Chinatown after dark

I took the new Central Subway back to Chinatown recently to stop in at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory before closing time at 7:00 PM. There’s something special about Chinatown after dark that’s almost as magical as Main Street in Disneyland at night. Later, I walked around Chinatown to update some old pictures and postcards of Chinatown at night. (Thumbnail images)

The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is in Ross Alley. Long ago, this alley was an extremely dangerous place to be in, complete with hatchet men and Tong wars. In the cookie factory, you bring your fortunes in and the lady there puts them in a freshly baked fortune cookie, molds it into shape, and puts the cookie in a pagoda decorated little box.

Grant Avenue near Clay Street during the 1950s; lit up in the vintage picture like ‘Neon Noodle’ in the old Daffy Duck cartoon, ‘The Great Piggy Bank Robbery’. (

Grant Avenue near California Street in a postcard from the 1960s:

The old Lipo Lounge, at Grant Avenue near Jackson Street, is back open again. You can see part of their neon sign in my picture. The Lipo has this circular and exotic looking entrance. (

The Dim Sum Building, across the street from Old St. Mary’s Church, all lit up in 1911:

Grant Avenue near Pacific Avenue during the 60s: Near Broadway, this used to be a favorite dining area in Chinatown at night, but it’s kind of quiet now.

Public art in San Francisco

Often when I’m “out in the field” looking for vintage picture or movie locations, I’ll spot examples of artistic expression that I wouldn’t have seen if I wasn’t looking for something else. (Thumbnail images)

An interesting reproduction (maybe) of an old 1904 painting on the wall of the men’s room in the Pier 23 Restaurant on the Embarcadero:

I’m not sure about this one on Clay Street in Chinatown. Picasso may have liked it, but the girl with her butt where her stomach should be makes me wonder if I really do know anything about art.

In front of the new Transbay Terminal on Mission Street, during the Holidays: You see, if you look at it from the other side, it says JOY. “Yes, Tim.”

It’s a tough job, and they’re recruiting them younger and younger nowadays. This painting was on Oak Street at Franklin a few years ago, but it’s gone now.

They even decorate some of the public toilets with a Downtown San Francisco map; a great place to get one’s bearings. Yeah, I wasn’t looking for art when I stopped here.

There’s also a place where you can create your own artistic expression; the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Ross Alley. Bring your own fortunes or prophesies, and they’ll put them in a freshly baked fortune cookie.

Street artists in Ross Alley getting ready for the 2023 Chinese New Year Parade that will run on Saturday, February 4th:

I guess façade lighting can be considered art, even if it’s for a lost cause. It was lively and exciting in San Francisco last Saturday night when I took this picture of City Hall, but quiet and lonely the following night.

Now we come to my kind of art. These are enlargements of old comic book covers in the window of the toy store at Maiden Lane.