One of my favorite places to visit was Chinatown and the ethnic neighborhoods of Manhattan. Located near the NY Municipal district, these neighborhoods, at the lower end of Manhattan celebrate the color, taste and culture of the American melting pot. Unlike the popular press of today that denies the differences and beauty of diverse cultures, this area displays them like the celebration of a Quinceanaera.
First stop, Chinatown. This was the busiest place I visited in NYC with the sidewalks filled to capacity, bounded by small shops of import good, tourist trinkets, tee shirts, drug paraphernalia, and food carts. I found a retro quilt patch sling bag decorated with a peace sign and the words NEW YORK stitched on the side for $25. I bargained for $10 and walked away with the bag.
We turned the corner to happen upon a block festival. I am not sure what they were celebrating, but it seemed to have a theme of promoting healthy living among the youth.
Turning the corner again we find ourselves approaching Little Italy. Less crowded, the streets were lined with family restaurants and carts of gelato.
In nearby Columbus Park we found Orientals enthralled in an unnamed game that seemed similar to checkers. No one would discuss it with us but the crowds watched and shouted advice as the two men made their carefully contemplated moves.
Throughout the park we enjoyed the busy chatter of old men on park benches, the music of street musicians and cheers from the soccer field.