When visitors think of historic lower Manhattan, what neighborhoods come to mind? Add Chinatown and the Two Bridges areas to the list of historic sites including the South Street Seaport and Bowling Green. Surprising landmarks from Dutch colonial times to the Revolutionary War are sprinkled throughout Chinatown. Untapped New York will be touring the historic sites hidden in plain view on Friday, June 24th. Starting from 11 AM, our Before Chinatown Was Chinatown tour – free for Untapped New York Insiders – will traverse Chinatown’s winding streets, uncovering surprising spaces and events that have determined the course of New York City history (you can use code JOINUS to get your first month free of Insiders membership).

Before Chinatown Was Chinatown Tour

Before Chinatown was Chinatown covers the layers of historical events that have occurred around Chinatown and Two Bridges, and the tour will cover the area’s significance from New York City’s early role as national capital during the Revolutionary War period through to today. The tour covers the notorious Five Points location, renowned for its gang violence and crime in the 19th century as covered in Gangs of New York, before moving on to highlight some of Chinatown’s most historic structures.

The Dutch colonial history and Revolutionary War history of historic “Sixth Ward” Manhattan (now Chinatown) is present literally underfoot, as the tour will cover streets with paving stones dated nearly 300 years old. Buildings and homes from the 1800s are nestled in between restaurants and banks, with houses of worship throughout Chinatown and the Eastern Two Bridges neighborhood telling the true history of Chinatown’s layered origins.

Historic Mariner's temple in Chinatown, NYC.
Image of Mariner’s Temple Baptist Church courtesy Mark Satlof.

Participants on the tour witness often-overlooked structures that speak to the true history of New York City’s seedier past, including taverns and public houses frequented by local gangs. Building facades covering architecture built back in the mid-19th century are found across the surrounding area.

The Carnegie Library on East Broadway in New York City.
Carnegie Library, Chinatown, Manhattan

Walking from street to winding street, participants will also encounter the city’s oldest tenement. Chinatown has one of the city’s shortest streets, Mosco Street, which pays homage to the remnants of historic New York City lingering in the neighborhood. Visitors on the Before Chinatown was Chinatown tour will view this iconic New York City neighborhood in a whole new light.

Before Chinatown Was Chinatown Tour

Untapped New York Insiders joining the tour on June 24th will experience every aspect of New York City’s vibrant Chinatown, exploring the buildings, streets, and corners that have made New York City what it is today. New Insiders can use code JOINUS to get your first month free of Insiders membership.

Next, uncover 10 Stunning Interior Landmarks Throughout New York City.