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East Broadway (Manhattan)

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Title: East Broadway (Manhattan)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Seward Park (Manhattan), Chinatowns in Brooklyn, Chinese Americans in New York City, Chinatowns in the United States, Broadway (Manhattan)
Collection: Chinatown, Manhattan, Lower East Side, Streets in Manhattan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

East Broadway (Manhattan)

East Broadway as seen from the Manhattan Bridge.

East Broadway is a two-way east-west street in the Chinatown\, Two Bridges, and Lower East Side neighborhoods of the New York City borough of Manhattan.

East Broadway begins at Chatham Square (also known as Kimlau Square) and runs eastward under the Manhattan Bridge, continues past Seward Park and the eastern end of Canal Street, and ends at Grand Street.

The western portion of the street has evolved into the neighborhood known as Little Fuzhou, or Manhattan's Fuzhou Town (福州埠, 紐約華埠), primarily populated by Chinese immigrants (mainly Foochowese who emigrated from Fuzhou, Fujian), while the eastern portion was traditionally home to a large number of Jews, although this section of East Broadway has been turning over to the expansion of the Fujianese population and commerce in Lower Manhattan as well. One section in the eastern part of East Broadway, between Clinton Street and Pitt Street, has been unofficially referred to by residents as "Shteibel Way", since it has been lined with up to ten small synagogues ("shteibels") in its history.


  • Ethnic groups 1
  • Structures and places 2
    • East Broadway Mall 2.1
    • Jewish Daily Forward Building 2.2
    • New York Supermarket 2.3
    • Seward Park 2.4
  • Transportation 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Ethnic groups

East Broadway was home to a large Jewish community on the Lower East Side and then later on Puerto Ricans began to settle onto this street[1][2] and African Americans were also residing on this street.[3]

During the 1960s, an influx of Hong Kong immigrants were arriving[4] over along with Taiwanese immigrants as well into Manhattan's Chinatown. Subsequently, Cantonese people and businesses also began to settle onto this street, as Manhattan's Chinatown was expanding into other parts of the Lower East Side, and Manhattan's Chinatown Chinese population was very vastly Cantonese-dominated at the time. During this time period, Manhattan's Chinatown was being referred as a growing Little Hong Kong. Vietnamese people also began to settle on this street as well.[5]

During this time, East Broadway had not evolved into a Little Fuzhou enclave yet, however small numbers of Fuzhou immigrants have existed around the area of Division Street and East Broadway as early as the 1970s and early 1980s, including the Fujianese gang named the Fuk Ching.[6][7] Although the Chinese population have been increasing in this portion of the Lower East Side since the 1960s, however until the 1980s, the western portion of Manhattan's Chinatown was the most fully Chinese populated and developed and flourishing as a busy Chinese business district, while East Broadway along with the eastern portion of Chinatown east of the Bowery was developing more slowly as being part of Chinatown. The eastern portion of Manhattan's Chinatown had lower and scattered numbers of Chinese residents and higher numbers of Non-Chinese residents mainly Latinos and Jewish than Manhattan's Chinatown's western portion. [8][9]

During the 1970s and 1980s, East Broadway was one of the many streets east of the Bowery heading deeper onto the Lower East Side that many people were afraid to walk through or even reside in due to poor building structures and high crime rates such as gang related activities, robberies, building burglaries, and rape as well as fear of racial tensions since other ethnic people were still residing in the area. Very often criminals many of them Hispanics and Blacks targeted Chinese immigrants to harass them. In addition, businesses were often very few and significant numbers of unoccupied properties.[10][11] Chinese female garment workers heading home were often high targets of mugging and rape and many of them leaving work to go home often left together as a group for safety reasons.[12][13][14]

It was during the 1980s and 1990s, when an influx of Fuzhou immigrants flooded East Broadway and a Little Fuzhou enclave evolved on the street, that East Broadway emerged as a distinctly identifiable neighborhood within Chinatown itself, also known as the New Chinatown of Manhattan. The Fuzhou immigrants often speak Mandarin along with their Fuzhou dialect. Most of the other Mandarin speakers were settling in and creating a more Mandarin-Speaking Chinatown or Mandarin Town (國語埠) in Flushing, and eventually an even newer one in Elmhurst, both in Queens, because they could not relate to the traditional Cantonese dominance in Manhattan's Chinatown. The Fuzhou immigrants were the exceptional non-Cantonese Chinese group to settle largely in Manhattan's Chinatown, before themselves expanding eventually, on an even larger scale, to the Brooklyn Chinatown (布鲁克林華埠). As many Fuzhou immigrants came without immigration paperwork and were forced into low paying jobs, Manhattan's Chinatown was the only place for them to be around other Chinese people and receive affordable housing despite Manhattan's Chinatown's traditional Cantonese dominance that lasted until the 1990s.[15][16][17][18][19] Today, the street within Manhattan's Chinatown became a central hub for these recently arrived Fujianese immigrants.

Chatham Square and Lin Zexu Statue
Fukien American Association at East Broadway

Structures and places

East Broadway Mall

Under the Manhattan Bridge (B D N Q trains) lies the "East Broadway Mall" across the street from the previous location of Sun Sing Theater. This mall is the main gathering commercial section for the Fuzhou immigrants in the United States including the 88 Palace Restaurant serving Hong Kong style dim sum meals upstairs of the Mall.[20]

The mall is the center of contributing to the growth of Chinese restaurant businesses all over the United States. Many of the employment agencies are located at this mall sending many of the Fuzhou workers to all-you-can-eat buffets. The opening of Goyow, a Chinese prepaid debit card company, has also contributed to the popularity of this mall, as new Chinese immigrants visit the mall to buy a card that allows them to gain access to a Visa card, which they would be unable to otherwise achieve via traditional banks.[21]

Chinese buses are also stationed at this mall to accommodate the Fuzhou restaurant workers to locations where they have been arranged by the employment agencies.

In the past, there have been issues with the restaurant managers of 88 Palace taking advantage of the Fuzhou workers by taking their tips, making nasty insults and giving them responsibilities that they were not supposed to be assigned to, which then led to lawsuits. Since the managers knew many of them were undocumented, they used their advantage to terminate of their employment of the ones who threatened legal actions against them.[22]

There has also been issues where the mall owners have been accused of illegally increasing the rents at very high rates on tenants who have been longtime small businesses as an attempt to gentrify the mall. This resulted in protests against the mall owners. There have been accusations that the mall owners were prejudice against Fuzhou immigrant shopkeepers and threatened to clean them out of the mall.[23] One example was a female tenant named Mei Rong Song, originally paying rent less than $3,000 a month, it increased dramatically to $12,000 in 2008. Mei Rong Song went into disagreement with her new rent rate and began fighting the eviction proceedings in court. In retaliation, the mall’s managers closed Mei Rong Song's heat and water services to her 280-square-foot (26 m2) space.[24]

The property is city-owned and it was once vacant until in 1985, the city signed a 50-year lease with a developer building the East Broadway Mall. It was originally owned by the Cantonese, the restaurant upstairs was originally named "Triple Eight Palace"[25][26][27] and the shops were primarily Cantonese. However, when East Broadway became the main gathering place for newly arrived Fuzhou immigrants, Fuzhou owned storefronts slowly grew at this mall and over time completely occupying the mall. Eventually the ownership of the mall was entirely sold to Fuzhou owners.[28][29][30][31][32]

Jewish Daily Forward Building

The Seward Park. The building was embellished with marble columns and panels and stained glass windows. The facade features carved bas relief portraits of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels,[33] (who co-authored, with Marx, The Communist Manifesto) and Ferdinand Lassalle, founder of the first mass German labor party. A fourth relief portrays a person whose identity has not been clearly established, and has been identified as Wilhelm Liebknecht,[34] Karl Liebknecht,[35] or August Bebel.[36][37] In the real estate boom of the 1990s, the building was converted to condominiums.[38][39]

New York Supermarket

Under the Manhattan Bridge, there is also a New York Supermarket serving to the Fuzhou community as the largest Chinese Supermarket selling different food varieties. There was also another large supermarket named Hong Kong Supermarket located on this street, however it was destroyed in a fire. Parallel to this newly established Fuzhou community, another New York Supermarket also opened up on Mott Street and as well as a new [40][41][42]

Seward Park

Bus ticket saleswoman at the corner of East Broadway and Forsyth Street in the Little Fuzhou neighborhood within Manhattan's Chinatown.
Playground at Seward Park

Seward Park, at the northeast corner of East Broadway and Straus Square, is 3.046 acres (12,330 m2) in size and is the first municipally built playground in the United States.[43][44]


The M9 bus runs on East Broadway in both directions between Chatham Square and Canal Street. The downtown M22 bus runs westward on East Broadway between Pike Street and Chatham Square. The East Broadway station of the IND Sixth Avenue Line (F train) is located at East Broadway and Rutgers Street.[45]

Since 1998, the New York City Department of Transportation has marked the sidewalk along Forsyth Street between Division Street and East Broadway as a de facto terminal for Chinatown bus lines.[46]


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  2. ^ Teenage hipster in the modern world ... – Mark Jacobson Google Books. (March 25, 2005). Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
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  21. ^ Goyow Prepaid Visa Debit Card. Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  22. ^ Rental Practices at Chinatown Mall Raise Questions. (April 15, 2009). Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
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External links

  • East Broadway Storefronts – photographs of buildings and stores along East Broadway from Chinatown through the Lower East Side.
  • East Broadway early 1980s
  • East Broadway early 1980s with text
  • East Broadway's past and current - pictures of East Broadway in the past and current.
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