China Town & Little Italy

Manhattan's China town started around the 1840's, and has remained in its present location since, the only change being expansion of the boundaries around the 1970's. It is bordered by Little Italy, which once was the place where all Italian immigrants lived. Today, the area has shrunken due to China town expansion, in addition, it is mainly Italian restaurants which are frequented by mostly non- New Yorkers on weekends.  China town is still "authentic" in that the majority of the population is Chinese, many of whom are immigrants, or a recent ancestor was. There are many restaurants and markets specializing in Chinese food and ingredients (I have seen people buying live toads out of a large bin!) as well as many shops selling Chinese imports. 

The Five Points 
The Five Points was an infamous section of the neighborhood, located in the present day, where Park Street intersects with Baxter Street and Worth Street. In the 1850's it had become the middle of the African American community and the Irish and Italian immigrants. This was the most dangerous part of Manhattan and was brought with murder and other crime. In the 20th century, Centre Street became the political center of the city, and so the area became less dangerous. 

Church of the Transfiguration
Built in 1801, this church served the Five Points Neighborhood throughout its most infamous period and beyond. Thousands of Italian and Irish immigrants have used this Catholic church, for everything from baptisms to weddings to funerals, while today, the congregation is mainly Chinese and mass is said in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English.  On the right: the church behind a Chinese New Year celebration, probably in the 1940's. 

Columbus Park
This are used to be called Mulberry Bend and it had many back alleys, such as Bandit's Roost and Ragpicker's Row, and was the most notorious part of the Five Points. In 1897, a Danish photojournalist named Jacob Riis wrote a book called How the Other Half Lives, which brought attention to the filthy and dangerous area. After the book's release, Mulberry Bend was demolished and replaced with a park, and in 1911 was named Columbus Park. On the left: a photo of Columbus Park when it first opened. 

Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade
This huge stone arch at the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge was built from 1910-1915 and has survived man attempts at its removal. However, in recent years, the Department of Transportation has restored it and it is considered a national landmark.