The roots of Chinatown are said to go back as far as 1858, with the arrival of Cantonese businessman, Ah Ken. Ah Ken made his fortune selling cigars and is thought to have set up the first boarding houses for Chinese immigrants.
Vibrant and bustling, in New York City’s Chinatown, you’ll find the biggest population of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. Although Chinatown was established mostly by Cantonese speakers, due to an influx of Fuzhounese speaking Chinese immigrants and Mandarin being the official language of China and Taiwan, Mandarin has become vital to the dynamic tableau that is Chinatown.
Centered around Chatham Square and Columbia Park, Chinatown is transportive yet quintessential New York. Traveling the cozy corridors of Chinatown, bask in the varied languages and cultural diaspora, uniquely American and yet universal. Witness the roots of a place where a community was allowed to grow within a community, a world within a world. See it in the statues, architecture, and signage throughout Chinatown. Smell it seeping out from the multitude of dim sum restaurants, noodle houses, and speakeasies that reside here. Pick up a bao and wander the markets for deals and explore the sometimes brutal historic sites.
Chinatown is developing. Much of the lower-income housing once available in the area are being refurbished and sold. As a result, the community and its demographic makeup are diversifying.