Neighborhood Review: Chinatown

Given that Sarah just now got a job, and Vani is still teaching on summer hours, it was only natural that we seized the day and explore one of New York’s most elaborate neighborhoods, Chinatown. Hopefully, this is the first of many neighborhood reviews. Really, it’s more of a one day summary than a review, but for the sake of titling, we’ll stick with that.

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The day started a little later than we both would have liked, but that was due to the heavy amount of rain beating down on NYC. We came prepared, umbrellas and all.

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We step off at the Canal Street station and make our way among the crowd, tromping through the smell of fish guts, and street full of sewer water. Oh New York, how romantic you can be sometimes. As Chinatown does get a bad wrap for being dirty, it’s no dirtier than most of NYC. After spending much of the day there, I found it to be one of my favorite places in Manhattan.

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Although the temptation to scour knock-off purses buried deep inside vans parked on the street corners is always prevalent, we ditched the urge and both acknowledged our recent and ever-growing disappointment in the knock-off luxury brand department.

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Nearly a mile later, we got to lunch for some dim sum.  Thanks to hearing a shout -out on The Mindy Project, we settled on getting lunch at The Golden Unicorn. Apparently the Golden Unicorn is a famous place, so much so the wait on the weekends can get up to 3 hours long.

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Golden Unicorn is located in a shopping center, on the 3rd and 4th floor. There isn’t really a door. It’s sort of confusing. You walk in and feel like you have walked into the middle if a wedding reception. When you look at the picture below, the woman walking out of the elevator with her hand on her head clearly was as confused as we were when we walk onto the floor.

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Below, a store selling ingredients in the shopping center where Golden Unicorn is located.

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We left the area and stumbled upon Homer Simpson. There was a Chinese man sitting under his arm smoking a cigarette when we originally passed Homer, but he moved when I took the picture. Hater.

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Seen below is one of the best ice-cream shops in Manhattan. It lived up to reputation. I’ll be going back to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory very soon.

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Lunch and dessert, done. What else would we do? Drinks.  After Yelp-ing, and Google-ing the “must-dos” of Chinatown, we went to Winnie’s Bar and Restaurant.  Considering it was barely 3 in the afternoon, we were 2 of just 5 people there.  It was pretty dive-y, and the wall behind the bar was covered with pictures of Winnie with various important looking people, the only one of which we recognized was Bill Clinton.  Who exactly is Winnie? No idea.

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After ice cream we stumbled into a bar called Whiskey Tavern. It was a small, savvy place. Located not too far away from the Financial District, it started to fill up fast around five. We grabbed a drink and the bar tender gave us each a balloon. Why? Not sure? Why not?

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After the bar, we hit Eataly, which… is not in Chinatown. Sorry. We have no shame here. We also don’t have picture of the food… because we were too busy eating it. #doublefail. We do have a pic of the vino! And above all else, the place was amazing. For only a thirty minute wait, we were thrilled.

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So, this isn’t as extensive as a review as we hoped, mainly because we were more consumed with consuming than we were with note taking. But, all-in-all the experience was fantastic. I don’t even know where to start with Chinatown, you can’t cover it in a day. You just can’t. A place as established and unique deserves much more coverage and investigating. So, the jury is still out on this one. We’ll keep you posted.