擺也街 欢迎 你！Welcome to Bayard!
Bayard Street is located in the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown. The street is just four blocks long, running east-west between Baxter and Bowery and is home to both commercial and residential tenants. Odors of smelly fish and freshly baked pastries waft through the air from the many markets, bakeries and restaurants located on the street level. Above them, are walk up apartment buildings, home to multi-generation families who emigrated from southern China or Hong Kong.
Back on the street, little kids emerge burst from the apartment buildings, laughing, blowing bubbles, screaming, and running around while a watchful grandparent sits patiently on the stoop. People rush by the children, leafy vegetables spilling from their bags, eager to cook dinner. There are few tourists on this street, except maybe in Chinatown Ice Cream Factory or Xi’an Famous Noodles, otherwise the street is host to “local” eats. However, Bayard was not always so family friendly.
Before Chinatown became Chinatown, the area was mostly inhabited by Eastern Europeans immigrants. There are no less than three New York Times articles from the late 1800s involving shootings on Bayard Street. The earliest incident involves a man shooting his wife. 
Today, Chinatown is still rapidly changing. Chinese immigrants across North America have long been from southern China and Hong Kong, but today more and more people are coming from mainland China. Cantonese is no longer the dominant dialect of Chinatown. A Mandarin speaking population has spread from Flushing’s Chinatown to Manhattan and is rapidly taking over. 
The name Bayard comes from Nicholas Bayard, nephew of Peter Stuyvesant. In the mid 16th century, Nicholas emigrated with his family from the netherlands. During his life he had a successful political career, serving as Surveyor of the Province and Mayor of the City. However, Bayard was forced to flee the city during a political rebellion. As a consequence, his property (on what is modern Chinatown) was taken away. Bayard was sentenced to be “hanged and dismembered” but he was able to appeal his conviction, and his property was restored to him. He passed his farm down through the generations until 1760, when the family began to sell their property to form city blocks. 
Bayard Street and the Tai Pun Residents Association.
For this assignment, I wanted to find a text that was a little out of the ordinary. In class on Monday, we spoke about the significance of naming a building. Occupying the street level of Bayard are primarily restaurants and bakeries. However, I found one address, 51 Bayard St, with a name—Tai Pun Residents Association. The building is a simple fourth floor walk up and houses a Vietnamese restaurant on the ground floor. The exterior is equally simple: concrete walls, eight windows and two balconies. However, research provides no further information. There is no website for the Tai Pun Residents Association (most likely because the residents are elderly Chinese immigrants who have little need for computers and the internet). There are few references in English newspapers and databases. There is hardly even a wikipedia article. From what I can gather, Tai Pun is an area in Southern China, close to Hong Kong. A large group of Dapengese people have moved to Manhattan, they’ve formed a society where they can continue to speak their own Dapeng hua dialect, and this is where the Dapeng are headquartered. This is only one organization of the larger Lin Sing Association. The Tai Pun Residents Association was founded in 1919 and is the oldest Da Peng organization. Their main values are respect for both young and old and Chinese nationalism. Accordingly, they celebrate the People’s Republic of China national day every year, which is October 10. 
A Walk Down Bayard Street
On my latest walk on Bayard Street, I started at it’s west most end—Baxter Street. Eager to take a picture of the street sign, which features both the English and Chinese, I paused on this corner. Before I could even get my camera out, a mini motorcade of police cars and vans rounded the corner. Two gruff police officers got out of the first car to clear the street. Once the street was clear of oncoming traffic and pedestrians, (who had now gathered on my corner to watch what was going on), the vans drove into a back entrance to the Manhattan Detention Center. I walked on. Across the street in Columbus Park, elderly Chinese men and women were practicing their Tai Ji under the pavilion.
I paused again at the next block, the corner of Mulberry and Bayard. The North-East corner is home to an old school house that houses the Chinatown Manpower Project and the Chen Dance Center. Morris talks about walking as a “signifying practice that enables narrative entries and exits” . I have my own memory of this building. When I was visiting colleges in high school, I remember going to Chinatown and getting caught in a sudden downpour. My sister and I huddled under an umbrella on the very same corner.
There was a class, or the like because I could hear Chinese opera through the open windows. There is also a very small patch of garden where the sidewalk meets the building, something you don’t see that often in Manhattan. While I lingered on that corner, I noticed mostly elderly Chinese. It was a drizzly Tuesday morning. The middle aged men and women didn’t pay much attention to me, but the elderly did. The men and women who shuffled along the street stared at me like I was a foreigner, even though I am also Chinese. Not only would they just stare at me, but their gaze would not break until they either turned the corner, or crossed the street. After several attempts to take pictures of the building’s signs, each one interrupted by someone exiting the dance center, and giving me strange looks.
The street lamps have little pagoda-esque shades, as do the telephone booths. All the details on this street really do cater to the Chinese.
Bayard St and the curios kidnapping
Bayard St has seen its fair share of crime and violence. Particularly in the late 1800s when there were at least a dozen cases of shooting, as reported in the New York Times. All of these stories seem strange given Bayard’s quiet and family friendly nature today. In the strangest incident, Bayard St plays a minor role, but a role nonetheless.
The story begins on June 12, 1899 with a letter, found on Bayard St. The letter details the kidnapping of the author, kidnapped in broad daylight at the intersection of Broome and Elizabeth st. He dramatically states “Give this [note] to the first policeman you can see, and tell him to take such action as he thinks will find me, for I am greatly alarmed, for my life may be in danger” (New York Times). The police investigate this curious incident, and are somehow able to track down an address. After several visits they find a man names James who recounts his kidnapping, which matches the details from the letter. Eventually the police opt to drop the case. As they investigated further, the police became increasingly convinced that the whole story was a sham. Eventually Mrs. Marano, the owner of the apartment which James was held hostage in, confessed that she had jokingly placed an ad for a husband in the newspaper after hers deserted her 
The letter was found at what is today, a Bank of America at the corner of Bayard and Bowery. Mrs. Marano’s apartment at 14 Spring St still stands, and houses a bistro on the ground level.
Bayard St in cartography
The earliest map of Bayard St on the Digital Sanborn data base shows a surprisingly similar Bayard St. The plots appear to be the same size as today. What is now a Bank of America at the northwest corner of Bayard and Bowery, was the Third Avenue Railway Co. Power House No. 3 in 1894 (Sanborn). Though much of Bayard is the same, there is one huge difference. Bayard extends past Bowery to the Lower East Side, and ends where Division St meets Eldridge, nearly doubling its size. Today, there is a large apartment complex that cuts off Bayard, separating Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
In the next map I looked at, the 1905 edition, Bayard St isn’t even included. The map simply stops at Canal St, and does not continue into Chinatown.
The 1923 edition shows that Bayard is the same, but the plot at Bowery and Bayard has changed because of the addition of the Manhattan Bridge. What used to be an entire block of apartment buildings and restaurants, is now a giant plaza and entry way for the bridge’s heavy traffic flow due to the four lanes and two levels.The bridge, built in the early 1900s coincides with the invention and era of the Ford Model T, America’s first affordable automobile. In addition to population increase, the bridge seems to really show how progressive New York is. It is no longer an island, but an island that can be accessed at any time.
Bayard St in fiction
I didn’t expect to find much about Bayard St, given the street’s location in the heart of Chinatown, I thought I would have more luck finding the street in Chinese fiction. So I was beyond amazed when I found a mention in two different books.
The first, comes in a book that isn’t actually fiction, but rather documents it. The book is appropriately titled New York in Fiction by Arthur Bartlett Maurice. His book mostly talks about streets in relation to the author, if the street does not appear in the book itself. The first mention of Bayard Street notes that the author of The Imported Bridegroom, had a view of Bayard and Catherine Streets and the old Ghetto in their vicinity (8: Maurice, 70). Presumably, the author, Mr. Cahan used this view as inspiration for his plot about the of the old New York. In Edward W. Townsend’s book, Daughter of the Tenements, Bayard is mentioned in a “strange, grim and picturesque” description of the Mulberry Court (8: Maurice, 76). The entrance to the court was on Mulberry Street, “about 50 paces below Bayard Street” (8: Maurice, 76). None of this exists anymore, as the block was turned into what is today Columbus Park. But Maurice wrote this book in 1900, and the Mulberry Bend had just been demolished and made into a park four years prior, in 1896. Though there is little description in New York in Fiction, the book seems very “Gangs of New York.”
The second book I found from the New York Times’ Literary Map of Manhattan, at the suggestion of one of my classmates. Dreamland, by Kevin Baker is about the Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn. There is a very brief reference to 106 Bayard Street—the corner of Bayard and Baxter, where a Thai restaurants stands today. The story takes place at the turn of the 20th century, so much of the Bayard reference, again, has to do with Five Points (9).
Bayard in Film
I know several TV shows have used Bayard St before, but I was unsure about film. Thankfully I found that just last month the film “What Maisie Knew” staring Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Alexander Skarsgard used the block of Bayard between Mulberry and Mott streets. The film has been adapted from a 1987 novel of the same title. In the book, the story is set in England but the film will be set in contemporary New York. They filmed on Bayard St for only one day, and the film is set to be released next year, so there are no film stills (10). This picture of Alexander Skarsgard from set shows that he is clearly in Chinatown, because of the Chinese signs. But, it is unclear where exactly he is. I found a picture I took earlier that I matched up, using the color of the awnings as my indicator, but I’m not 100% positive. I believe it is the block of Bayard between Mulberry and Mott, where they were filming.
Besides comparing the pictures, if you look at a map in comparison to this picture, the map helps eliminate a few blocks. We see store fronts, so this can’t be on the south side of the block between Baxter and Mulberry because that is where Columbus Park is located. It also can’t be the north side of that block because the western corner has a large Thai restaurant that occupies two storefront. The eastern corner at Mulberry st has a large outdoor fruit stand, which we also do not see. Finally, in the middle of the block there is a small parking lot.
The block between Mott and Elizabeth has an ice cream shop that I like (Chinatown Ice Cream Factory) and the store has a large flag with it’s dragon mascot, which is not in sight. Across the street is mostly grocery stores which display their meats hanging in the window, which we don’t really see. The next block between Elizabeth and Bowery has several restaurants. On the map they look like several small plots, which could be the picture, but my memory of that block (where I took a picture of a sign for the text entry, and then ate at a neighboring restaurant) does not include colorful signs and no awnings.
Bayard st at Night
I chose to walk on my street at night on Halloween, thinking things would be the same as usual. I found that there was more pedestrian traffic, which was surprising. However, instead of seeing an abundance of trick or treaters, there seemed to be an excess of high school aged kids. While waiting for the sun to set, I ate a light dinner in Xi’an Famous Foods. I was quite surprised that while I was eating, two trick or treaters came in the restaurant. I guess this is the norm for city kids.
As a whole, Chinatown is pretty dead after 8:30. Over the summer I lived in the Lafayette residence hall, and I wanted to run to Hong Kong Supermarket to buy sushi before it closed at 8:30. I got there around 8:25, just in time to see them locking up. There are a few restaurants on Bayard st that stay open to 10:30, which surprised me. I have walked in Chinatown at night before and I must say it doesn’t feel particularly safe to me. There are lots of street lamps, but not many people. It also doesn’t help that the New York Detention Center is the western boundary of Bayard st.
Because this was at night, the old Chinese men and women weren’t practicing their tai qi on the pavilion of Columbus Park as they do in the morning, but in the park playing cards. There was quite a crowd around some tables, you could hardly see what was happening. There were only men playing, and maybe a woman here and there watching. Overall this seemed to be a man’s game. In another corner of the park, closer to sunset, I heard music. Two men on erhu (a traditional Chinese stringed instrument), two men on some type of recorder and four men singing in Chinese, while a woman danced in front of them. Their song did not sound like opera (which I used to hear every weekend in the car with my grandparents), but the woman’s dance looked like it could been in a traditional Chinese opera. I was surprised by the amount of people in the park at dusk, and so lively!
Bayard St on TV
I actually know of Bayard St from tv. My parents love watching food shows, and two of the shows are No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, both on the Travel Channel. Both shows have featured a restaurant on Bayard St (which I coincidentally mentioned last post): Xi’an Famous Foods.
There are now three restaurants, one in Flushing, St Mark’s and Chinatown. The food is authentic and super fresh, especially the hand pulled noodles. The restaurant also stands out because the cuisine comes from Xi’an (home of the famed terra cotta army), which is located in the north, so the food is vastly different from the Cantonese restaurants that Chinatown is known for. The restaurant seems to still be a local spot, because everyone who was eating at the time was Chinese and ordered in Chinese. They also knew what they wanted, and didn’t need to look at the menu.
Here’s a clip from Bizarre Foods:
Another store I know from tv (but couldn’t find a clip) is Chinatown Ice Cream Factory two stores down. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is more well known, and popular with both locals and tourists. They have really great flavors more common in Asia, like taro, black sesame, longan and my favorite, almond cookie. The shop is one of Chinatown’s oldest businesses, and has been open for nearly 30 years. Last summer, I went to get ice cream with a friend around dusk, and we ran into Matthew Gray Gubler, Terry Richardson and a huge crew in the shop!
To me, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory almost seems to be an anomaly. It’s high traffic doesn’t match the pace of Bayard St, but it is Bayard’s oldest and most well known establishment. Xi’an Famous Foods, on the other hand, seems very much at home on Bayard St. Frequented by locals, but open to tourists.
Bayard St and Sound
In the Corbould reading, “Street, Sounds and Identity in Interwar Harlem,” she focuses on Harlem and its unique sounds. She also points out that areas like Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway at night are also represented as loud. Today, we can also add outdoor concerts (especially of the Good Morning America variety), celebrity appearances and protests to the list.
In Harlem, the most identifiable noise is jazz music. To others, jazz was “the sound and noise that white New Yorkers heard as cacophonous” (Corbould, 861). But in Harlem, noise signaled a freedom that many of its residents (African Americans) did not have in Jim Crowe South. Making noise meant “claiming ownership of public space” especially during special occasions (Corbould, 864). Corbould uses the example of a 1936 production of “Macbeth” that attracted 10,000 people who gathered in the street before entering the theater (Corbould, 863). Special occasions such as the Fourth of July Fireworks, West Village Halloween Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and New Year’s Eve are also events that gather people in the streets.
I think this idea can easily be applied to Bayard St and Chinatown as a whole during Chinese New Year celebrations. Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 days and it is the longest and most important Chinese holiday. The first day is the most joyous, and is celebrated with firecrackers and the Lion Dance. In places like Chinatown, the Lion Dance takes place in the street, but in the suburbs they take place in restaurants. The Lion Dance is accompanied by drums and cymbals.
This video is a typical Chinese New Year celebration in Chinatown. Firecrackers have been banned in most places, but the drums and cymbals are very traditional practices of the New Years celebration. (The Lion Dance doesn’t start until the 45 second mark)
Bayard St and Digital Representation
In Galloway’s “Ubiquitous Computing and the City” article, she talks about the real world and the virtual world as “lying at opposite ends of a continuum” (Galloway, 390). Real objects are tangible and concrete while virtual objects are “immaterial, outside of time, both distant and close” (Galloway, 390). She almost makes it seem like they cannot co-exist, that the two are extreme opposites, which they are, but I think they enhance each other instead of hindering.
When I looked at the google earth view of Bayard St, I noticed that the buildings are significantly shorter than the surrounding area, which is something I’ve never noticed before. When I added the different layers (photos, videos, wiki links and traffic) not much changed. There were maybe four pictures and I think two videos. One of the videos I happened to watch when I was looking for sound clips for last week’s post, but this video has music in it, so you can’t hear anything that was going on in the street. The video is from the 2010 Chinese New Year celebration and the street looks much different. It’s actually quite crowded and looks like a fun place to be because there is confetti everywhere.
I like the term “urban tapestry” which is a project Galloway talks about. It “allows users to annotate their own virtual city, enabling a community’s collective memory to grow organically, allowing ordinary citizens to embed social knowledge in the new wireless landscape of the city” (Galloway, 396). I think everyone today has their own urban tapestry, which we are constantly adding to through restaurant reviews, pictures, etc. Before going to a new restaurant, I will sometimes look it up on Yelp or New York Magazine and read some of the reviews. Before even setting foot outside my door, I have all this additional knowledge and different takes on the restaurant’s ambience, friendly wait staff and cool bathrooms which enhance my own experience.
I also found a walking tour of Chinatown, which includes a short two-block walk down Bayard St. The main purpose for walking on Bayard is to cut between Mott St and Bowery, but the tour does suggest stopping for a treat in Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
A Final Look at Bayard Street
In our final reading, “Whose Culture? Whose City?”, Sharon Zukin brings two points, which I think are readily seen on Bayard Street. The first is the idea of immigrants and ethnic minorities who have “put pressure on public institutions, from schools to political parties, to deal with their individual demands” (Zukin, 2). Bayard st is located in the heart of Chinatown located in lower Manhattan—just one of New York’s many Chinatowns.
New York contains the highest concentration of Chinese immigrants in the Western hemisphere, though Bayard st itself only has a 40-60% Asian population according to the 2010 Census. However, within the Asian population, the Chinese population makes up 90-99% of the population of the lower eastern side of Manhattan, from Centre Street to the East River and Kenmare Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. The statistics show the area clearly has a large Chinese population.
Accordingly, the street signs and many restaurant signs are in both English and Chinese. Even American establishments like Chase Bank and McDonalds have Chinese signs for their Chinatown locations and the lamp posts have little red pagoda tops, designed by Donald Deskey (who won the competition to design the interior of Radio City Music Hall).
The media age of the area is a bit older than the surrounding areas, at 45-48, while the median age of Asian inhabitants is 48-102. This is highly visible when walking on Bayard St, especially during the daytime. During this semester, I usually went to Bayard St between classes, but at any time during the day, there is a noticeably older crowd of white haired elderly Chinese grandmas and grandpas walking slowly down the street. However, if you enter Columbus park (between Baxter and Mulberry), there is an even larger concentration of elderly people. Zukin writes that parks are becoming less public and more private as they are financed by private companies who employ security guards, security cameras, locked gates, etc. to keep the public space safe (Zukin, 28). There is a definite fear of violent crimes, and this has “inspired the growth of private police forces, gated and barred communities, and a movement to design public spaces for maximum surveillance” which we see in all public parks, which shut down and are locked at night (Zukin, 2).
She uses the example of Central Park, Bryant Park and the Hudson River Park. To me, these all seem to be “destination” parks. Central Park has so many attractions inside, in addition to the sprawling lawns and open space, it is truly an oasis within the city. Bryant Park is a popular lunch destination, weather permitting, and during the summer, shows movies on the lawn every Monday. The Hudson River Park also shows movies on the piers (I saw one this summer and it was great fun!) while the park itself has spectacular views of both Manhattan and New Jersey. Parks, much like their surrounding neighborhood, have developed an identity and distinct purpose. However, they are not typically places you would linger and spend an entire day in and Zukin suggests this is how crime is born. This does not seem to be true of Columbus Park.
During the day, Columbus Park is teeming with elderly Chinese men and women engaging in recreational activities—mostly playing cards and Chinese checkers. There are even more spectators crowding around game tables sprinkled throughout the park. In the mornings, I have seen a group practicing Tai Ji on the terrace structure on the north end of the park. These practices have been carried over from China where local parks are constantly full of activity. It is quite obvious when you see an outsider walking around the park, usually taking pictures, because everyone seems to belong in the park. There is a certain rhythm to the park that is clear to outsiders, but not easy to pick up. I think this rings true of Bayard St as a whole.
People don’t really linger on the street, unless they step out to make a call or smoke a cigarette. There aren’t any news stands or regular homeless people or food carts or people trying to sell fake handbags like on Canal Street, just a block away. Bayard isn’t gimmicky like Canal. It is a simple street deeply rooted in its new Chinese heritage. Bayard looks like a typical restaurant street in Hong Kong. It’s full of restaurants and walk-ups above. That being said, when you do linger on the street corner and do people watch, there is almost an air of exclusivity. The residents do prefer to speak in Chinese with each other and at restaurants or shops, so there is an obvious language barrier. Even though I am Chinese, the older people kind of stare at me like I’m an alien, because they can probably tell I don’t speak the language and I’m not from New York.
When you search Bayard St, the most common results are restaurant reviews: Bo Ky, Xi’an Famous Foods, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Shanghai Cuisine, Hong Kong Station, Hsin Wong, and the list goes on. Food is very important to the Chinese, and the numerous restaurants reflect this. The restaurants are also very different cuisines within the larger umbrella of Chinese cuisine, though Chinatown is typically associated with Cantonese food. Even with the abundant dining options, around 4pm, I frequently saw people returning home, with fresh vegetables and meats in hand to prepare dinner.
The one time of year that the street is lively and bursting with energy is Chinese New Year (usually the end of January or early February). This is a holiday akin to all of our American holidays combined. It is the biggest and most important celebration of the year. People gather in the streets to watch the festivities like the lion dance and firecrackers and parades. During this time there is a true sense of community when everyone is gathered in the street for the same reason, everyone is happy and enjoying this holiday they have brought with them.
Normally, the street can almost be described as sleepy. I remember when I did my walking entry it was drizzling that day. The weather, though not ideal, seemed to fit my idea of Bayard St. It’s not the most exciting or picturesque or cleanest street. It doesn’t have high profile celebrity residents or an iconic landmark. What Bayard does have is a community of hard working Chinese immigrants, trying to find a piece of home in their new home. There is a specific feeling you get from Bayard st that really cannot be detected on film or in print but only in person.
1: “The Bayard-Street Shooting-Harrington Convicted and Sentenced to Ten Years’ Imprisonment.” New York Times (1857-1922): 2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007) with Index (1851-1993). Jan 10 1873. Web. 13 Sep. 2011 <https://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/93307966?accountid=12768>.
2: Semple, Kirk. “Mandarin Eclipses Cantonese, Changing the Sound of Chinatown – NYTimes.com.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 21 Oct. 2009. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/nyregion/22chinese.html?pagewanted=1>.
3: Landmarks Preservation Commission. “192 Grand Street House.” NYC.gov. 16 Nov. 2010. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <http://home2.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/2412.pdf>.
4: “Tai Pun Residents Association.” Wikipedia. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_Pun_Residents_Association>.
5: Morris, Brian. “What We Talk about When We Talk about ‘walking in the City’1.”Cultural Studies 18.5 (2004): 675-97. Print.
6: “Strange Kidnapping Tale.” New York Times (1857-1922): 14. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Jun 20 1899. Web. 4 Oct. 2011 <https://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/95678453?accountid=12768>.
7: Sanborn-Perris Map Co., Ltd. “Jusmance Maps of the City of New York.” Map.Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970. Web. 15 Oct. 2011. <http://http://sanborn.umi.com/ny/6116/dateid-000001.htm?CCSI=2872n>.
8: Baker, Kevin. Dreamland. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. Print
9: Maurice, Arthur Bartlett. New York in Fiction. New York: Dodd, Mead and, 1901. Print.
10: “September 7, 2011 Movie and TV Filming Locations including The Playboy Club, Man of Steel, Imogene, R.I.P.D. & More.” On Location Vacations. 7 Sept. 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <http://www.onlocationvacations.com/2011/09/06/wednesday-september-7-filming-locations-in-nyc-l-a-atlanta-more-including-what-to-expect-dark-knight-rises-person-of-interest/>.
12: Corbould, Clare. “Streets, Sounds and Identity in Interwar Harlem.” Journal of Social History 40.4 (2007): 859-94. Print.
13: Galloway, Anne. “Intimations of Everyday Life: Ubiquitous Computing and the City.”Cultural Studies 18.2-3 (2004): 384-408. Print.
14: Zukin, Sharon. “Whose Culture? Whose City?” The Cultures of Cities. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1995. 1-47. Print.