By Emily Drooby
Walking, walking and more walking. That is how Anna Huang and Chloe Chan spend their free time while teaching others about Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Together, they’re the “Mott Street Girls” named for a popular downtown road and cheekily for MSG – a flavor enhancer often associated with Chinese food.
The two started this tour business after the pandemic shut down the local museum they volunteered with. Part of the drive behind the business was to help drive traffic back to Chinatown.
“We just thought, this is our niche, this is what we can bring to the table with our pre-existing skill sets,” Chloe explained.
The result? Historical walking tours done by the two second-generation Chinese Americans with close ties to this community.
The two are creating understanding during a pivotal time.
In New York City, attacks against Asian-Americans have been surging.
In the first half of 2021, the NYPD reported 102 hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Back in 2020 during the same time frame, there were only 21 incidents.
That’s a fear Anna and Chloe are forced to live with, but they’re fighting back and their weapon is this tour and the understanding it promotes.
“Drawing parallels of history is like seeing eye-to-eye on a lot of things and I think that helps us stop the Asian hate crimes,” Anna said, “because you’re being empathetic with each other, you’re trying to understand each other better.”
Also, the dynamic duo are bringing much needed business back to the area.
“I think that our role as second-generation Chinese Americans is to combat that misinformation and all of that stereotypes against Chinese Americans to show that personal side of our story,” Chloe explained, “to show the people and the faces behind these businesses in our community.”
MSG – it’s a business but also, it’s a calling. One Anna and Chloe have happily answered.