After leaving the East Village, our path lead us through the neighborhoods of Little Italy and Chinatown. It was a rainy day, so not great for being out for a walk in the city or for having the cameras out. We still had a great time and made the most of it.
Although once known for its large population of Italian-Americans, Little Italy is now much smaller and consists of only a few Italian stores and restaurants. In the early 1900s, at its peak, there were nearly 10,000 Italians in the community. By the year 2000, only about 1,200 residents claiming Italian ancestry remained. The neighborhood has shrunk considerably, with many shops and restaurants closing in recent years. From experience, it sure didn't seem like we were in this neighborhood for long. As I look back now, there really aren't any photos in my library that really show this neighborhood very well.
Chinatown, just south of Little Italy, is a different story. There was no doubt when we entered this neighborhood, as the markets and people were a definite indicator. The streets were abuzz with the hustle and bustle of people coming and going in every direction. Many were likely tourists, but there were many shopkeepers and others who seemed to be residents. This neighborhood is the largest enclave of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, with an estimated population of 90,000 to 100,000. It is also one of the oldest. The Lower Manhattan Chinatown is just one of twelve Chinatown neighborhoods in the New York metropolitan area, containing the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia.
Chinatown is an interesting place, with many shops and markets selling a variety of goods, and many interesting people. Below are just a sampling of images showing the neighborhood.