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Chinatown

Chinatown, Boston Apartment Rentals

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The established Chinatown within New England is located in the downtown area of Boston, Massachusetts. The district centers on Beach Street near Boston’s South Station. The area is roughly bounded by Kneeland Street to the south, Surface Road to the east, Essex Street to the north, and Tremont Street to the West, with additional development extending down Tyler and Harrison streets to the Massachusetts Turnpike. The northwest corner extends near Boston Common.

In the pre-Chinatown era, the area was settled in succession by middle-class White Anglo Saxon Protestants from post-colonial times up to the 1830s and then by Irish, Jewish, Italian, and Syrian immigrants as each group replaced another to take advantage of low cost housing and job opportunities in the area. The Syrians were later succeeded by Chinese immigrants, and Chinatown was established in 1890. The remnants of the Syrian community began faded out by the 1940s. From the 1960s through the 1980s Boston’s red light district, the Combat Zone, was located next to Chinatown. But sandwiched between the dual expansions of Chinatown from the East and Emerson College from the West, the Combat Zone has shrunk to almost nothing. Currently, Boston’s Chinatown is experiencing a threat from gentrification policies as large luxury residential towers are built in and surrounding an area that was overwhelmingly three, four, and five-story small apartment buildings intermixed with retail and light-industrial spaces.

Today, the area hosts many Chinese, Japanese, Cambodian, and Vietnamese restaurants and markets. While there are many employment opportunities in the district, a common sight each morning are vans from suburban restaurants, picking up both supplies from the many Asian markets and workers for the restaurants.

Two bus services (Fung Wah and Lucky Star/Travelpack) provide hourly connections with New York’s Chinatown with the ride taking about four hours.

The traditional Chinatown Gate (paifang), surrounded by lions, is located at the intersection of Beach Street and Surface Road. Once a run-down area housing little more than a fan building for the Central Artery Tunnel, a garden is now being constructed at this site as part of Boston’s Big Dig. The Gate is visible from the South Station Bus Terminal and is a popular tourist destination and photo opportunity.