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Dead and Fading Away

Photo: Alex Peng

Photo: Alex Peng

Photo: Alex Peng

Photo: Alex Peng

Photo: Alex Peng

Photo: Alex Peng

Photo: Alex Peng

Alex Peng, staff reporter

When it comes to an end of a journey, Chinatown USA has always known that it is hard to bid farewell, but necessary when there is an inevitable end.

There used to be historical “Chinatowns” scattered in Locke, CA, on Market Street in Newark, NJ, along the Eastern End of Downtown Houston in TX, or from 6th Street NW to 8th Street between H and I streets in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, they are now either gone or fading away.

The Chinatown area in the District of Columbia, recorded by the Washington Post, has been derided as “Chinablock” – with its dwindling population and lack of stores and services.

My recent visit to the “Old Chinatown” in Downtown Houston was full of stunning sadness. There was only one store standing and operating — Lam’s Florist & Gifts, which is owned by Eddy K. Lam. Mr. Lam came from Taishan, Canton to Houston via Hong Kong in 1950. He understands that the coming of a state-of-art, open-air soccer stadium nearby, mainly used for the Houston Dynamo, will be the straw to break the camel’s back. That is, the comeback of Chinatown.

When coming out of Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Station in Washington D.C. on a 101 degree afternoon recently, I stood at the corner of 7th Street NW and H Street trying to figure out destinations that I thought I should have known. The MCI Center has been replaced by the Verizon Center. Many stores and restaurants in the area are posting signs with “uncommon” Chinese translations and characters. Very few Chinese restaurants are open and are only located on 7th Street NW. near the Friendship Arch.

What can New York’s own Chinatown learn from these places? To feel a surge of schadenfreude or share with sense of emergency?

Short URL: http://www.ourchinatown.org/?p=5211

Posted by on Aug 3 2011. Filed under LIFESTYLE, NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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