6, J, N, Q, R, Z to Canal St.
This compact park, one of the city's first, was once a meeting place for the infamous rogues of the “Five Points,” the villains and thieves immortalized in Gangs of New York. Today Columbus Park is firmly part of the Chinatown community. In nice weather, hundreds of people congregate here to sit in the shade and socialize. On the outskirts of the park, fortunetellers and watercolor artists hock their wares. At the southern end, there is an Astroturf baseball diamond where teens play catch, and in the middle, tai chi and kung fu are practiced. Columbus Park was designed by Calvert Vaux, who also worked on Central Park. Though much of the park had been concreted over, a federally funded restoration project—approved in March 2004—revamped it. The large pavilion, previously boarded up, was reconstructed as a community space, the park benches were replaced and an Asian-style garden was planted enhance the greenery.Chinese Checkers
Every day gaggles of men crowd around the picnic tables where fiercely competitive checker wars are waged.