Chinatown had undergone drastic changes this year. Join me as we capture the feel if the streets and hear what the locals have to say.
What Happened To NYC Chinatown?!
♪ man playing flute ♪
Good morning guys
here in Chinatown, New York City.
In this video we’re going to walk around
here, I’m going to show you what it’s like
The lights have turned back on.
Things are starting to come back to life
and talk to some business owners.
Talk to some people that live here.
See what things have been like, how it is
at the moment
and then also get into some food.
All right guys, before I get going there is
one thing I want to get off my chest
out into this video.
I failed to explain it correctly I feel.
So here it is in a short form.
People are not politics.
So what does that mean?
What am I trying to say?
I’ve been to 85 countries, lived in 4
and even in the heart of the Middle East
that could be Saudi Arabia, or Syria, or Egypt
many times people would say to me,
you know, “We hate the American government…”
and rightfully so for many of them.
Their lives have been changed because of
American foreign policy.
“But we don’t hate the American people.”
That theme has coursed through
my travels around the world.
Now this isn’t bashing the US government
but I’ve always looked at myself as a
person that is not my government.
There’s some policies that I agree with,
some policies I don’t.
Now with China, especially this last year
with the pandemic
with the let’s say the rise of the CCP
it’s very easy to put people and politics
into one group and label.
I mean think of Iran.
If you’re in the US or the West
I don’t know if it’s most people, I’d say a
lot of people would say,
“Iran is like this”, right?
Which is very unfair because while some
people do like their government
I’d say the majority don’t.
So I’d like to drive home in my content
that people are not their politics.
Now the CCP or any authoritative government
likes to connect the two
likes to bridge the two.
So if I’m say criticizing the CCP that
could mean I’m criticizing Chinese culture
or Chinese people.
That’s not the case at all.
I have nothing against Chinese culture or
They’ve added so much to the world.
I respect every culture and all people.
So I want to make that clear when I say
something negative about the CCP
it’s because look, it’s basically
fought not to be.
You know? Personal freedom, freedom of
Who wants their Google, and YouTube, and
internet to be censored?
You know, those aren’t the values that
align with me
therefore when a government is pushing
I’m going to be against that.
It has nothing to do with the people.
All right, I could talk about this for hours.
Let’s get into this Chinatown.
So this Chinatown is the biggest in the
That’s what I read on Wikipedia today.
I don’t know, I thought San Francisco
was the biggest but it’s stating this one is
80 to 90 thousand Chinese living here.
There’s also a lot of Cantonese spoken.
People from Hong Kong, some Taiwanese
people, you can see some of these flags
are Taiwanese but I was told this is the
heart of it.
Confucius Plaza, what is it,
like Chinese people living there?
Oh, condominiums, okay.
-A cream puff?
-You’re seeing it every day?
How are you doing?
Are you selling… Is there any restaurants
Is this for sale or?
-No, no, no, no.
This is for resident only.
-For the people living here?
-Okay, that’s cool.
-So you provide food for the people living here?
-That’s very cool
-How are things now in the community?
-What are your thoughts?
-Yeah okay, Michael.
-He ask how is the…
-How is the community right now?
What’s going on in Chinatown?
What are your thoughts?
– And this is…
– You know they…
Well, I wish you success and hopefully
things get better soon.
– Thank you very much.
– Hopefully tourists come back.
– Thank you.
– Thank you. Bye-bye.
I’m not going to show you. I got a great
She can’t talk on camera but thank you.
-Scary for them?
– And I didn’t have any.
– Dog spray?
-But daytime not so bad?
All right, stay safe.
So you heard it from her.
I hate to go negative on this story guys
but this is the pulse I’m feeling.
None of these people in uniform
can talk on camera.
I don’t know if it’s a policy through the police
or that was a postal lady.
Like there’s a policy that says they cannot
talk, but these are the people
you know, postal worker, great person to
ask how things are
because they’re on the streets every day.
They know it better than anyone really.
So you heard what she said.
♪ Singing in Chinese ♪
What is this?
-Are you Chinese?
– Are you Cantonese or Chinese?
– 5000 years of history.
– Yeah, history.
Something I love about Chinatown is they
put a big focus
on their vegetables, their fruits, their
medicine, their fresh fish.
I lived in a neighborhood in San Francisco,
Which is the second Chinatown.
I did it by design.
I wanted to live there.
The reason was all this street life, you
I love this stuff. This is to me what’s
important about living in a city.
Walking out of your apartment, meeting your
getting all the exotic fruits.
Look at this durian or dragon fruit.
All right, here we are.
I think we’re getting off
the path a little bit into Little Italy.
So that’s how it works here.
That’s how it works in a lot of big
American cities is
That’s Chinese over there
now it’s turning little Italian over here.
We have some fresh fish.
[man speaking Chinese]
[woman speaking Chinese]
Here we have a park.
Some of the older ladies playing some cards.
I don’t know what this dude’s doing.
What’s he doing?
The police come?
[man and woman yelling]
All right guys…
This is what I’m running into.
If you’re looking for a positive video, well…
I apologize but hey, I showed it how I see it.
I only have two and a half hours here.
So you’re pretty much seeing what I’m
when that record button is on that’s where I’m at.
Let’s lighten this up a little bit.
Let’s go get some dim sum.
– Jenny Low?
– Yeah, yeah.
– You like Jenny?
– All right.
– Yeah, [speaking Chinese]
What are we doing?
All right, Jenny.
I don’t know anything about Jenny so this
isn’t an endorsement at all.
I don’t know.
[woman speaking Chinese]
Do you know where the good dim sum is?
– Ah, here, here.
Here, here, here.
What’s your name?
– Shu. Shu is showing us where the food is.
– Oh, down here?
Shu is very sweet. She’s gone out of her
way to walk me here.
To find the restaurant.
This is a cool little street.
Gotta love it when all these Chinese signs
are hanging over the road.
Love these old apartments.
[men speaking Chinese]
That’s cool, guys.
What is this?
-Landscape of mountains.
– Cool, take care.
– You too.
This is a cool little street.
United States Post Office, Chinatown Station.
This place looks interesting.
There’s a lot of anti-CCP things set up here.
Frank Gehry designed that.
I forget the name of that building.
We have a nice little authentic street.
So what’s the story?
What’s going on here in Chinatown?
-What do you mean?
During the pandemic they killed Chinatown.
What do you mean?
-So how did you guys survive?
How did you guys get through?
-They cut the budget.
-So you need the tourists.
That’s what you guys need here right,
-So tourists come back to Chinatown.
-You left in ’97?
Okay, I’ll do the shrimp.
All right, shrimp dim sum, a little soy sauce…
Excellent, excellent dim sum.
This is the story in New York and so many
We have these outdoor restaurants set up
now in the streets.
This was 5$.
Pretty amazing for New York.
All right guys, some closing thoughts here
My very short time here in Chinatown, I
think I’ve been here
two and a half, three hours…
I’ve gotta say Chinatowns…
They always have that energy despite the
times, it’s still probably
the busiest part of the city.
In New York, most American cities.
I can say that for San Francisco.
You can feel things are coming back a bit.
I think the weather has something
to do with it.
More people on the streets.
The pandemic is obviously on the downturn.
So there’s more activity than when I was
here in November.
So that’s a good sign.
That feels really nice to be around
but from some of the business
owners I talked to
it’s not what it was.
So they need tourists.
They need activity here.
The safety situation, that can be
said for not just here.
That can be said for all of
New York right now.
Basically all American cities
I’ve been in the last year
It can be felt. There is just…
People are a little more tense.
It’s partially because of the pandemic,
partially because of
the safety situation.
It can be felt, you know?
What just happened in the park…
I’m not saying that never happened before.
Of course that stuff did but
I just think it’s more commonplace now
and there’s less enforcement.
I think for lower level stuff like that.
Two guys going at it in a park.
I don’t think anyone is going to show up
and do anything.
So many cool things to see here.
A lot of great sounds.
I know there is some edge in this video.
I’m not going to… You know, I…
I show what I run into
and so that’s what I ran into
but I don’t want that scene in the
park to scare you.
Overall, I felt fine walking around.
Like it’s civilized on these streets for
the most part.
People doing their things, lots of great
food, lots of great things to see and hear.
Come here to Chinatown. They need tourists.
For sure the pandemic really, really hit
this place hard.
Thanks for coming along on that short
‘Till the next one, take care.
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