Adventures on the Chinatown Bus – $2 NY ->Brooklyn
Ever wonder what those packed Chinese transportation vans double parked along Canal St go? To be honest we were kind of getting tired of the beaten path of Canal Street. Too many fucking peddlers crowding the sidewalks selling the same old crappy overpriced fakes and too tired to walk all the way out to East Broadway. So we saw a bunch of locals piling into a “kidnapper” type van parked on Canal and Mulberry. The sign says it’s going to Brooklyn Chinatown and the driver said it’s just $2. Another bus behind us was going to Flushing but we decided to head down to Brooklyn – never been down to Brooklyn Chinatown before.
Ok but first of all, we all know about the mafia connections that run the bus lines like Fung Wah and who knows about these transportation vans. I was a little afraid about taking a lot of photos but our driver didn’t seem to care too much. He did seem quite intimidating though as he barked a flurry of Fujian-ese into his Nextel phone and glared at the woman who didn’t slam the van door shut. Every minute delayed is money not earned in his opinion. At $2 a head, the van quickly earns around $20 for it’s quick 15-20 minute direct ride to Chinatown Brooklyn. (Try to beat that with a Taxi or the Train for the price and the speed). To further maximize profits, there’s a folding stool that is placed strategically between the driver and the passenger seat and serves as an overflow seat. No, it obviously doesn’t have a seatbelt and it’s within spitting distance from the driver so try to get a seat in the first or second row. As for the clientele, I noticed that it wasn’t just old ladies with groceries in the van either. There were a mix of young neighborhood kids as well as some Taiwanese hip teenagers with their flashy cell phones so I guess it’s a pretty reputable way of transportation. The driver asked us what street we wanted to get off and not knowing any of the local streets we just got off at 60th and 8th ave in the heart of Chinatown Brooklyn. The ride takes you over the Manhattan bridge down to the BQE and off into Chinatown. If I lived in that neighborhood, I would probably end up taking this van all the time just for the speed and convenience. We strolled up and down the block. Brooklyn Chinatown is pretty laid back – it’s not as crowded and has all the major things you’d want such as restaurants, grocery shops, bakeries and housewares – they also have specialties like real estate offices, travel offices and immigration lawyers. It’s way less touristy and I would imagine the prices are much more reasonable. There’s a NyoNya in Brooklyn too as well as Hong Kong Noodle Station. I had to make a stop in Dumbo on the way home and to take the trains during Labor Day weekend would have been a major ordeal so we just took the Chinatown van again and he dropped us off on the on ramp of the Manhattan Bridge. I love it! Definitely worth checking out!