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Old Posted Jun 26, 2011, 11:09 PM
geomorph geomorph is offline
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Location: San Francisco
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San Francisco - Chinatown

Chinatown is a neighborhood within San Francisco's 7-mile by 7-mile city limits. It is a small area, about 2-3 blocks wide on the East-West axis and about 9 blocks long on the North-South axis. Despite its small size, it is a vibrant and lively neighborhood and reportedly has the highest residential concentration in the Western U.S. despite the relatively low height of most of the buildings. It is surrounded by several other neighborhoods, most of which are considered part of the downtown: to the East is the Financial District, to the South is the Union Square area, to the West is Nob Hill, to the Northwest is Russian Hill, and to the North is North Beach. The terrain is not flat but it is not as steep as the nearby hill neighborhoods that rise above it. Much of the building stock is historic and dates from 1906 to the mid-1920's, and during this re-building phase after the Great Earthquake there was a conscious effort to create an exoticized identity to the neighborhood in the form of Chinese-influenced architectural details. Despite being on the well-worn tourist path in the city, the neighborhood is still mostly composed of Chinese-American and Chinese residents and businesses.

Chinatown Alleyway Plaque:
This plaque is set in the pavement of one of the many narrow alleys. Although it truncates the extent of the neighborhood by a few blocks North and South (left and right as this photo is oriented) it is a good map to introduce this thread.

Portsmouth Square:
This block is occupied by a heavily-used urban park and can be considered Chinatown's 'town square'. It is adjacent to the Financial District's skyscrapers and sits above a parking garage. The taller buildings of Nob Hill are also easily seen on the ridge above. It is on the site of the first public square in San Francisco's Mexican predecessor, the town of Yerba Buena.

Cross Street Views:
The larger streets that run East and West through the neighborhood reveal dramatic contrasts between Chinatown and the Financial District.

Chinatown Gate:
This marked entrance to the neighborhood on Grant Avenue is the Southern border and is reached from the Union Square area.

Grant Avenue:
The most famous street in the neighborhood runs on the North-South axis and is a one-way thoroughfare for vehicles. It is lined with shops and restaurants and is a hive of activity, although the true major business street for locals is one block West, the less scenic Stockton Street.

This two-block long wide alley features many classic Chinatown buildings.

This one is more typical of the pedestrian-only thoroughfares.

Various Architectural Details and Facades:

Dr. Sun Yat-sen:
This statue is located in St. Mary's Square, another block park above a parking garage on the edge of the Financial District and much quieter than Portmouth Square.

All photographs taken in 2011 by geomorph.

My other San Francisco photo threads:

Civic Center: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192243

The Embarcadero: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...58#post5339958

Financial District - Historic Era: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192867

Financial District - Modern Era: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=192884

Marina: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=197757

Mission Bay - Mission Creek Channel: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=197751

Nob Hill: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...50#post5342350

Pacific Heights: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=193459

Russian Hill: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=193318

Telegraph Hill: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=193160

Union Square: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...37#post5346737

Last edited by geomorph; Feb 19, 2012 at 11:33 PM.
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2011, 12:01 AM
bigcubfan bigcubfan is offline
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Nice pics. I just got back from SF a month ago and have a boatload of pics from Chinatown. I'll post them eventually.
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2011, 4:21 AM
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xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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Great pictures. You captured the detail well.

Like Bigcubsfan, I also have Chinatown pictures to eventually put up. We should get the entire neighborhood covered between the three of us.
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2011, 4:30 AM
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Double L Double L is offline
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To me, among the many assets of a good city, none is better than diversity.
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2011, 10:23 AM
sterlippo1 sterlippo1 is offline
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the place is iconic and doesnt seem to have changed much in the many times i've visited it in the past 40 years
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2011, 7:56 PM
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Coldrsx Coldrsx is offline
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I found it somewhat tacky and far too touristy until i meandered off of the one main street into more of the 'locals' areas. Great dim sum.
"The destructive effects of automobiles are much less a cause than a symptom of our incompetence at city building" - Jane Jacobs 1961ish

Wake me up when I can see skyscrapers
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2011, 11:34 PM
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goldcntry goldcntry is offline
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Thanks for all the great memories! Growing up, once a month we'd go to our favorite restaurant: Far East Café!

You made my day... and made me hungry...
Progressivism is the cancer in both parties... If you never stand for something then you'll fall for anything.
Something we could all agree on...
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Old Posted Jun 28, 2011, 1:54 AM
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Expat Expat is offline
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I like SF's Chinatown the best. Fun pics.
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Old Posted Jun 28, 2011, 5:31 AM
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POLA POLA is online now
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Originally Posted by Coldrsx View Post
I found it somewhat tacky and far too touristy until i meandered off of the one main street into more of the 'locals' areas. Great dim sum.
That's so true. It's like going to Disney Land and then finding out that poor working class dwarfs actually live above the shops on Main Street America!
I'll make no subscription to your paradise.
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Old Posted Jul 6, 2011, 3:40 PM
geomorph geomorph is offline
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Yes, its nice to know that a neighborhood can be both...a magnet for visitors and a functioning community too!
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