The Chinatown Collection: A Way to Give Twice
Last August, in the midst of the pandemic, we launched the Chinatown Collection. Initially developed with grassroots initiative Welcome to Chinatown, the purpose of the Collection is to help bring revenue back into the small businesses, organizations, and artists of Manhattan's Chinatown, one of the earliest and hardest hit parts of the city.
At the same time, the Collection celebrates that community, which has been an inspiring source of strength and resilience, with community members coming together to feed elders and others in need, patrol and clean the streets, help mom-and-pop businesses modernize and survive, and document this most extraordinary time for future generations.
The Collection features merch from neighborhood favorites, community organizations, artists and designers, and those who simply have a deep love for Chinatown. All the profits from the Collection go back to Chinatown businesses, and a portion of every sale goes to a nonprofit working hard for the community. So in a way, gifting a piece from the Chinatown Collection is giving twice.
Here are some highlights from the Collection.
This retro-style T-shirt and sweatshirt were a collaboration with local Chinatown brand CYNONYC. This white "bao" T-shirt was created in celebration of Nom Wah's 100th anniversary in 2020 with a design from legendary graphic artist Milton Glaser (the creator of the iconic I ❤️ NY logo). The bao graphic first appeared in his book, The Underground Gourmet, a guide to affordable eats in the city, including Nom Wah.
Established in 1978, this longtime family businesses is one our favorites. While they recently shuttered their beloved Elizabeth Street location, they will be reopening soon on Centre Street (just a four-minute walk from our SoHo location). In the meantime, we satisfy our dim sum cravings at their Upper West Side location.
This Cantonese-style eatery sells everything from baked goods to to sweet and savory buns to zongzi (which we carry at Pearl River Mart Foods). During the pandemic, its general manager Patrick Mock started working to donate and deliver meals to those who had been displaced and the eldery and families in need. He's also one of the original founders of the Light Up Chinatown project.
The 46 Mott long-sleeve T-shirt features some of their tastiest eats on one sleeve and an illustration of Patrick delivering meals on the front.
This classic Manhattan Chinatown mainstay has been serving inexpensive eats since 1968. Their T-shirt and mug feature their fun retro design and logo.
Established in 1933, Fong On is the oldest family-run tofu shop in NYC, using age-old family recipes passed down by word-of-mouth. After closing its doors in 2017, the small Chinatown business reopened under the helm of Paul Eng, grandson of the original owner.
Their glass tumbler set, tote bag, and T-shirt feature their signature products, including soy milk, herbal tea, and tofu cakes.
Chinatown Mural Project
The Chinatown Mural Project was founded to create and install culturally appropriate murals reflecting Chinatown culture and the daily lives of residents. Their latest is dedicated to the late, great photographer, Corky Lee. You can learn more about the Chinatown Mural Project in our interview with founder Karlin Chan.
Their T-shirt in our collection features artist Peach Tao’s mural, “Mahjong Social,” a celebration of the various denizens of the area, including both Chinese and Jewish residents, coming together to play one of our favorite games.That's just a taste! Be sure to visit the entire collection. If you're in an extra-giving mood, check out 10 nonprofits working hard to give back to the Chinatown and AAPI communities. You can also peruse all of our gift guides.