Chinatown is one of six Chinatown neighborhoods in New York City and is more Shanghai bazaar than city streetscape along Pell and Mott streets. It is ever-expanding as a vibrant and colorful neighborhood that is full of high energy. There are many outdoor cafes in the area but in Chinatown dining is still done indoors.
A great way to fully experience the cultural aspects of Chinatown is to go shopping on the weekend on Canal Street, take a food tour at the many restaurants serving authentic Chinese cuisine. "Wo Hop" has been a working man's place for good inexpensive food for many years. Beware, the lines on the weekends go up the stairs and the wait can be long, but worth it.
If you are not faint of heart, head over to Division Street and East Broadway, both slicing under the Manhattan Bridge for a part of Chinatown where tourists seldom tread. Some of the food you see for sale will be a complete mystery.