Knockoff handbags, overcrowded streets, tourists. This is the impression many people get from a visit to Manhattan’s Chinatown. However, just like in other parts of the city, a bit of exploration can reveal parts of the neighborhood you may not have discovered otherwise.
Located literally underneath the busy Manhattan Bridge, a Chinatown mall thrives. Within the cavernous mall are clothing stores, flower shops, hair salons, dim sum and even an old jewelry repair shop.
Tiny markets also line the inside of the mall and the surrounding outside areas, selling candy and other specialty Asian treats. A larger supermarket is just behind the mall, selling produce along the stone columns of the bridge.
The East Broadway market is one of the main meeting places for the large community, so the stands are continuously packed throughout the day.
This, coupled with the thunderous rumbling of the subway trains overhead creates one of the most hectic scenes in the city. The shoppers don’t seem to mind too much, shouting out what they need over the sound of the tracks.
Being a bit of a ways from Canal Street, this portion of Chinatown is also particularly void of tourists. On this day I encountered only one unfolded city map.
Even if you’re a native, discovering places like this can make you feel as if you’ve taken a trip inside your own city.