NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It has gone from gang fights to selfie sticks.
The oldest street in Chinatown has come a long way of late.
CBS2’s Valerie Castro caught up with the Chinese artist who helped transform Doyers Street into a tourist hot spot.
“This one called ‘Bloody Angle,'” Baishi Huang said.
Huang, the owner of Baishi Beauty Salon, said that’s what Doyers Street used to be nicknamed back in the 1900s, before she opened up her salon there 35 years ago.
“Actually, much better now. Before, this street was not really safe,” Huang said.
She said gangs would fight constantly on the 200-foot long street, and it was common to see blood stains, all over. But now, the Chinatown block has undergone a huge face lift.
“It’s very nice. I like it a lot. It makes the street beautiful and all the visitors come to see it,” Huang said.
It’s all thanks to a Chinese artist who was dedicated to transforming the street.
“Although it has been several generations since then, I hope people can still learn about the history of the street in a different form, especially the unique culture built later by the Chinese immigrants here,” Dongfan Chen said.
Chen, who lives in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, said he chose to paint an abstract dragon because of the shape of the road. It has a sharp bend in the middle, and he visualized the dragon winding its way up the street. He said he believes it’s also the best representation of Chinese culture.
“This mural is called ‘The Song of Dragon and Flowers.’ The theme of it is love and peace, which is the spirit of Chinatown here,” Chen said.
The mural is already drawing more tourists to the area, which the artist said he hoped for from the very beginning. Friends visiting from California said they’ve been to Chinatown plenty of times, but wanted to stop by on this trip to check out the street painting.
“We are really enjoying ourselves here,” Heidi Tho said.
“It definitely makes everything look nice and I want to recommend it to my friends,” Minh Mguyen added.
A once-blood-stained street is now covered with something everyone can appreciate.
The mural is only seasonal. It will remain painted until Nov. 1. During that time, the road will be closed to all vehicles from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.