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New York’s Oldest Dim Sum Restaurant and the Secrets of Chinatown

There's an alley in the middle of Chinatown in Manhattan that's different from almost all the other streets in New York, because it has a bend in it. It has a dark and mysterious past, but it's still lined with businesses, including the Nom Wah Tea Parlor, which has been in business since 1920. The eatery has witnessed some of the events that gave the alley, called Doyers Street, the nickname Bloody Angle.  

For this cramped corner of Chinatown, with its sharp angled bend, was the home of the Hip Sing Tong, who waged vicious gang warfare with the rival  On Leongs. According to the Times, “law-enforcement officials say more people have died violently at Bloody Angle….that at any intersection in America.”

The angle was the perfect ambush spot. Herbert Asbury in his slightly more salacious than historical 1928 book ‘Gangs of New York’, wrote how “armed with snickersee and hatchet sharpened to a razor’s edge, the Tong killer lay in wait for his victim, and having cut him down as he came round the bend, fled through the arcade, or plunged into the theatre and thence into Mott or Pell Street through one of the underground passageways.”

The Nom Wah Tea Parlor looks much the same as it did in the 1920s, and the Hip Sing Association is still headquartered at Doyers Street. Read about their history, and see plenty of pictures at Messy Nessy Chic.

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