If you have visited New York City, you will hear people talking with each other with different languages on the street. If you pay attention to the street, you will notice that there are different signs on the stores. to the scenes in New York City. Those signs represent part of the local culture and they together forming the New York City. There is only special place that people or visitors can definitely do not want to miss is the Chinatown located in Lower side of Manhattan, where including not only signs that show the Chinese Culture, but also incorporating the American, Italian, Spanish and other countries’ culture. When talking about Chinatown, there are more than 50 Chinatowns in the United States and 3 alone in the New York City. Among these three, the one located in Lower Side of Manhattan also has the relatively long history among all the Chinatowns. Therefore, I would like to introduce this place from the infinite benefits and meanings it brings to the whole society.
Fig. Traditional Chinese food presented in bilingual form
First of all, the Chinatown brings more opportunity to immigrants, especially new immigrants. Chinatown in Manhattan was established in the late 18 centuries due to the hate sentiment against Chinese people resulted from concern over job opportunities. Therefore, they were inhabited around the lower side of Manhattan and forming certain area that provide protection. Nowadays, Chinatown is still served as this purpose to people. As you can see from the images that I take from the streets. The signs on the streets or the menu are all bilingual. For those people who are not yet adapt to the new life and not fluent in speaking English, this is exclusively important for them to make a transition. They can read the original Chinese from the board to find something such as which store they are looking for, or just talk to some Chinese employee to order what they want. From this aspect, we can see that is not only beneficial for individual, but also beneficial for the society in the long term. Immigrants are a big part of the society, and their workforce cannot be ignored. If they can properly be helped, that would make their social status better and created a more harmonious relationship between people to people.
Fig. Menu in both Chinese and English
Secondly, Chinatown not only brings benefits to immigrants, it also brings the unique Chinese culture to the local people and eliminate the stereotypes. For many people that never have been to China yet, they might have lots of misunderstandings against Chinese culture. For example, the Chinese food, in their opinion, might be those junk food with only sweet and sour flavor and you can buy them at a very low price at just a random store along the street. However, the Chinatown eliminate this stereotype by providing a relatively clean place for just everybody with fast while affordable. Their excellent service can really amaze people once people have tasted them. One spectacular place that you should not miss is The Museum of China in America (MOCA) located in this area, which presented not only the history of immigrants but also the hardships they have been through. The museum provides a comprehensive view of history from the Chinese Exclusion Act to Nowadays. The visitors can immerse themselves into this museum by creative photography, vivid images, and interactive scenarios.
Besides the significance mentioned above, Chinatown is also a place where against the discrimination. Precipitated by the coronavirus, Asian Hate crimes were rising drastically since March 2020. Very often can people see hurtful news on the social media. According to a report, On March 16, 2021, six of the Asian women were killed after a series of mass shooting. That malicious accident triggered a series of anti-Asian-Hate Movement among the society. One protest after another are emerging in Chinatown, Manhattan. As we can see from the image taken from the Columbus Park in Chinatown, the protesters comprises not only Asians but also other races.
The economy of Chinatown is recessing during their fight against Covid. It was empty like a ghost town several months ago and now still suffering from the chain effect of coronavirus. Since March 2020, over 90% of the restaurants in Chinatown are closing while they still required to pay as high as over ten thousandrent one month. With no customers, lack of employees and thus no revenues, many of them currently are permanently closed and others are struggling to survive amid this pandemic. However, there are still some bright side. The celebration of Chinese New Year was not cancelled. Organizers did a good job on delicate decorations and hope that would add more liveliness and motivate people to combat the virus altogether. As shown on the graph, the lanternsand other decorations are all in red, which in Chinese culture means fortune and lucky.
Fig. Protest on Manhattan Chinatown
Fig. Celebration toward Chinese New Year
Ten Chinatowns In the US
Atlanta Mass Shooting: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/03/17/us/shooting-atlanta-acworth
Celebration of Chinese Year http://betterchinatown.com/