Soho, Tribeca & Lower East Side
Although not as fashionable as Greenwich Village, this area has a lot of interesting sights to complement the quirky names. Tribeca stands for the Triangle below Canal Street. Soho is not related to the Soho district in London but stands for South of Houston Street. For the uninitiated Houston provides a good introduction New York pronunciation. It is not pronounced Hew-ston or Hoo-ston as in Texas, but How-ston. Pronounce it incorrectly to a taxi driver and he probably won’t know where you want to go, or in the rare cases where you get a cab driver with a good grasp of English you may be on the receiving end of a dry joke about how much the journey is likely to cost.
Gold necklaces in shop window, Canal Street, Chinatown
Bling, bling bling. Canal street is lined with shops selling the brightest and most showy gold jewellery, often based on the 12 animals that represent the Chinese years. In the foreground here is a necklace based on the Year of the Pig that looks so heavy that the wearer might risk falling over. We didn’t stop to enquire about the price.
Katz's Deli, E Houston Street at Ludlow Street
Even the Deli’s in this area have history. Katz’s Deli is a Jewish delicatessen that goes all the way back to 1888 and it’s pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs are reckoned to be among the best in Manhattan. However it is not just pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs that bring tourists here. If the phrase “I’ll have what she’s having” rings a bell, then you are on the right track. This is where Meg Ryan demonstrated a fake an orgasm in “When Harry met Sally”. Unfortunately the combination of good food and movie history means that the deli gets very crowded. We looked in but concluded that we would probably die of hunger before we got to the front of the queue (line).
Fruit & Vegetable shop, Mott Street, Chinatown
The shops in Chinatown are unlike those that you find elsewhere in New York. The atmosphere is of a Chinese market rather than a western shopping street. The quality of the produce looked very good and it was noticeable that while most of the shoppers were ethnic Chinese, there were also New Yorkers of European extraction doing their shopping here.
Chinese New Year Dragon Dance, Mott Street, Chinatown
The Lower East Side is home to several ethnic groups, the largest of which is the Chinese. In Chinatown the Chinese New Year is celebrated each January with Dragon dancing in the street and firecrackers being thrown left, right and centre. The noise is immense and the crowds huge, indeed we found it difficult to get really close to the Dragon Dance that we encountered in Mott Street.
Mulberry Street, Little Italy
Chinatown has been expanding fast and this has been at the expense of adjacent neighbourhoods. Little Italy was once brimming with Italian restaurants, but now most of its streets offer a mixture of Chinese and Italian fare. Mulberry Street was the one street that we could find in January 2006 that was still was predominantly Italian in flavour. Despite the decline in the population of Italian origin, the Feast of San Gennaro is still celebrated each September with parades through the streets.
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