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Ten Amazing Chinatown and Little Italy Fun Facts

on July 29, 2016

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Chinatown and Little Italy are two neighborhoods rich in history with fascinating stories. We are always uncovering interesting new tidbits about them and here are ten amazing Chinatown and Little Italy fun facts!

New York City has the largest Chinese population of a city, excluding those in Asia.

Because of the many shootings among the Tong Gangs of Chinatown, the Bloody Angle now known as Doyers Street was once where more people died violently than any other street intersection in the United States. The shootings lasted until the 1930’s.

Doyers Street is now a popular hotspot for foodies with restaurants like Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Pulqueria and Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles. We highly recommend all of them!

Half of Chinatown today was also once part of the infamous slum, the Five Points. The Five Points was located between the Bowery, Centre Street, Park Row and Canal Street.

Speaking of which, Canal Street in the heart of Chinatown was in fact once an inefficient canal. The canal was basically an open sewer and a big problem so it was filled in 1819 and it later became a street in 1820.

50-52 Bowery which will be a new Joie de Vivre hotel was once the Black Horse Inn and Bull’s Head Tavern. This was where George Washington marched into New York City and celebrated the defeat of the British in 1783.

Chinatown Fair (8 Mott St) is one of the last remaining classic arcades in the world. You can still play classics like air hockey and Street Fighter.

Lombardi’s Pizza (32 Spring St), which opened in 1905 is recognized by the Pizza Hall of Fame as the first pizzeria in the United States.

From the 1920’s to 1950’s, 106 Mulberry St was home to the Matteo family puppet shows. This traditional Sicilian form of entertainment was a huge hit and some of these puppets are now displayed at the Italian American Museum (155 Mulberry St).

The classic spaghetti and meatballs that we know today was created not in Italy but by Southern Italian immigrants in Little Italy. It is has since become a signature Italian American dish.


For more interesting stories and fun facts, check out our Chinatown and Little Italy page and our New York City fun facts blog post. If you have any interesting fun facts, please share it with us in the comment section below!

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