Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brooklyn Chinatown

Brooklyn Chinatown's been on my to-do list for quite some time. An obvious area of exploration, it just seemed so far away.... at least from the northern end of the Bronx. After all, Canal Street was so much closer - as were other neighborhoods such as Koreatown, Curry Hill and Little Toyko, all within a reasonable distance from work. But the trip was inevitable - awaiting the perfect day and the right amount of leisure time to hop a train towards Coney Island. Yesterday proved to be that day - warm but not stifling, with just enough hours of sunlight remaining to justify the ride on the N train...all the way out to 8th Avenue, and the area they call Brooklyn Chinatown.

Unlike it's brethren in Manhattan and Flushing, Brooklyn Chinatown is a strip. Surrounded on either side by residential buildings, the businesses and restaurants stick to 8th Avenue, clustered between 62nd Street (where the subway lets off) and 40th (resulting in a dead end and a bolster of trees.) And that makes exploration a snap - considerably easier than the maze of roads leading from Canal, resulting in twists, turns...and sometimes missed opportunities if you fail to wander down a particular street. With Brooklyn, you simply choose a street side, walk to 40th - then turn around and head on back. Perhaps the best thing about Brooklyn Chinatown is the layout. Simple. Easy. Accessible. Though somewhat lacking in adventure.

As for the food? Well, there are few surprises in Brooklyn Chinatown. For anyone already familiar with Canal or Flushing, the offerings are standard...food carts, some bubble tea shops and bakeries, some Vietnamese/Malaysian joints along the way - and even a few Turkish and Polish places thrown in for good measure (diversity reigns in NYC!) Good basic fare...though nothing truly novel or startling (at least during my maiden voyage.) (Actually, the highlight of my trip proved to be a quick look into a Polish bakery near 47th street...but that's just the start of a new obsession...)

So - is Brooklyn Chinatown worth the trip? Definitely - at least if you live in the borough. For those of us out towards Yonkers? ...well, it was still a day well spent!

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