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3.6 out of 10


Ranked 41st best neighborhood in Manhattan
40.7150918899726 -73.9984269722849
Great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Eating Out
  • Public Transport
  • Internet Access
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Clean & Green
  • Pest Free
Who lives here?
  • Tourists


3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5

"Not pleasant but has its uses"

First of all, I would like to address something that other reviewers have been saying: the smell. Does Chinatown smell bad? Yes. Yes, it does. It smells like fish in the summer. But almost every inch of New York smells like rotting garbage in the summer, and I don’t think Chinatown is significantly worse.

That said, there are some extremely unpleasant things about Chinatown. The crowds are tremendous, and tremendously annoying. If I have to watch another woman from Wilwaukee stand on Canal Street dickering over the price of a fake Chanel bag, I might bite her. And Chinatown isn’t limited to Chinatown; it bleeds into surrounding neighborhoods, like Little Italy and Tribeca.

But off of Canal Street and off Elizabeth Street and off the other major thoroughfares, Chinatown can be a fantastic place to shop. There is produce there you won’t find anywhere else in the city. And most of it is significantly cheaper and of better quality than you’d find else where in the city. If you ever need galangal root, you now know the place to go. It’s also a great place for cheap home goods. One of my favorite things to get in Chinatown and my main reason for going at all, is for the ridiculously cheap fabric to be found. While the selection is not quite as extensive as the garment district, the amazingly cheap prices more than make up for it.
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5

"Some good gems worth seeing but massively crowded, smelly, and dirty"

I am not a big fan of Chinatown. It's too far south from just about everything and it seems to be rich only in bad smells, trash and people. Getting a cab out of this neighborhood is a nightmare and once you do find one you will be stuck in traffic for what seems like a year.
Should one find himself in the neighborhood, however, there are some things worth seeing / doing. Posteritati is a vintage movie poster store that is famous for the massive amount of movie art that they carry. The store (Centre at Broome) is really cool and carries just about anything that your heart desires in the movie art genre. The Golden Unicorn is the place to go for authentic Hong Kong Dim Sum. They have great teas and a seemingly limitless range of dumplings. Peking Duck House (Mott at Pell) has a Soho style space but old school Chinatown style on their Duck. It's delicious and authentic.
For things to do there are two must sees: Lin Sisters and Night court. Lin Sisters Acupuncture is an underground institution in NY. They can treat just about anything between the acu sessions and herbal remedies (I go and I am a big fan). The Chinatown Night Court has sort of become a tourist attraction. You can go after 6 pm and watch a very colorful cast of NY characters as they are arraigned for various bizarre crimes and state their plea.
  • affordable rents
  • Dirty
  • Smelly
  • crime rates
  • dead at night
Recommended for
  • Tourists

Unranked Streets in Chinatown

Allen St

"A slummy looking street"
40.7151375335918 -73.992336032207


"Used to be a slum: still looks like one"
40.7154152922259 -73.9965634715278

Canal St

40.7166738088808 -73.9973601355494

Catherine St

"A Nice Street"
40.7130742097015 -73.9971910722762
"The old Five Points only slightly better now"
40.7134262246357 -73.9980872316186

Chrystie St

"Short run before the bridge"
40.7160036303319 -73.9948282359023

Eldridge St

"Great restaurants on a not so great street"
40.7153746692006 -73.9933910164717

Elizabeth St

"Very Chinatown block"
40.7164980023619 -73.9970100138969
"The INS"
40.7148147135843 -74.0031636690072

Foley Sq

"Quaint little public spot"
40.7144551976746 -74.0024485582941

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