L.A.’s Chinatown: Then and now

Long a mainstay of Los Angeles, resting just north of downtown, Chinatown has undergone a rough few decades, with areas like the San Gabriel Valley attracting Chinese immigrants and businesses away, and the area’s overall Chinese population on the decline.

Today the aging community has the feel of a museum. Grimy storefronts gather dust, abandoned by second- and third-generation locals and ignored by a shrinking trickle of tourists.

Now a new strategy is being adopted to try and turn around the district’s fortunes: Making Chinatown a bit less Chinese.

"Why shouldn’t we have a multicultural Chinatown?" asked George Yu, president of Chinatown’s business improvement district. "Why shouldn’t we have a good cup of [Starbucks coffee]? Little Tokyo has two of them, and no one says anything about that."

See more shots of the shifting landscape over at Framework, or read through Frank Shyong’s rundown of Chinatown’s reinvention here.

Photos: Julia Wall, Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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