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Chinatown is a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, California, that became a commercial center for Chinese and other Asian businesses in Central Los Angeles in 1938. The area includes restaurants, shops, and art galleries but also has a residential neighborhood with a low-income, aging population of about 20,000 residents.  The original Chinatown developed in the late 19th century but was demolished to make room for Union Station, the city’s major ground-transportation ground transportation center. A separate commercial center, known as “New Chinatown,” opened for business in 1938.


In the early 1860s, thousands of Chinese men from Guangdong province in southern China were hired by Central Pacific Railroad Co. to work on the western portion of the first transcontinental railroad. Many of them settled in Los Angeles. In the Chinese massacre of 1871, 19 Chinese men and boys were killed by a mob of about 500 men in Los Angeles, CA, known as Calle de Los Negros or Negro Alley, known as a dangerous area for two decades. It was one of the most severe incidents of racial violence that have ever occurred in the American West.

The first Chinatown, centered on Alameda and Macy Streets (now Cesar Chavez Avenue), was established in 1880. Reaching its heyday from 1890 to 1910, Chinatown grew to approximately fifteen streets and alleys containing some two hundred buildings. It boasted a Chinese Opera theater, three temples, a newspaper, and a telephone exchange. But laws prohibiting most Chinese from citizenship and property ownership, and legislation curtailing immigration inhibited future growth.


The 2010 U.S. census counted 20,913 residents in the 0.91-square-mile Chinatown neighborhood, excluding the population of the Los Angeles County Jail complex. That made an average of 9,650 people per square mile, which included the empty Cornfield area. The ethnic breakdown in 2010: Asian, 68.8%; Latino, 14.7%; blacks, 6.7%; whites, 8.7%; mixed race, 0.8%; and others, 2.3%. The median household income in 2010 dollars ($29,000) was the third-lowest in Los Angeles County, preceded by Watts ($28,200) and Downtown ($24,300). The percentage of households earning $20,000 or less (53.6%) was the third-largest in Los Angeles County, preceded by Downtown (57.4%) and University Park (56.6%). The average household size of 2.8 people was just about the city norm. Renters occupied 91% of the housing units, and home- or apartment owners the rest.


Chinatown is in the process of becoming an entirely new place. At the height of popularity, Chinatown was filled with bustling Chinese restaurants, including barbecue delicatessen with glass displays of roast duck and suckling pig and Cantonese seafood restaurants with dim sum. As the action in Chinese cuisine became centered in the San Gabriel Valley, southeast Asian eating places filled some empty spaces and offered Vietnamese pho noodle soup and submarine sandwiches called banh mi. As downtown revives, Chinatown has been sparked into life by cheap rents, the gallery booms in the 2000s, and a deep-rooted sense of community. Chinese bakeries and other shops continue to serve the area. Various new restaurants are joining traditional Chinese restaurants that have remained as the opportunities additional restaurateurs recognize Chinatown offers. The site is better served by transit than in many areas with Union Station. Even though low-income seniors remain, college graduates can find their first apartment here, and condos are becoming available for the affluent. This economic diversity encourages a diversity of places to serve the area. Bed Bug Exterminator LA King

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