Thu, 22 September 2011
Manhattan's Chinatown is unique among New York neighborhoods as its origins and its provocative history can still be traced in many of the buildings and streets still in existence. Two hundred years ago, the sight of a Chinese person would have astonished New Yorkers, and the first to arrive in the city were either sailors or the subjects of tacky exhibition.
But with the first Chinese men setting on Mott Street, a new community was born, with thriving variety shops, cigar businesses and gambling dens alongside establishments of a more sensuous nature -- opium dens and brothels. This mini-economy produced social clubs and secret societies (the legendary ‘tongs’), and rival gangs soon spilled blood along the neighborhood's quirkiest lane.
And still today, modern Chinatown hides a few dark, startling secrets of its own.
ALSO: We give you a rundown of addresses along Mott Street and other places nearby. You can use this podcast as your official walking tour of Chinatown!