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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Chinatown: 1900

Chinatown: 1900

New York circa 1900. "In Chinatown, Pell Street." Photo by Byron. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Tong Wars

Pell and Doyers marked ground zero of the Tong Wars between rival secret mutual aid societies. The Hip Sing Association is still on this corner.

Ting's Gift Shop

Caption for this 1958 Life magazine photo: "Ting's Gift Shop, alleged supply point for heroin in Chinatown."

Pell & Doyers

For some reason 15 Pell is now 18 Pell (at the corner of Doyers Street). I have worked in the area for years -- a walk down the curved Doyers Street in the middle of the night is an interesting experience.

Cultural Adaption in Progress

Eastern shoes, western hats, a compromise in the middle. An interesting study in cultural adaptation in progress.


Here's the identical perspective from May of 2009. 15 Pell has been replaced, but its neighbor across the street is the same.

Pajama Game

The black PJ's did seem to be the dress of the day in Chinatown back then.

Eventful year

1900 was year of the Boxer Rebellion in China. The siege of the foreign embassies began in June of that year. I wonder how the much event was on the minds of the average Chinese immigrant in America.

And, that's a novel way of carrying a tea tray.


The man by the door is wearing the traditional Manchurian "queue" hairstyle, in which the front of the head is shaved every ten days and the back is drawn into a ponytail.

During the Qing/Manchu Dynasty (1644 - 1912) it was mandatory, and to not wear it was considered treason and punishable by death.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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