Chinatown, with its jostling sidewalks narrowed by bins heaping with live crabs, dried shrimp, arrow root and porcelain dishes, is still as tantalizing as ever. Merchants, restaurateurs and residents from hundreds of miles away stream in on low-price Chinese-owned buses to get their menus printed, kitchens stocked or prescriptions filled by people who speak Mandarin, Cantonese or Fujianese.
The weekly influx explains the location of four eyeglass shops in little more than a block of Mott Street and is seen by some as an encouraging economic trend.
Still, Chinatown’s economy is ailing.
While most of New York City has bounced back — economically and physically — since Sept. 11, 2001, Chinatown has struggled to reverse their slump, writes the New York Times. The months-long frozen zone that came after the attacks hurt businesses and restaurants worse than in other places. It’s forced many local advocates to push for a Business Improvement District, hoping an organizational approach to clean streets and uniform signs will attract the tourists who flocked there years before.
Ever since the 1860s, with the beginning of the Chinese diaspora, Chinese immigrants seeking their fortune have created enclaves in cities around the world. These Chinatowns now range from rough settlements to high-tech urban centers. But back in the day, for the people of the cities they became a party of, they were little pockets of an exotic, alien culture amidst the humdrum streets of everyday life…
see more — Chinatowns of the World