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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.


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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.

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