NYS Archives | Partnership Trust | Education Department | Office of Cultural Education | NYS Home 
New York State Archives
Throughout the Ages
A Visual Document Resource

History | Capital District | Chinese Communities

Image. Photo of the Oriental Occidental Restaurant, Albany, 1926.
Photo of the Oriental Occidental Restaurant on State Street in Albany, New York. Circa 1926. Courtesy of the Albany Institute of History and Art.

The exact year that Chinese immigrants began to settle in the Albany, New York area is not known. The first listing of a Chinese business occurs in the 1877 Albany City Directory, when Yut Sing was listed as having a laundry in his home at 668 Broadway in Albany. Three years later, the U.S. Census counted five Chinese inhabitants of Albany. By 1886, the city directory had a total of nine laundries with Chinese surnames. The small community grew slowly in the early 1900's, but by 1920 there were listings for 24 Chinese laundries in Albany. One of the proprietors, Lee Hing, is noted in the New York Exclusion Records as having come to the United States at the young age of 18, entering through the port of San Francisco in 1886. He lived in New York City's Chinatown for a time, and then moved up the Hudson River to Albany, a common migration route for those who settled in the Capital District. The exclusion records reported that Mr. Hing first had an Albany address in 1907.

Many of the early Chinese residents of Albany lived in the area of Green Street and Hudson Avenue. In 1920, there were two Chinese restaurants on Green Street, and the following year the Oriental Occidental Restaurant opened at 44 State Street, now the site of Jack's Oyster House.

Vocabulary

Census: Official counting of people or things.
Inhabitants: People who live in area or dwell in a house.
Migration: Movement from one place to another.

Next page