinese-American couples have dates there. Do not be shocked if the check is delivered to you unbidden, but don't feel that it must be paid right away. It's easy to have a sizable meal here for around $15 and possible to eat here for less.
Ajisen Noodle, 14 Mott St (between Mosco St and where Bowery intersects Mott St), ☏ +1 212 267-9680. Japanese food in Chinatown. Quaint, peaceful restaurant. You can splurge on the spider roll (sushi with soft-shelled crabs) and the fried ice cream. However, Japanese people often call the Ajisen chain the "McDonald's of ramen," which is not a compliment. So weigh that reputation into your decision on whether to go there.
Nyonya, 199 Grand St (between Mott and Mulberry), ☏ +1 212 334-3669. This restaurant is part of a small chain with other Nyonya and Penang restaurants and is popular and crowded on weekends. Their roti canai is good. One word of warning, though: If you are looking for food like you had on your visit to Kuala Lumpur, for the most part, you won't get it here. Instead, you are likely to get very watered-down, Americanized versions of most of their Malaysian dishes. Expect to spend around $25/person for dinner.
Oriental Garden, 14 Elizabeth St (between Bayard and Canal), ☏ +1 212 619-0085. Somewhat upscale, white tablecloths. Excellent seafood dishes, in particular, and a good, reliable place for a Cantonese banquet. The managers are good at customizing a banquet menu within your budget if you tell them what you want to spend, but consider eliminating one or two of the dishes they suggest, because they tend to recommend too much food (though you can take some home if need be). Unfortunately, there have been reports lately (2014-15) that while their fish and seafood are still acceptable, their non-seafood dishes have become bland and boring.

Dim Sum

For dim sum eating halls, especially those with carts, it is generally best to arrive by 10:30 or 11:00 in order to beat the crowds and have fresh food that is hot.

Dim Sum Go Go, 5 East Broadway (at Chatham Square), ☏ +1 212 732-0796. More expensive than the average Chinatown restaurant and catering to a mixed clientèle of Chinese and non-Chinese, it is many connoisseurs' favorite spot for dim sum in Chinatown. All the food is made to order; no carts. Some of their non-dim sum items are also good. Dumplings are mostly excellent — tasty, with a good texture and thin wrapper — but there have been some problems in the past with overly doughy buns that then got mushy from condensation, so you might consider avoiding those. Roughly $15-17 per person for dim sum.
Golden Unicorn, 18 East Broadway (corner of Catherine), ☏ +1 212 941-0911. Occupies a few floors. Each of the eating rooms is smaller than Jing Fong. There is also a bit more decor and the prices are a bit higher. Unfortunately, the food is mediocre.
Jing Fong, 20 Elizabeth St (2nd floor, between Bayard and Canal), ☏ +1 212 964-5256. Has an eating hall about the size of a football field. Try to get a table near the kitchen (to your right on entering) if possible, and don't neglect the non-circulating items available on either wall. The quality of the food is generally acceptable, if not refined, but it is best when fresh from the kitchen.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor, 13 Doyers St (Doyers St is the curvy street that goes from Pell St to Bowery), ☏ +1 212-962-6047. Sun-Thu: 10:30AM-9PM, Fri-Sat: 10:30AM-10PM. Nom Wah was the first dim sum parlor in New York, opening in 1920. In 2011, they renovated, sprucing up the interior but leaving most of the old-fashioned feeling intact. A few new dishes were added, but the core of Nom Wah's menu remains Cantonese. They serve dim sum all day. Unfortunately, the quality of the items is not consistent. Dim sum items mostly cost around $4-5 per order, but "Chef's Specials" are $5.50-12.
Oriental Garden, 14 Elizabeth St, ☏ +1 212 619-0085. Also gets good notes for dim sum from some connoisseurs, though others find it inconsistent. There are some carts on weekends, but its dim sum is mostly to order.
Ping's Seafood, 22 Mott St (at Mott St), ☏ +1 212 602-9988. Medium priced, but according to some, the best dim sum in Chinatown (others vehemently disagree). They have exotic offerings such as calamari and sugar cane shrimp.
Red Egg, 202 Centre St (corner of Howard St, between Hester and Grand), ☏ +1 212 966-1123. M-F 11AM-11PM; Sa-Su 10AM-11PM. This restaurant cares about its decor. Its dim sum is perhaps a bit less fancy than Dim Sum Go Go's, and it used to be good but by most accounts is no longer much worth going to, as of 2015. Roughly $15-22 for dim sum.

Top

edit

Drink

When in Chinatown, try some bubble tea. It's named for the tapioca/sago balls in the tea, which are sucked up with an oversized straw or eaten with a spoon. This kind of tea, which originated in Taiwan, has a popularity in New York that extends beyond the Chinese community, so you can find bubble tea houses outside of Chinese neighborhoods, but the greatest concentration of such establishments is still in Chinese communities like Manhattan's Chinatown and in Flushing, Queens. There are numerous bubble tea houses in Chinatown.

Ten Ren Tea Time, 79 Mott St (between Bayard and Canal Sts), ☏ +1 212 732-7178. Su-Th 11AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-Midnight. Some of the best bubble tea in town, but price is slightly towards the expensive side compared to other bubble tea stores in the neighborhood.
Vivi Bubble Tea, 49 Bayard St (between Elizabeth and Bowery Sts), ☏ +1 212 566-6833. A small (with a grand total of three seats) but very popular branch of this bubble tea shop chain, with inexpensive drinks and some rather quirky decorations, like Homer Simpson sitting on a bench out front and little coin-operated prize machines to entertain you while you wait in line. The tea can have a weird chemical taste and also be kind of dilute at the same time; your mileage may vary.

Top

edit

Sleep

Best Western Bowery Hanbee, 231 Grand St, ☏ +1 212 925-1177. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11:30AM. A fairly typical Best Western, with Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast, in a good location. $200-$250.
The Bowery Grand Hotel, 143 Bowery, New York, ☏ +1 212 226 6655. Rock bottom accommodation. Single rooms are smaller than the size of a double bed, and the place is not exactly sparkling. Rooms have no roof, so there is no privacy, and you can hear everyone else packed in inches away from you. Wifi is slow. But you can't beat the price. $50.
The Bowery House, 220 Bowery, ☏ +1-212-837-2373. Shared bathrooms, roof "garden", and bike rental. From $75 for a dorm bed.
Comfort Inn Lower East Side, 154 Madison Street. If New York hotel prices have made you resort to sleeping under a bridge, this may as well be your choice (pardon the pun), as it consistently ranks as one of the lowest-priced decent hotels in the city, and is also almost literally located under the Manhattan Bridge. The location is a bit remote and not quite charming, but the hotel does not lack anything in its limited-service standards, although it is on the small side with only 43 rooms and most facilities sized to match. $149, breakfast included.
Comfort Inn Manhattan Bridge, 61-63 Chrystie St, ☏ +1 212 925-1212. Check-out: 11AM. Standard chain hotel, with Wi-Fi, decent breakfast, and pets allowed for a fee. Reviewers often note friendly service. $200-$300.
Sohotel, 341 Broome St, ☏ +1 212 226-1482. Billing itself as "the oldest running hotel" in the city (the building has been housing a hotel for over a hundred years), the hotel is in an old building with rooms with hardwood floors and exposed brick walls, giving it a pretty unique feel. Lots of in-room amenities, although reviewers have noted issues with noise and cold showers. $175-$300.

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

New York/Chinatown Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for New York/Chinatown

This is version 3. Last edited at 15:04 on Sep 24, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License