By Raymond Fernandez
Chinatown is a historic, ethnic neighborhood in Los Angeles that has served as a port of entry for immigrants of diverse national origins throughout its more than 156 year history. The first record of Chinese people in Los Angeles dates to 1852. By 1870, an identifiable Chinatown was inhabited by 300 Chinese immigrants and situated on Calle de los Negros or ‘Street of the Dark Hued Ones’.
These early, mostly male, Chinese were mainly laundrymen, market gardeners, agricultural and ranch workers, and road builders. Despite the heavy discrimination in the late 19th century, Chinese held a dominant economic position in the Los Angeles laundry and produce industries for several years of this period. Consequently, old Chinatown flourished, expanding eastward from the Plaza across Alameda Street and eventually attaining a population of over 3000.
Exploring Los Angeles Chinatown is a rewarding adventure. This colorful urban setting, only a stone’s throw from the city’s civic and cultural center, explodes in a fantasy of sights, sounds and colors during Chinese New Year, Chinatown Summer Nights each summer and each fall, Moon Festival and CicLAvia. Every day of the year, Chinatown is a veritable movable feast for the senses, a vibrant center of commerce, tourism, culture and community.
There are numerous ways to enjoy all the unique treasures found in Chinatown. For more information visit chinatownla.com