This centuries old neighborhood is easily distinguished by its multi-layered signage in various Chinese dialects, street vendors, and oriental motifs on doors, lights, and architectural features.
Founded in 1980, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture, and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States. The museum promotes dialogue and understanding among people of all cultural backgrounds, brings 160 years of Chinese American history to vivid life through its innovative exhibitions, educational and cultural programs. Current exhibitions include “With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America,” MOCA’s new core exhibit featuring four Chinese-American artists’ works, and “Fold: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures,” another exhibit engaging visitors in a conversation about immigration issues.
The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) is the oldest community organization in the United States. Grow out of its parent organization, the Chinese Community Center which was founded in 1883, CCBA has represented and served the needs of Chinese Americans in America even since. Based on its official website, the CCBA has performed a quasi-governmental role in the Chinese community, and through its history, business ownership has been a goal of many residents of Chinatown, and has been supported both financially, and through training by the CCBA. In New York City, the CCBA is an umbrella organization of 60 member organizations representing a cross-section of New York’s Chinese community.
Jing Fong restaurant has occupied this address since the 1970s, making a name for itself as one of the best dim sum restaurants in New York. But long before the restaurant opened, this lot was home to the Bowery Theatre, one of the most important institutions in early New York City. The Bowery opened in its first incarnation in 1826 and closed permanently on June 5, 1929. In the rough-and-tumble Bowery neighborhood, the introduction of the New York Theatre (as the establishment was originally known) was an effort by local elites to transform the area. Renamed three times and rebuilt after four of the five times it was consumed by fire (in 1828, 1836, 1838, 1845, 1913, and finally 1929), the Bowery Theatre brought in a wide variety of shows and audiences, including German, Jewish, Italian, and Chinese audiences in its 103-year run.
Nationalist Party, also called Kuomintang (KMT; “National People’s Party”), is the political party that governed mainland China from 1928 to 1949 and subsequently ruled Taiwan for most of the time since then. The KMT was founded by Sun Yat-sen in 1912 out of the revolutionary group, T’ung Meng Hui (Revolutionary Alliance), which was formed in 1905 in Tokyo among Chinese expatriates opposing the Imperial Ching Dynasty government. Chiang Kai-Shek, Chinese military and political leader, joined the KMT in 1918. Succeeding party founder Sun Yat-sen as KMT leader in 1925, Chiang Kai-shek expelled Chinese communists from the party and led a unification of China. As China’s legitimate government, KMT received financial and military aids from the United States to fight against the Imperial Japan during WWII. The U.S. officials’ support of KMT during the cold‐war era gave the party virtually unrestricted freedom to exercise control over Chinese‐American communities in the United States.
Located at the intersection of Oliver Street, East Broadway, the Bowery, and Park Row, the Lt. B.R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial and the Statue of Lin Zexu stand at the center of Chatham Square. In order to provide an everlasting memorial for those Chinese-Americans who had answered the call of our nation and provided the supreme sacrifice, the Lt. Kimlau Post petitioned the City of New York in 1958 for a site at Chatham Square to build a memorial. In 1997, the statue of Lin zexu, a Qing Dynasty official who helped to ignite the Opium War by banning the drug, was also placed at this Square.
Eight streets converge at Chatham Square, which is named for the Earl of Chatham, William Pitt. The square has a long, rich, and (in some eras) notorious history, having served as an open-air market and a central point of the historic Bowery and Five Points neighborhoods. It is now part of Manhattan's Chinatown.
The Americans of Chinese Ancestry Memorial, or Lieutenant B. R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial, stands in a small park called Kimlau Square, within New York City's Chatham Square in Chinatown. Architect Poy G. Lee (1900-1968) designed the memorial, which was erected in 1962 by the Lt. B. R. Kimlau Memorial Post 1291.
The Confucius Plaza is a gigantic federally subsidized housing project. It was completed on the corner of Bowery and Division streets in 1976. This brown brick tower complex in Chinatown was the first major public-funded housing project built for Chinese use. The 44- story arc contains 762 apartments, the Yung Wing Public School, shops, community space and a day-care center. In front of the apartment complex sits a statue of the famous philosopher. A gift from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in 1976, the statue features Confucius' sayings in both Chinese and English.
The Chinese Theater, also known as the Chinese Opera House, was opened on Doyers Street in Chinatown in 1893. Throughout its history, it served the Chinese-American community by providing a cultural center to congregate. However, the Theater was also part of a much more violent past as it was the site of a famous massacre involving two rival Chinese gangs. In the early 1910s, the Theater was closed, and today, it has been converted into a restaurant.