June 7, 1938


New Chinatown opens, 1938.



Above and at right, a special feature of New Chinatown is a dragon salvaged from the old Times Building, presumably the one built at 1st Street and Broadway after the 1910 bombing. The metal dragon was part of the flagpole, according to Times columnist Ed Ainsworth.

Stay tuned as I go looking for the Harry Carr Gate on Main Street and let’s see if the old dragon from The Times is still around.

And in case you don’t know, New Chinatown was built to replace the original, which was demolished to make way for Union Station. This is why you can find Chinese artifacts whenever you stick a shovel in the ground in that neighborhood.

Planners and civic improvement groups had been trying to consolidate the city’s various railroad depots for more than 30 years when Union Station was built. When it comes to transportation, nothing ever happens quickly in Los Angeles.

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Howard Decker writes:

Interesting stuff about Chinatown. There was a third Chinatown in El Lay. A Chinese friend of mine took me
there in 1979, and a very few Chinese shops were still there, including a restaurant. As I recall it is was in the vicinity of Pico and Broadway. I seem to recall it came into use after the Chinese got kicked out of the Union Station area.

Spent some mighty good times in "the new" Chinatown. There was a restaurant/bar owner there back in the 1950s who loved newspaper people and would pour monster drinks and half of the time would forget to charge ya. Also, when I was with the East West Players we used to go there. Some folks in the know would lead us down dark alleyways and take us to great noodle
places, dirt cheap, full of Chinese folks. That’s always a good sign. And one actress had been married to Gen. Lee’s son and they were friendly and would serve up a vast dinner for peanuts at his restaurant.

As a cub reporter on the midnight to 8 am shift we’d go a lot of the time to Chung Mee’s, near Chinatown, which was one of the few places you could get a decent meal at 4 a.m. in them days. Their lobster in black bean sauce was $3.50 — a little pricey, but worth it.



About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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