Little Big Chinatown of NYC

Manhattan’s Chinatown (Chinese: 紐約華埠; pinyin: Niŭyuē Huá Bù), home to one of the highest concentrations of Chinese people in the Western hemisphere, is located in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Manhattan’s Chinatown is one of the oldest ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of Asia.

In the years after the United States enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, allowing many more immigrants from Asia into the country, the population of Chinatown exploded. Geographically, much of the growth was to neighborhoods to the north. In the 1990s, Chinese people began to move into some parts of the western Lower East Side, which 50 years earlier was populated by Eastern European Jews and 20 years earlier was occupied by Hispanics.

Pell Street looking toward Confucius Plaza
Chinatown was adversely affected by the September 11, 2001 attacks. Being so physically close to Ground Zero, tourism and business has been very slow to return to the area. Part of the reason was the New York City Police Department closure of Park Row – one of two major roads linking the Financial Center with Chinatown.

By 2007 luxury condominiums began to spread from Soho into Chinatown. Previously Chinatown was noted for its crowded tenements and primarily Chinese residents. While some projects have targeted the Chinese community, the development of luxury housing has increased Chinatown’s economic and cultural diversity.

Currently, the rising prices of Manhattan real estate and high rents are also affecting Chinatown. Many new and poorer Chinese immigrants cannot afford their rents; as a result, growth has slowed, and a process of relocation to the Flushing Chinatown and Brooklyn Chinatown has started. Many apartments, particularly in the Lower East Side and Little Italy, which used to be affordable to new Chinese immigrants, are being renovated and then sold or rented at much higher prices. Building owners, many of them established Chinese-Americans, often find it in their best interest to terminate leases of lower-income residents with stabilized rents as property values rise.

By 2009 many newer Chinese immigrants settled along East Broadway instead of the historic core west of the Bowery. In addition Mandarin began to eclipse Cantonese as the predominant Chinese dialect in New York’s Chinatown during the period. The New York Times says that the Flushing Chinatown now rivals Manhattan’s Chinatown in terms of being a cultural center for Chinese-speaking New Yorkers’ politics and trade.

Ref: Wikipedia

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