Chinatown, 2022

Some people spend their leisure time golfing, and some people spend their leisure time on their yacht; that second one’s still in the planning stage for me. Some people spend their leisure time climbing tall mountains; I’ll get around to that someday too.  Me, I spend my leisure time taking pictures in San Francisco, especially in Chinatown. What is it about this ancient ghetto that draws me to it? It’s not really ancient, most of it only goes back to 1906, and it’s not really a ghetto (marginal community) although I’ve read it being described as one by some urban scholars. My interest in the area goes back to when we were kids; going to Chinatown seemed like going to a different part of the world. Then, as I read more about the history of the community, the shanghaiing, opium dens, sexual slavery, tong wars, villains like “Little Pete”, it became more adventurous to go there. I think Telegraph Hill is the most romantic place in San Francisco to walk around at night, but Chinatown is the most intriguing. Chinatown is rebounding nicely from the COVID 19 Pandemic, and it’s good to see the crowds coming back. (Thumbnail images)

Grant Avenue at Commercial, looking south in the 1960s: (Pinterest)

The Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground in 1969. The playground has been recently renovated. The alley running alongside it from Sacramento to Clay Street is called Pagoda Place and Hang Ah Street. (Vintage Everyday)

Jackson Street at Ross Alley, looking west in 1969: The old Grandview Theater Building is on the right. This one turned out better in black and white. (Vintage Everyday)

Grant Avenue, looking north toward Clay Street in the 1960s: (Pinterest)

Jackson Street between Stockton Street and Grant Avenue, looking east in 1972: Even if the truck wasn’t blocking the view in my picture, you can’t see much of the old Appraisers Building in the background from here anymore. (Vintage Everyday)

Waverly Place, looking north from Clay Street in 1982: In the background, at the far end of Waverly Place, is the spot where the tong lord, “Little Pete” was assassinated in 1897. (Vintage Everyday)

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