Tuesday, January 05, 2010

[nyc] Chinatown

Lots of pictures in this one!

We decided to take a walking tour of Chinatown. After much looking online, I picked this one, which turned out to be great: Chinatown Walking Tour Map - New York Chinatown Map and Guide. I strongly recommend this guide if you want just a walking tour (and not a culinary tour).

Two surprises were (1) that the oldest cemetery in New York (1683) is in Chinatown, and (2) that it's Jewish. The First Shearith Israel Graveyard:

Shearith Israel tombstone

If you click for the larger image, you can read that Josaih Ellis died on October 8th, 1798.

Next up is a meat market whose window is plastered with posterboard in Chinese -- I assume cuts of meat and prices:

Shop Window

It was really, really cold during our walk. About halfway through, we were looking for a place were we could warm up and drink some hot tea. The tour recommended the Golden Unicorn, so we dropped in. The Golden Unicorn is a dim sum establishment. We asked for only hot tea, but they rolled the cart over, and we were intrigued, so we ended up trying a few baskets. The food was excellent. A bigger challenge was that Judi's mother had never eaten with chopsticks, and Judi hadn't in a very long time, and had lost the knack. It came back to her, though:

Judi eating dim sum

Until she got really good at it:

Judi, mistress of chopsticks

They did not offer us forks, by the way.

In case you ever need any tasty hand-pulled noodles, this is your place:

Tasty hand pulled noodles

Purportedly New York's first dim sum parlor -- you can't read it even in the larger version, but the date painted on the window is 1920:

First dim sum

I'm not sure what role this life-sized plastic Homer Simpson plays in Chinatown, but there you are:

Homer Simpson in Chinatown

Perhaps if this blog has a visitor who can read Chinese, he or she can interpret the placard in Homer's armpit for us.

Here are Judi and her mother standing on a streetcorner waiting for the light (I made it across before they did). Notice how they stand out against the dark-clad natives:

Judi and her mother on a streetcorner

This bike, chained to a lamppost at the end of the Manhattan Bridge (the Manhattan end of which originates at the edge of Chinatown), memorializes a bicyclist who was killed on the Bridge:


It seemed fitting.

An intersection (nothing more):


The tour ended at the Mahayana Buddhist Temple -- the largest in Chinatown, according to the guide. That was very interesting (and another chance to take a break from the cold). I hadn't been in there very long before my Reiki "turned on" full blast. There are a number of altars, each different. Here's one:


Next up, the High Line Park!

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