Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images

North America’s 10 Oldest Chinatowns

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images

Chinese New Year has arrived. For those looking to ring in the Year of the Monkey, you don’t have to hop a plane to have an authentic experience. From New York to San Francisco, North America is full of historic and fun-filled pockets of Chinese culture. Here’s how to celebrate at 10 of the oldest.


Founded: 1848

What to do: The line out the door at Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco’s Chinatown should tip you off that it has some of the best food in town; get there early for egg custard tarts before they run out. Around the time of the mid-autumn festival, Golden Gate is also the best place for moon cakes. Further immerse yourself in the culture at The Chinese Historical Society of America.


Founded: 1858

What to do: Victoria's Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada, measures 35 inches across. Although the street is a popular tourist destination in its own right, there's much more to do than take arm-stretching selfies: The alley and surrounding streets are full of tea, clothing, and souvenir shops.


Founded: 1860s

What to do: Now, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese communities have been incorporated into Seattle's International District. Visit the Wing Luke Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian, to learn about the Pan-Asian experience in the U.S.



Founded: 1870

What to do: The restaurant Hop Louie is housed in a bright yellow, five-level pagoda built in 1941. Head straight for the bar and order a Scorpion bowl.


Founded: 1870

What to do: Dr. Sun Yat-sen Park celebrates the Chinese leader, who spent his formative years on Oahu, and features a sculpture of him as a 13-year-old boy. Honolulu is a sister city of Zhongshan, where Dr. Sun was born.


Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

Founded: 1870s

What to do: Nom Wah Tea Parlor, which opened in 1920, is still owned by the same family and is the oldest continually-run dim sum place in the city. Go hungry.


Founded: 1870s

What to do: The Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland features plants like orchids, peonies, and bamboo; there's also a traditional Chinese-style teahouse.


Founded: 1877

What to do: This Chinatown is home to four paifang, or arches, one facing each cardinal direction. In particular, the bright red southern arch is a popular selfie site.


Robert Giroux/Getty Images

Founded: 1886

What to do: The striking Canadian Chinese Monument on Keefer Street was built to honor the many Chinese immigrants who built Canada's national railway as well as the Chinese men who fought for Canada in World War II.


Founded: 1900-1910

What to do: Head to Dragon City Mall for textiles, home goods, sweets, and other products sent straight from the mainland.

Google Adds 'Wheelchair Accessible' Option to Its Transit Maps

Google Maps is more than just a tool for getting from Point A to Point B. The app can highlight the traffic congestion on your route, show you restaurants and attractions nearby, and even estimate how crowded your destination is in real time. But until recently, people who use wheelchairs to get around had to look elsewhere to find routes that fit their needs. Now, Google is changing that: As Mashable reports, the company's Maps app now offers a wheelchair accessible option to users.

Anyone with the latest version of Google Maps can access the new feature. After opening the app, just enter your starting point and destination and select the public transit choices for your trip. Maps will automatically show you the quickest routes, but the stations it suggests aren't necessarily wheelchair accessible.

To narrow down your choices, hit "Options" in the blue bar above the recommended routes then scroll down to the bottom of the page to find "Wheelchair accessible." When that filter is checked, your list of routes will update to only show you bus stops and subways that are also accessible by ramp or elevator where there are stairs.

While it's a step in the right direction, the new accessibility feature isn't a perfect navigation tool for people using wheelchairs. Google Maps may be able to tell you if a station has an elevator, but it won't tell you if that elevator is out of service, an issue that's unfortunately common in major cities.

The wheelchair-accessible option launched in London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney on March 15, and Google plans to expand it to more transit systems down the road.

[h/t Mashable]

Gumdrop LTD.
British Designer Recycles Used Chewing Gum Into Everyday Items—Including the Soles of Shoes
Gumdrop LTD.
Gumdrop LTD.

Even if you never chew gum, you may have stepped on a gob of the stuff discarded on a sidewalk or felt it stuck beneath a park bench. Chewing gum is the second most common source of litter, behind cigarettes, and because it isn't biodegradable, cities are struggling to get rid of it. Now, the BBC reports that British designer Anna Bullus has found an ingenious alternative to tossing old gum on the ground: She's repurposing it into new products normally made out of rubber or plastic.

Bullus started her gum recycling project by installing bright pink bins called Gumdrops around sites in the UK. The containers, which are made from recycled gum themselves, come with signs telling passersby that any old gum dropped into the bin will be recycled. In some places, the receptacles led to an 89 percent decrease in gum litter.

After analyzing the chemistry of chewing gum, Bullus found that it contains polyisobutylene, a type of polymer similar to plastic that's often used as a synthetic rubber. This means it can be used to make everyday products like doorstops, coffee cups, and plasticware. It can even been turned into playful pink soles for shoes, which look much more attractive than the gum that normally ends up on the bottom of your shoe.

The collected gum is processed with other plastic polymers at a recycling plant in Worcester, and from there it's sent to a plastic molding specialist in Leicester, where Bullus executes her designs. Combs, lunchboxes, pencils, Frisbees and many other items made from gum are available to order from the Gumdrop website. Anna Bullus is also accepting suggestions of other products to make from the chewed-up gum she collects.

Pink coffee cups.

Pink guitar pick.

Dog catching frisbee.

Pink rubber boot.

[h/t BBC]

All images courtesy of Gumdrop Ltd.


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