Monday, January 29, 2007
At CICF, we believe that is the responsiblity of local businesses to give back to the community. We have been fortunate to have a certain level of business which allows us to be involved in a plethora of organizations and events. We consider not only Chinatown our community, but the greater NYC area. CICF has given back to places like the local hospitals and schools, as well as having participated in events such as the Special Olympics.
Growing up working at CICF, I learned that I really love being involved in the community. Recently I joined the steering committee of this great group called Project by Project (PBP).
What's cool about PBP is that it is made up of young Asian professionals. It's a fun atmosphere to work in because everyone is around the same age and views PBP as a learning experience. Not only are we helping our community, but we are also fostering growth in one another as future leaders. To learn more visit www.projectbyproject.org .
A popular event that we have coordinated in past years was our "Holiday Toy and Book Drive". I started this event in memory of my grandfather who had passed away earlier that year. Although there are many holiday drives, not many are specifically focused on Chinatown.
For 3 consecutive years we asked friends, employees, local businesses and customers to donate new books and toys to our local Gouveneur's Hospital. All monetary donations were used to purchase books and toys from local community businesses.
I hope that CICF can inspire other small businesses in our community to keep up to date with issues in our community as well as give back what they can.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
PLACES I GO TO IN CHINATOWN
Everyone constantly asks me for suggestions on "where to go in Chinatown". I used to suggest more tour guide friendly answers. Recently, people have been asking me more specifically, "Where do you personally go in Chinatown?" Well here's the honest answer...
Usually I start my mornings before work getting breakfast (after all it is the most important meal of the day!) by going to Yuen Yuen on Bayard Street. Here I get a large fresh squeezed orange juice for a mere $2 and change. The little lady who runs the shop is a cute little 'paw paw' (Grandma).
Then I head over to Hsin Wong which is located across the street from my store. I'm always greeted wth a smile and the cook usually remembers my order. I tend to be a creature of habit so I usually order the congee with pork and preserved egg (pay dan sau yook jewk) and a bread cruller. This delicious meal comes out to be less than $5. Nothing is better than some hot food in your stomach on a cold morning.
With all this yummy food, I am ready to start my day! =)
In between work, if I can sneak out for a bit...I get my occasional hair cut and highlights at Sunny Hair Salon on 11 Pell Street. I always ask for Sunny (the owner) to personally to cut or color my hair. Michelle also does a very good job. The prices are extremely reasonable and the hair washes using reflexology is very relaxing.
Since I do lots of manual labor at CICF, I do get an occasional back massage. I skip over to Pell Street for my $15 back massage. Can't beat that price!
For dinner I almost always hop over to Moonhouse which is located right next door to CICF. My close friend Jeanie's family owns it. I will personally say that I have never had food made with such love. My favorites are the Moonhouse Casserole and the Soup Dumplings with Crab. It's a gourmet meal that won't hurt your budget.
I also do like the Vietnamese-Chinese cuisine from Bo Ky Restaurant on Bayard Street. Their restaurant is also a second generation family business which gives it a lot of character. The food is excellent at dirt cheap prices. It's always busy so you know that everything is always fresh! I love the pho with beef! I am also a fan of their country style duck.
Good luck on your future adventures in Chinatown!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
LUNAR NEW YEAR (YEAR OF THE PIG 4075)
Chinese New Year is Feb. 18th. People born in the year of the pig are viewed as being good to their friends and family. They are honest but often naive. They also achieve a great deal of success both socially and financially. Good matches for them are people born in the year of the rabbit or the ram.
Chinatown is at its livliest this time of the year. People from all over the country come to check out our events and foods during the lunar new year.
Our new year festivities include the parades that feature the traditional lion dances & martial arts. This is our biggest attraction. I must have seen every parade & I have never been disappointed. It just seems like the parades grow bigger and bigger every year! This year it will be held on February 25th from 1:00-5:00.
The Museum of the Chinese in the Americas (MOCA) will also be having a flower market in Columbus Park on February 16th and 17th. In our culture, flowers are symbolic of good luck, fortune and prosperity. The flower market will also have interactive artist booths. This is definitely a great event to go to with children, family members, and/or friends.
(Columbus Park is located on Mulberrry Street; between Bayard Street and Worth Street.)
On Lunar New Year's Day, Chinatown will be having the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival. It will be held at Chatham Square (Between Bowery, Mott, & East Broadway) on Sunday February 18th from 11:00am-3:00 pm. Best of all, admission is free and you'll have a blast!
Later that night, we will be having our Illuminations: Lunar New Year Fireworks Spectacular. It will be at Columbus Park and this will also be free.
And don't forget that a huge part of Chinese New Year is eating! Chinatown has great eateries and it's the perfect time to celebrate. Food is one of the most important things in our culture. I've been asked where's a good place to eat for the holiday and quite honestly, I tend to eat at the same places that I always eat. My family, friends and I just order different things. We celebrate by ordering the more expensive dishes like lobster, abalone, and sharkfin soup. These are just some of the exotic dishes that are offered.
And if you really want to end the day with a bang, stop by for ice cream. Although I'm around ice cream all day, I'm still always craving some! Don't forget to say "hi" to me and wish me a happy new year!
Chinatown is definitely my favorite place in NYC. I'm not only saying this for obvious reasons (such as we have the best ice cream) but because Chinatown has so much culture. It is always so lively, bustling with people.
Here, you can buy some of the best quality items for the cheapest prices. I will not buy my seafood, produce or meats anywhere else. Growing up, my father would always buy things fresh from Chinatown and cook them in our home in Queens. To this day, I still continue this tradition.
Chinatown also offers a variety of cusines. Some of the varieties are Cantonese, Shanghainese, Fujianese, Vietnamese, and Malaysian. Where else can you eat a delicious meal for about $5. That's even cheaper than fast food.
We also have museums, shopping, and our occasional festivals and parades. For more information you should check out www.explorechinatown.com.
And by the way...whatever you do in Chinatown, make sure to save room for ice cream! =)