If there’s one place that always makes me a little worried about the future of Chinatown, it’s Kenmare Street between Mott and Elizabeth.
Here at the very northern edge of what you’d consider Chinatown, you can see the neighborhood’s past — and its potential future. On a low-key street mostly known for traffic coming from the Williamsburg Bridge, new luxury apartments bump-up against working-class walk-ups.
What’s next? I don’t know if anyone really knows. Gentrification may be an unstoppable force, but that doesn’t mean its impacts on neighborhoods are identical. I’m watching eagerly to see how Chinatown handles it.
Because I have a thing for spicy hotpot, restaurants with big lighted signs, and Sunset Park Chinatown, Mister Hotpot on Eighth Avenue shot to the top of my list when searching for Chinese food on Sunday night.
It was well worth the trip. The food was very tasty, service was good, and they were open late.
I wanted to compliment Hotpot Xiānshēng personally, but I think he’d already left for the day.
My recommendation, in all seriousness, is to put a dog on it. Just like how putting a bird on something can make it art in Portland, putting a Hachikō at a transit entrance can elevate an otherwise utilitarian space into something much more inviting. Maybe even inspirational.
A cat would be okay, too.
From “Chinese Moving to East Harlem in a Quiet Shift From Downtown” in today’s New York Times:
It also thrust into violent relief an otherwise hidden demographic change in East Harlem: The population of Asian residents, mostly Chinese, has quietly ballooned in the last decade, doubling in the southern part of the neighborhood and tripling in the north, according to census figures.
I moved to Central Harlem from Brooklyn four-and-a-half years ago. I love my current digs, but I missed the convenient access to Chinatown that I had when living on the Q train, which passed through the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown.
I used to eat and shop in Chinatown at least once a week; now it’s more like once a month. I miss the cheap and tasty restaurants, the cheap and fresh groceries, the easy availability of the “ying yang” tea/coffee drink I’m addicted to.
Given how Chinatowns have sprouted up around NYC, I’ve been hoping that new one would grow in Harlem or the South Bronx. If this article is accurate, it looks like it might finally be happening.
I found myself surrounded by shouting Taiwanese from New Jersey and was instantly transported back to my childhood.
(Mulberry St & Mott St, Manhattan)
The sun was setting spectacularly over Manhattan in the distance. But it couldn’t compete with the dancers in Sunset Park last night.
(Sunset Park, Brooklyn)
I’m not sure exactly what these kids were competing in, but they were intensely focused at it.
(Flushing Mall, Queens)
It was 25F outside, but that didn’t stop this cat from having a grand old time on the hood of this parked car. He would lick the hood, then tumble around.I don’t know what he was tasting, but it must have been delicious. I’m just glad his tounge didn’t stick to the metal.
(Bayard St, Manhattan)
The first rule of Chinatown Cake Club is you do not talk about Chinatown Cake Club.
I forget exactly what the other rules are, but fortunately there’s none about photography.
(Deluxe Food Market, 122 Elizabeth St, Manhattan)
(East Manor, Kissena Blvd, Flushing)
I love dogs too, but they will just never be as cool as cats.
(Grand St, Manhattan)
My only question: do the front feet taste differently from the rear ones?
(Gold City Supermarket, Flushing, NY)
Apparently, my favorite Chinese hot sauce was banned from US shelves for several months because the jar cap didn’t meet our strict standards for, uh, jar caps. But now, spicy food lovers can rejoice in the news that the heat is back.
(Gold City Supermarket, Flushing)