NYC – Small things add to Chinatown’s charm


This is a short piece just to remind us that there are still plenty of obscure things to find while visiting or re-visiting a city.

Looking at the photo below you immediately know you are in Chinatown.

Streets are  filled with all kinds of imagery.



We have all heard that the sum of all the parts makes the whole thing. I guess that is why we can spend so much time looking at so many different items and objects.

Here is another photo that shows you how a regular street light can be outfitted to look more Chinese.



The lamp now has pagoda shades.

in 1965 several of them were outfitted with luminaries resembling traditional Chinese lanterns… the older ones can be seen on Mosco Street.


deskey_close up



Another feature of, Chinatown, shopping is that you can see the same item in (almost) every shop. Here is an example:


I selected the “waving” kitten and wonder just how many there are of them – maybe not just in Chinatown?

Do you own one?



Many Chinatown shop owners have Buddhist statues in less visible parts of their stores like this red-faced Guan-Gong, sword in hand, who is supposed to protect a shop from evil.

From Google
From Google

Beyond the stalls selling steamed pork buns and knockoff handbags, the observant visitor to Chinatown can watch a telling ritual unfold. Look, in the crowded corners of shops and high on the shelves, for the little wooden red shrines, each containing a different Buddhist statue. Not meant to be seen, their presence is felt. More info here.


My pic a little out of focus but shows where they hid it
My pic a little out of focus but shows where they placed-in the corner.

Taking the above seriously, it can interesting trying to find hidden Buddhas. Remember though to be discrete and above all, respectful.



This little gem may not be worth going out of your way to find. It is rundown and hardly visible but it is an important part of history.


The First Cemetery of Spanish and Portuguese synagogue is in southern Manhattan, above the first neighborhoods of New York City; it is the oldest Jewish cemetery in North America. The lot sits south of  Chatham Square in Chinatown and is lined with the graves of, among others, 22 veterans of the American Revolution. There are actually three of these in the city. 11th and 21st Street are the other two locations.


Chinatown Joss Paper

chinatown Hand Fans

Chinatown People

Author: thom bradley

I am an educator who has worked in Woodstock NY, Rhinebeck NY, Salisbury CT and who has lived in Rhinebeck, Wilmington NC and New York City. I have been interested in photography since the '60s. I enjoy walking as a hobby and have taken quite a few pictures during these strolls. I share some of these adventures on or In addition, I share photographs from my collection on or

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s