"An anthropological expedition"
Standing at the beginning of Market Street, looking just under the Manhattan Bridge at a bewildering array of flashing plastic toys for sale and varieties of dried mushrooms in bins, some woman approached me with an aggressive “Where are you going?” and pressed an inter-city bus service brochure into my hand. Apparently, the only reason a non-local would have for being on Market Street is if he's trying to catch an economy bus to Boston or Philadelphia. This is a street with a very distinct character, though not a street you'd really be able to recommend to visitors. Walking downtown from the Manhattan Bridge, you might get the feeling you're not in Kansas any more. After a point, the signs are not translated into English, and the flashy kind of Chinatown gives way to an old-style brick-and-iron sooty Chinatown that feels like it's from another century. This is the real deal Chinatown, where real people raise real families, and have built community ties that go back for generations. You won't exactly feel welcomed here, and I imagine that's how the locals want it. There's not a lot to do but just move along, till you cross the East River Parkway and get a look out over the water at Brooklyn.