Elizabeth Street (Manhattan)

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Coordinates: 40°43′12″N 73°59′42″W / 40.720°N 73.995°W / 40.720; -73.995

Elizabeth Street is a street in Manhattan, New York City, which runs north-south parallel to and west of the Bowery. The street is a popular shopping strip in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood.[1]

The southern part of Elizabeth Street was constructed in 1755 and it was extended north to Bleecker Street in 1816.[2]

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Elizabeth Street was filled with tenement buildings, largely populated by Italian immigrants making the street part of the onetime Little Italy of lower Manhattan.[3][4] However, by the late 20th century, many Chinese immigrants moved to Elizabeth Street, south of Kenmare Street, forming Manhattan's Chinatown. The northern portion runs through the modern neighborhoods of Soho and Nolita.[5][6][7]

Notable buildings[edit]

The Candle Building on the corner of Elizabeth and Spring Streets

Elizabeth Street has several buildings of note,[citation needed] including the New York Chinese School which caters to both Cantonese and Mandarin speakers; the Trust in God Baptist Church; and the New York City Police Department 5th Precinct.

11 Spring Street, a former stable and carriage house at the corner of Elizabeth Street, was built in 1888. It was once a noted magnet for graffiti artists, who covered the exterior of the building with their artwork. When the building was bought for conversion into condominiums, the developers, in collaboration with the Wooster Collective, mounted a show inside the building, inviting well-known graffitists – many of whom had work on the outside – to cover the entire five floors of the building's interior. The show opened in December 2006 for a few days, before work on the conversion began and the artwork was covered over or destroyed. Prior to its days as a canvas for graffiti, the stable had been the home of IBM employee John Simpson for 30 years. Simpson had filled it with Rube Goldberg-like mechanisms, and put burnt candles, surplus from the 1964 New York World's Fair, in the windows, giving the building its nickname at the time, the "Candle Building".[8][9]

Chinatown businesses[edit]

Near the New York City Police Department's 5th Precinct station house, there was a restaurant at 20 Elizabeth Street named Jing Fong, which was the largest Chinese restaurant in the Chinatown neighborhood for decades. It sold various Cantonese dim sum dishes as well as other varieties of Cantonese cuisine and Hong Kong cuisine. It was often used for banquets, cultural events, and parties, and it has also attracted many non-Asian customers.[10][11] Jing Fong moved to a much smaller location at Centre Street in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City losing their reputation as being the largest Chinese restaurant in the Chinatown neighborhood.[12]

Elizabeth Street is also home to three Cantonese food markets. Hong Kong Supermarket, at Hester and Elizabeth Streets, is the neighborhood's largest Cantonese supermarket, containing two floors, and sells items such as dried food products, refrigerated items, fresh seafood and meat, vegetables and fruits. Deluxe Food Market is a smaller food market stretching from Elizabeth to Mott Street, between Hester and Grand Streets, which sells mainly meat and seafood. Po Wing Hong Market is similar to a regular grocery store selling only dried food products and refrigerated items, but also has a large stand of selling traditional Chinese herbal medicinal products.[13][14]

Right next to the 5th police precinct, there is a small two floor Hong Kong style Cantonese shopping center with many varieties of small Cantonese shops including some other small Chinese shops. The shopping center is called, Elizabeth Center. It attracts many Cantonese customers as well as other Chinese customers locally and from other places including non-Asian tourists and visitors. It has also long been an attraction to younger customers of Chinese and non-Chinese descents due to the significant concentration of stores selling very affordable varieties of small accessories as well as products with cartoon figures on them including cartoon figure toys as well as Action figure toys. There were some video game stores in the past, but are now no longer available. Back in 2018, SinoVision's short TV programming named, City Searchers did a 3 minute segment about this mall and making the comparisons to the shopping malls in Hong Kong and how it is a trip down memory lane for many Hongkongers that shop at this mall. Since this Hong Kong style mall is located in the original longer time established western Cantonese dominated half of Manhattan's Chinatown, the mall blends in very well into the Cantonese enclave creating strong resemblances to the Cantonese speaking cities of Hong Kong and Guangzhou.[15][16][17][18][19][20] [21][22][23][24][25]

Since 1976, Eastern Bookstore has been located at 13-17 Elizabeth Street on the second floor, which is right above the Elizabeth Center. It is the largest Chinese Bookstore in Manhattan's Chinatown with the most amount of Chinese cultural amalgamated varieties of Chinese educational products and other varieties of products in the Chinese community. Many varieties of Chinese language books including Chinese language educational textbooks from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China are widely available at this store. Chinese language and Mandarin Chinese learning books as well as Cantonese and Hong Kong Dialect learning books are also available in the bookstore. Unlike most conventional bookstores, Eastern Bookstore also sells many varieties of other Chinese cultural products such as gifts and accessories as well as Chinese calligraphy products. [26]

Private Danny Chen Way[edit]

Street sign at Canal Street. Elizabeth Street south of Canal Street is co-named for Danny Chen.

In May 2014, a portion of Elizabeth Street below Canal Street was given an extra name called Private Danny Chen Way (陳宇暉路) in memory of Danny Chen, who was a Cantonese Chinese American New Yorker born and grew up in Manhattan's Chinatown and joined the military, but unfortunately very shortly he had died from an apparent gunshot suicide in the United States Army as a result of anti-Asian bullying from other American soldiers, which some were eventually charged with Anti-Asian harassment that led to Danny's apparent suicide. This became a very important landmark for the Chinatown neighborhood and since Danny Chen and his familial background are of Cantonese culture and the street is located in the western half of Manhattan's Chinatown, which is the original oldest longer time established part of Manhattan's Chinatown also known as Manhattan's Cantonese Chinatown as it has been traditionally for many decades and is still dominantly populated by Cantonese speakers being the primary main base concentration of the Cantonese residents in the area including continuing to maintain as the primary traditional commercial and social gathering district for the Cantonese residents that reside within this part of Chinatown and in other parts of the Chinatown and Lower East Side/Two Bridges areas, it became an especially very important deep hearted historical cultural moment and landmark for the Cantonese Chinatown area and overall for the Cantonese residents residing throughout the whole Chinatown and Lower East Side/Two Bridges areas in addition as a symbol of fighting anti-Asian discrimination and getting justice for Asian Americans being discriminated in society.[27][28][29][30][31]


  1. ^ Silverman, John (2008). Frommer's Portable New York City 2009. John Wiley & Sons. p. 164. ISBN 9780470289686.
  2. ^ Presa, Donald G. (24 June 2003). NoHo East Historic District Designation Report (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  3. ^ Homberger, Eric (2004). Mrs Astor's New York: Money And Social Power In A Gilded Age. Yale University Press. pp. 29–30. ISBN 9780300105155.
  4. ^ Dickie, John (2004). Cosa Nostra: A History Of The Sicilian Mafia. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 163–164. ISBN 9781403966964.
  5. ^ https://forgotten-ny.com/2013/09/elizabeth-street-chinatown%E2%80%93soho/
  6. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/30/fashion/30CRITIC.html
  7. ^ http://www.nychinatown.org/storefronts/elizabeth.html
  8. ^ Kennedy, Randy. [https://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/14/arts/design/14graf.html?_r=0 "Last Hurrah for Street Art, as Canvas Goes Condo" The New York Times (December 14, 2006)
  9. ^ "Spring Street" on New York Songlines
  10. ^ https://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/lobel17/2017/05/16/the-jing-fong-restaurant/
  11. ^ http://jingfongny.com/
  12. ^ Adams, Erika (2021-05-27). "Jing Fong's New, Smaller Chinatown Location Confirmed". Eater NY. Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  13. ^ https://www.timeout.com/newyork/shopping/deluxe-food-market
  14. ^ https://nyulocal.com/shop-right-in-chinatown-at-hong-kong-supermarket-3d8171800d46
  15. ^ https://www.google.com/books/edition/Secret_New_York/kza7FDKsvS8C?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=elizabeth+center+elizabeth+street+chinatown+nyc&pg=PA54&printsec=frontcover
  16. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yS7uyuLDufM
  17. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is7M4JR5Ub8
  18. ^ https://macaulay.cuny.edu/seminars/brooks10/shopping/index.html
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U-TzJc96SI
  20. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU2JclQgNrg
  21. ^ https://www.google.com/books/edition/Contemporary_Chinese_America/ghKia5k6hXUC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=cantonese+immigrants+nyc+chinatown&pg=PA103&printsec=frontcover
  22. ^ https://www.google.com/books/edition/God_in_Chinatown/3jUTCgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=cantonese+immigrants+nyc+chinatown&printsec=frontcover
  23. ^ https://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/beemanneighborhoods/timelinehistory/
  24. ^ https://eportfolios.macaulay.cuny.edu/genyc/2018/05/10/a-tale-of-two-chinatowns/
  25. ^ https://commons.library.stonybrook.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=aasrs
  26. ^ https://www.easternbooknyc.com/about-us
  27. ^ https://nymag.com/news/features/danny-chen-2012-1/
  28. ^ https://www.amny.com/news/private-danny-chen-way-is-dedicated-in-chinatown/
  29. ^ https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/street-named-honor-danny-chen-chinatown-soldier-driven-suicide-hazing-article-1.1796590
  30. ^ http://www.thelodownny.com/leslog/tag/private-danny-chen
  31. ^ https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/10/04/nine-years-later--danny-chen-s-family-fights-to-keep-his-story-alive-

External links[edit]