Chinatown is one of Manhattan’s oldest neighborhoods, having been established as early as the 1870’s when the first Chinese immigrants landed in New York to seek a better life for themselves and their families. Over the years, Chinatown has become one of the city’s most frequented locations, offering visitors a chance to explore the history and heritage of this great and mystical Asian country.
Starting on the popular Canal Street, Chinatown occupies a small area in lower Manhattan and provides visitors with the smells, sights and sounds of a neighborhood known for its rich cultural personality. Chinatown is a shopper’s delight and visitors are sure to find some great bargains, from the standard watches and purses, to the more authentic Chinese tea services and chopsticks.
Over 300 restaurants call Chinatown their home and many people visit this area of town for the wonderfully authentic cuisine set in a true Chinese atmosphere. All the traditional favorites can be found in Chinatown, from fast food to five star culinary establishments.
February is a great month to visit Chinatown because this is the time of year when the Chinese New Year is ushered in amongst great pomp and celebration. Visitors will delight in a large number of activities that are celebrated to symbolize the beginning of the Year of the Rat. Although the Lunar Year 4705-06 officially begins on February 7th, 2008, celebrations kick off with the annual Flower Market at Columbus Park on the 2nd and 3rd, in a heated tent in the heart of Chinatown. Here visitors get to enjoy and purchase a wide range of plants and home decorations to honor the New Year.
The Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade – Lion and Dragon Performance is being held on Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 1 pm beginning at Mott and Hester Streets.
Other regular celebrations include the Lunar Parade and Festival, which winds through Chinatown in later February and features elaborate floats, musicians, artists and dancers. Throughout the month of February, Chinatown is a hive of activity and visitors should watch the local media for final dates and times, as well as weather conditions.
For a list of hotels in Chinatown, head to NewYorkJourney.com.