In Traditional Chinese Medicine the eyes are described as the window to the inner workings of the body, for in TCM the eyes are connected to all of the internal organs
Manhattan’s Chinatown is one of nine in New York City and one out of twelve in the New York metropolitan area, counting the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia. The early days of Chinatown were dominated by Chinese “tongs” (now called “associations”), which were a mixture of clans, landsman’s associations, political alliances (Kuomintang Nationalists vs. the Communist Party of China), and more secretly, crime syndicates.
For New Yorkers it’s the mix of businesses which makes Chinatown so valuable. The associations started to give protection from harassment due to anti-Chinese sentiment which was quite common in those days. While this is still true to some extent, Chinatowns in general are today perceived as trading hubs more than anything else. In Downtown Manhattan the trading aspect clearly dominates but there are also other commercially and culturally relevant fields such as medical services as well as the hospitality and restaurant industry.
While this might not be true anymore, in the past it was the place where you’d find anything from jewellery to fake as well as real brand name fashion, electronics, plastics, tools and of course, exotic foods and medicine from the Far East. You can find retailers offering an unseen product variety in their special field which draws shoppers from all over the tri-state-area. Before the internet this was a huge advantage for both the shop owners as well as customers. Famous examples include Pearl Paint Art Supplies, Canal Industrial Plastics, Canal Foam & Rubber, Church Street Surplus and the Hai Leng Jewellery Corporation.