Walks in New York and elsewhere

My comments on buildings, shops, restaurants that catch my eye as I wander around New York City and other places.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Allen to Eldridge

Among the old-time stores in this part of Grand Street are a number of fabric and linen shops, like this one. The goods are often quite respectable, at good prices, although the style may be from the previous season or earlier.

Allen Street, you will notice, looks a bit strange. That's because we are looking at the rear of houses, not the fronts, on the eastern side of the street. Allen Street was widened in the early 1930s by the simple expedient of demolishing the houses on the eastern side.

The western side is more normal looking.

If you look uptown when crossing Allen, you can seen the silhouette of the Chrysler Building.

The street takes on a decidedly different character now. We are most definitely in Manhattan's Chinatown -- the Chinatown of the current generation, which has spread in all directions from its original few blocks near Chatham Square. The end of restrictive immigration policies in the mid-1960s led to a population explosion that greatly stretched the boundaries. The tenements that line these streets are among the oldest left in the city, although there are newer buildings squeezxed in here and there.

This being downtown, there are even some buildings left that are older than the tenements, like these little Federal houses on the north side of the street between Allen and Eldridge.

It may not be possible to get an accurate count of the number of restaurants in Chinatown, so quickly do they open, close or change hands.


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