Some of the happiest days of my time in New York were spent working at Not For Tourists Guidebooks in the heart of Chinatown. For five years I would wade through the crowds braving the sights, sounds, and smells of this wonderful neighborhood to get to the office on East Broadway.
At lunch time I’d hit up my favorite noodle cart or dumpling shop, then head for Columbus Park just a few blocks away to find a little peace and quiet. Here amid the chaos of city’s most vibrant’ neighborhood, I would grab a bench, take a bite of my tasty (and cheap!) food, and watch the world go by.
This little park has everything – old timers playing mahjong, local youths kicking soccer balls around, bands jamming out classical Chinese music, workers from the nearby courts taking a smoke break, and tourists strolling on through to soak it all in.
Next time you’re in Chinatown, make a detour to this neighborhood landmark and spend some quality time here. You’ll see first hand that Chinatown is much more than a bunch of restaurants and gift shops. It’s a real community, and Columbus Park is where everyone comes together.