New York's Chinatown is the largest enclave of Chinese people in the Western hemisphere; it is also one of the oldest outside of Asia. Unlike many urban Chinatowns, New York's is both residential and commercial.
When visiting Chinatown, step away from the tourist path. Approach the area from Bowery and turn on Grand Street. You'll find green-grocers and fishmongers packed side-by-side serving the local Chinese community. Take time to wander through the often crowded streets filled with small shops selling produce, fish, meat, and knick-knacks. And bring your camera along to snap the colorful displays.
No shortage of signs in New York City. A fun thing I like to do in my hometown of Manhattan is to walk all day with my camera and not take a picture with a single person in it. This was a result of one of those days.
One of the best parts of being based in New York City is the accessibility of so many other cultures. I don't have to go to far to find international cuisine or international communities. I can travel outside my country with only a swipe of my Metrocard.
Manhattan's Chinatown is a favorite of mine, for a winter nighttime walk or for a meal in a crowded steamy restaurant. The sidewalks are lined with neon lights. The outdoor markets are lit up like beacons, showing off piles of vibrant greens and slippery seafood.
Marco Polo once said, "Go forth, travel, explore and get lost".
Making oneself get "lost" is something every savvy traveler should consider and experience while exploring new places. Leave behind your GPS, refrain from asking directions from strangers and rely mostly on innate and instinctual GPS.
Being "lost" meant stumbling into this unusual find while hunting and antiquing in New York's Chinatown. Initially, thought to be made of resin but on closer look, this antique find revealed that it is made from a massive bamboo root and the lion's head is carved from it.
Where else can you find a dizzying array of souvenir items of jade, lions, dragons, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, "I Love New York" t-shirts, $1 meal of dumplings and pork buns and everything about New York. Haggling with vendors (just like going to antiquing) is always the name of the game.
This famed Chinatown is located on Canal Street. Visitors can take the subway green line 4, 5 and 6 from Grand Central Station.
Get lost within the maddening crowd and you will never know what you will find.