Chinatown & Little Italy
(Bordered by broome, lafayette, and allen street)
Known for Affordable dining & Shopping, UNique FInds, HIstory
New York's Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in the United States and the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere is located in the lower east side of Manhattan. The area takes on the aspects of Shanghai or Beijing with Chinese characters on street signs and its densely crowded streets. It’s a fun, truly transporting area to visit . Little Italy, over the past few decades, is ceasing to exist as Chinatown expands and engulfs its surrounding areas. Little Italy is really a shadow of its former self, with a handful of worthwhile places to shop for Italian food, eat gelato and get Italian coffee, but there are very few real Italian-Americans in the area anymore. In these areas you'll find great, cheap eats (and shopping), unique shops, and historic museums.
Places to Eat
Enjoy a new take on traditional Asian cuisine at Mission Chinese. Its comfy atmosphere, colorful lighting and friendly service makes it an inviting place to dine out with family or friends. Mission Chinese offers Mapo tofu and shellfish in a black bean sauce and other items that will tantalize the taste buds.
WHAT I LOVED: Squid ink noodles, beef jerky fried rice and a green papaya salad with banana blossom salad.
Nom Wah first opened in 1920, as a bakery and tea parlor, but for the most part it's known for it's fresh pastries, steamed buns, dim sum, and tea. Items on the menu are marked when gluten-free. It's an old business, serving dim sum for almost 100 years, a true icon in Chinatown that residents and tourists alike should have on their bucket list.
WHAT I LOVED: Scallion pancakes, shrimp dumplings, soup dumplings, and for dessert almond cookies.
Known as the "First Pizza", Lombardi's Pizza first opened in 1905 in New York City. It's a big tourist attraction and the standard plain pizza, made with fresh mozzarella, is the pizza taste that takes you to Naples, Italy.
THINGs TO DO
Located in a freight elevator shaft, this museum is the smallest on the island. In fact, it is micro-sized, miniscule, tiny, infinitesimal, and if you are anywhere near 6 ft. tall, you will need to duck to get inside. The style of pieces follows it's signature "Object Journalism" otherwise known as found artifacts.
* pay as you wish
Aura camera, say cheese. Magic Jewelry specializes in feng shui, crystals and horoscope readings. But most people go to this tiny shop to have their auras captured. For $20 you get an image under bright color. The colors represent the aura. Employees are trained to decipher the images. Whether you believe it or not, it's a fun experience you won't find anywhere else.
Italian American Museum
Italian American Museum is a vibrant community organization located in the historic "Banca Stabile" building in Little Italy. The museum's permanent exhibition depicts the immigration experience of Italians to New York. The museum also displays performance art, fine art, literature, history and cultural programs.
Mahayana Temple Buddhist
The towering, vibrantly colored Buddhist Temple, resides near the Manhattan Bridge and is the city's largest Buddhist temple. The interior of the holy institution, is guarded by golden lions and displays a 16-ft tall Buddha statue. A bit loud inside, normally you'd expect quiet serenity. But spaces are available to offer prayers and sentiments.
Museum of Chinese in America
The museum archives narratives of diverse Chinese-American communities. The permanent exhibition space is entirely dedicated to sharing the hardships that Chinese-Americans faced during the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 as well as the growth and success of the Chinese population. The range of exhibitions at the museum vary year-round.
This cute little tea shop is unlike the bubble tea shops around the area since it originated in San Francisco. Boba Guys are more artistinal and offer a variety of interesting drinks that you wouldn't find elsewhere.
23 Clinton Street or 265 Canal St
The Ship is a tucked-away gem of a bar with charm and vibrant atmosphere to spare, a unique balance of upscale quality and playful fun. Later in the evening or on a weekend night for the space is perfect for drinks and music with some of the best DJs in town.
158 Lafayette St, 212.219.8496
The Good Sort is a unique spot, given it's location, but it's worth the pilgrimage downtown. With a vegan menu of alternative milk lattes, fresh juices, congee, and coffee (entirely categorized by color). Everything on the menu is perfect for Instagram–but even if that’s not your jam, it’s hard not to love the health aspect to it.
5 Doyers St., thegoodsortnyc.com