A Journey Through Chinatown

Links & Resources

Browse the Bookstore for selected titles on NYC History, the Five Points, Chinatown, cookbooks, NYC visitor guides, and more!

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- Photographer Rights -
Resources on what rights the photographer has when photographing in public, and legal recourses when their rights have been violated.
  • The Photographer's Right
    by Bert P. Krages II

  • Photographers' Guide to Privacy
    by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

  • A Citizen's Guide to Reporting on #OccupyWallStreet
    by Citizen Media Law Project

    Q. 2: Do I have the right to record police action at the protest? Do I have a right to record the protesters?

    Yes, so long as you do not violate other generally applicable laws in the process. See Q. 7. You have a right under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution not to be arrested for recording the police or protesters unless the police have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime.

    Some state wiretapping laws criminalize the electronic recording of oral statements or communications in public without permission; however, New York's wiretap law [22] only protects oral communications in which the participants in the communication have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Thus, New York permits you to openly record conversations (including oral statements by protesters or the police) with the consent of a party to the conversation or if you are physically present at the conversation. [23] You might violate the law if you make a secret recording (for example, by leaving a recording device running and then leaving the area) or record someone talking on a cellular phone or other electronic communication device.

    There is no law in New York that prohibits the publication of private facts about individuals, and so you cannot be sued in civil court for publishing such facts (although you could still be sued or arrested for trespassing, assault, or other torts or crimes committed in the course of gathering information; see Q.7). [24]

    You might also have a specific First Amendment right to record the activities of the police in public. This right has been recognized in jurisdictions outside of New York, [25] and would trump any state law that would otherwise prohibit such recording. However, no New York court has ruled on the existence of this right. [26]

    [22] N.Y. Penal L. Sec. 250.00, 250.05.
    [23] See People v. Gibson, 246 N.E.2d 349 (N.Y. 1969); People v. Kirsh, 575 N.Y.S.2d 306 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st 1991).
    [24] See Howell v. New York Post Co., 612 N.E.2d 699 (N.Y. 1993); Shiffman v. Empire Blue Cross, 681 N.Y.S.2d 511 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st 1998).
    [25] See, e.g., Glik v. Cunniffe, --- F.3d ----, 2011 WL 3769092 (1st Cir. Aug. 26, 2011); Smith v. City of Cumming, 212 F.3d 1332 (11th Cir. 2000); Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436 (9th Cir. 1995).
    [26] At least one federal court in New York has ruled that the taking of photographs for purely personal enjoyment is not protected by the First Amendment, but that court was careful to distinguish personal photography from photography or recording intended to be disseminated to the public. Porat v. Lincoln Towers Community Ass'n, 2005 WL 646093 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 21, 2005).

  • ACLU "Know your Rights" Bust Card
    What to do when stopped by the police, fbi, or immigration

  • "Know your Rights Palm Card"
    by National Lawyer's Guild

  • Know Your Rights
    by JustUs Law Collective

  • links to various photo rights info http://www.flickr.com/groups/photography_is_not_a_crime/discuss/72157604248655813

  • NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theater & Broadcasting - proposed redraft of new photography rules allowing hand-held equipment without first obtaining a permit

    ...this new redraft was due to protests over the first drafted version that nearly required a majority of people (tourists, and anybody in a group of 2 or more) to obtain photo permits, and $1 million insurance just to photograph on the streets of new york. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/nyregion/29camera.html

    ..nyc film office adopts the new rules http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/news/070108_moftb_adopts_rules.shtml

  • New York Recording Law
    recording conversations, and wiretap laws by Citizen Media Law Project

  • 17 USC § 120(a) - Pictorial Representations Permitted

  • Copyright Crash Course
    A simplified method of determining "Fair Use" of copyright materials, and other information. http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/copypol2.htmlt

- Memories & Stories of NYC -

- Photo Resources and Exhibits -

  • Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
    LC is a superb resource, with approximately 50% of their photo catalog available online. Large sized images are displayed on computers outside LC for those materials cleared of any copyright, or licensing, or any other rights concerns; otherwise they display as small thumbnails. Luckily, the Bain Collection is in the public domain, and rights-free, and LC does not charge a usage fee. The Bain Collection consists of circa 1900-1931 photos collected for the Bain News Service with emphasis placed on New York City, and some of Chinatown.

    Another collection with a lot of circa 1900 photos of Old New York including New York Chinatown is the Detroit Publishing Co collection.

    Another great collection is the Gemthe Collection with many circa 1900 photos of San Francisco old Chinatown. For some photographs, both the original, and retouched versions are included (Gemthe sometimes manipulated his photographs in order to sell Chinatown as an "exotic" locale.) Unfortunately, only thumbnails of the collection are provided because of rights concerns.

    The Ansel Adams Collection is another excellent collection featuring 244 photographs depicting life at the Japanese American Interment camp at Manzanar in 1943.

    The HABS/HAER/HALS collection document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States.

    That's just a fraction of what you will find at the LOC PP division website http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/catalog.html

  • Library of Congress, American Memory
    "American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections."

  • National Archives & Record Administration, and the Archival Research Catalog
    Currently, about 20% of the national archives is described through ARC. Documents not in ARC can still be found by searching through the record groups in NARA's main website, (www.archives.gov). Also available through ARC is a small, but growing number of archival material that have been digitized--photos, sound, video, maps, and documents.

  • New York Public Library
    Featured on the NYPL website are several high quality collection of photographs. Of note is Bernice Abbott's "Changing New York" (1935-1938) consisting of 34 high quality digital images documenting the city, Wickes Hine's "Construction of the Empire State Building" (1930-1931), Dylan Stone's collection of 26,000 documentary block-by-block streetscape photos of lower manhattan taken in 1999, and Perry Loomis Sperr's collection of 17,800+ photos of streets and buildings throughout the five Boroughs circa 1910-1940.

  • The NYPL, Mid Manhattan Library Picture Collection Online
    The "Digital Picture Collection" is a superb resource of over 30000 digital photographs in the public domain. Subjects include American History, (almost) everything about New York City, Fashion, Costumes, Apparel, and more! Note, however, that the NYPL charges a usage fee if you want to use an image for anything outside of fair use.

  • AP Photo Database
    If you need a photo for a book report, a term paper, class hand-out, or presentation, you can bet the Associated Press Photo Database has it. Access to the database is by subscription only, and most likely your local library will have a subscription. Some libraries allow access over the Internet outside the library.

  • NY Newsday Photos
    lots of local interest news photos/slideshows can be viewed on their website. http://www.nynewsday.com

  • NY1
    local news video (in realplayer format) dating back to sept 1999, can be downloaded/viewed from their website http://www.ny1.com

  • Museum of the City of NY, Prints and Photographs Collection
    The museum website features several excellent exhibits on New York City. "Gotham Comes of Age", New York through the Lens of the Byron Company, 1892 - 1942, is a published book available for online viewing in its entirety. Berenice Abbott's "Changing New York" is an exhaustive annotated exhibition of Abbott's work. "New York Before the War", a WPA-sponsored arts project; and some of Jacob Riis' photographs documenting the poverty of Mulberry Bend (today Columbus Park) are also available for view. Lastly, Gaelic Gotham: A History of the Irish in New York", a small exhibition.

  • New York City Municipal Archives
    The municipal archives do not have an online catalog. They do, however, have a small photo gallery of images taken from their archives, as well as information about their many photo collections. The "Tax" Photographs archive consists of photographs taken of every house and building in NYC between the years 1939 to 1941. The "Bertillon" cards archive consists of about 6000 criminal "mugshots". The Health Department archive, Department of Public Charities and Hospitals, Department of Sanitation, Dept of Bridges, etc. also there are approximately 5000 WPA photos too. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doris/html/collections_photographs.html

  • Making of America
    Making of America is a rich primary source for books and journals printed in the 19th century with titles focusing on education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science. There are approximately 8,500 books, and 2,500 journals available online both in (uncorrected) text, pdf, and image format. http://moa.umdl.umich.edu

  • LaGuardia and Wagner Archives
    The archives of LaGuardia Community College documents the social and political history of New York City through photos, documents, and oral history. The collection includes the personal, and official papers of NYC Mayors, LaGuardia, Wagner, Beame, and Koch; the records of Steinway & Sons; the New York City Council; and the documents of the New York City Housing Authority dating from the 1920s-1980s with numerous before-and-after photos of old streets, and buildings (the images displayed online are small.) http://www.housingauthority.lagcc.cuny.edu/nycha/

  • LIFE photo archive hosted by Google
    LIFE magazine photo archive http://images.google.com/hosted/life

  • Masters of Photography
    Masters of photography from A-Z along with a huge collection of photographs. About one or two are specific to the area around Chinatown.

  • National Register of Historic Places
    photo/document archives of the national park service. see also the HABS/HAER/HALS at the library of congress website. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreghome.do?searchtype=natreghome

  • eBay Antique (Pre-1940) Photographic Images
    You can always count on eBay for finding scans of old photos, and images that are difficult to find elsewhere. For easier searching, the main category is divided into sub-categories such as magic lantern glass slides, stereoviews, and more.

  • Digital Public Library of America
    New archive expected to make available cultural and scientific collections of various institutions. -rkchin, march 2013. http://dp.la

- General Resources, and Local Area Information -

  • Boston Chinatown Atlas
    A collaborative project telling the story of Boston's Chinatown

  • Asian Nation
    "An edited chapter on the major historical events and contemporary characteristics of the Chinese American community, excerpted from The New Face of Asian Pacific America: Numbers, Diversity, and Change in the 21st Century, edited by Eric Lai and Dennis Arguelles in conjunction with AsianWeek Magazine and published by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center."

  • The Gotham Center for New York City History
    The Gotham Center contains a wealth of historical information about NYC from the historical community at large. Of note is the resource page listing a vast number of historical, and cultural-related websites, institutions, and neighborhood websites.

    Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
    Oxford University Press. 2000. 1350 pp.

    USA click for price and purchase info at Amazon.com USA     UK click for price and purchase info at Amazon.co.uk UK

    "...By any standard, Burrows and Wallace, history professors at Brooklyn College and John Jay College, CUNY, respectively, have written a comprehensive and highly engrossing political, social, and cultural history of the Big Apple. ... the authors instinctively veer from the great man theory whenever possible, describing great women and lesser lights whose actions had profound influence in and beyond the city. It is a strategy that serves them well as they reveal the changing moods of the people and the effects of technological advances on all strata of New York society." --Frank Caso

  • Asian American Federation publications
    Studies and reports on issues affecting Asian Americans.

  • Rebuild Chinatown
    The plan to rebuild, and renew Chinatown, and guide it's future. there are some zoning and land use maps on the website

  • Chinatown Planning study
    Contains a neighborhood planning report for creating a special Chinatown zoning district (for streamlining future development in the area). Includes detailed maps of land use in the neighborhood.

  • The Chinatown Files
    This film documents of the persecution of Chinese Americans during the McCarthy era.
    main site - http://www.chinatownfiles.org
    film info - http://www.asianamericanmedia.org

  • Chinatown After Sept 11th: An Economic Impact Study
    Asian American Federation of NY study on the impact of September 11 on Chinatown's economy.

  • Chinatown after September 11
    AsiaSource article briefly summarizing the impact of 9/11 on Chinatown with links to dozens of stories and reports.

  • NYC Chinatown: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
    A high school curriculum based on New York City government records.

  • Marjorie Chan's ChinaLinks
    Annotated links to over 600 China- and Chinese language and linguistics-related websites.

  • Old Streets of New York
    Origin of New York City street names and changes.

  • Lower Manhattan
    The site for official Lower Manhattan news, and tourism information.

  • China Online
    Listing hundreds of sites relating to Chinese arts, culture, history, Chinatowns, and more.

- Civil Rights -

- Five Points Resources -

click for Five Points map page

Five Points: The Nineteenth-Century New York City Neighborhood That Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections and Became the Worlds Most Notorious Slum
by Tyler Anbinder

The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld
by Herbert Asbury

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