~nyc day twenty-one~

July 26th, 2013

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We walked past Nom Wah Tea Parlor (first Dim Sum house in NYC, since 1920) and down the short, sharply curving block known as Doyers Street. Once a cart path named for Hendrick Doyer (whose 1800s distillery at one end has been replaced by a USPS office), the route was also known as the Bloody Angle, as it provided a backdrop and underground getaway tunnels in the Tong Wars of the early 1900s.

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We stepped into Ting’s Co gift shop/portal to another world and came out onto Columbus Park, a landscape of breezes fluttering tall trees, Mahjong (like rummy with domino-like pieces) and Xiangqi (like chess) played with deep focus, song and dances of ecstatic joy, and a rendition of The Star Spangled Banner on Er-Hu fiddle and Ruan lute that has replaced Jimi’s as my favorite. A magical afternoon.

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In 1842, Dickens said of his visit to this notorious Five Points neighborhood: “all that is loathsome, drooping and decayed is here.” By the 1880s the park (also known over the years as Mulberry Bend, Five Points, and Paradise Park) was planned by co-designer of Central Park, Calvert Vaux to bring a little green and life to the area. Thanks, Calvert.

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