A subway trip to China and beyond

Ethically separated communities are hardly in vogue these days, but America’s most densely populated Chinatown served a real purpose for its inhabitants over the last 150 years. We thought it was time we knew more about it, so yesterday we took a food-tasting tour of Chinatown and had a most delicious time.

Chinatown is an experience unto itself, even without the food. Sidewalk vendors hustle tourists into their handbag/luggage/selfie stick/Rolex cubicles with great vigor. The streets are crowded and the crowds are impolite. The street signs are bilingual at the very least and the sounds and smells are very un-New York. It’s a real getaway without the hassle of getting away.

Our guide naturally had to focus on places that allowed a dozen people quick access to small bites that were portable as well as great examples of their kind. We had spicy pork jerky, fried dumplings of many kinds, soup dumplings, pork buns and egg custard tarts. One can dine very well for about $5 here! The last stop was for ice cream, and it was outstanding. All in all, a wonderful culinary and tourist experience, though we often consumed our food before photographing. Plus, now we have some good recommendations for future dining experiences, courtesy of our guide, Eric. He did his research well.

We also had the thrill of dipping into the Buddha’s well of fortunes at the Eastern States Buddhist Temple, and getting the only good one in our group. Do we feel lucky! Plus, we got to see a statue of that famous New Yorker, Mr. Confucious. A great afternoon.

Then, for a complete change of pace, we moved on to the Village and the famous White Horse Tavern. Yesterday was the 52nd anniversary of Dylan Thomas’s last bender in this historic dive, and we wanted to toast his memory. Expecting crowds, we found ourselves the only celebrants of the event, which was sad, but that made it a more personal homage. From Laugharne to Hudson Street…

Our last stop was a trip to Bryant Park, which has now donned its winter mantle, complete with skating rink and Christmas shops. When we first came to New York, this was a terribly dangerous area, dedicated to drug dealing. Look at it now!

We ended our day with a walk down 42nd Street, watching the Library, Grand Central, the Chrysler Building just sparkle on a gorgeous 70 degree night. All hail, New York!

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