70th Anniversary of New Chinatown

June 28, 2008, 7:00-11:00 p.m.
Free Admission and Dancing

On Saturday, June 28, Chinatown will celebrate the 70th anniversary of “New Chinatown.”

The public is invited to gather in Central Plaza from 7 to 11 p.m. to enjoy 1940’s style big band music and dancing, cocktails from the era, a video montage of the many movies shot in Chinatown, and a narrated video presentation of historic photos. A "Best Costume Contest" will be held to judge those who choose to come in 1930’s or 1940’s attire. Other entertainment will feature Chinese martial artists, lion dancers, and book-signings and readings by authors whose books celebrate Chinatown history.

The event will be kicked off with the re-dedication of one of the original plaques—recently discovered buried in storage—and an original replica on which is inscribed the words “Dedicated to the Chinese Pioneers Who Participated in the Constructive History of California.” This plaque was originally dedicated by California Governor Frank Merriam on June 25, 1938. The Governor was joined by a host of local dignitaries including Los Angeles Mayor F.L. Shaw, Republic of China Consul T.K. Chang, Princess Der Ling of China, actress Anna May Wong, and artist Tyrus Wong. In Governor Merriam’s words, New Chinatown “represented a monument to those Chinese who played such an important role in building the West and a lasting evidence of American Chinese amity.”

“New Chinatown” was an enclave of restaurants, shops, offices, and residences, which replaced an older settlement which had been displaced by the construction of Union Station. “New Chinatown” was billed as the first modern American Chinatown owned and planned from the ground up by Chinese. Today, “New Chinatown” is known as Central Plaza and is home to old and new establishments including curio shops, restaurants, bars, art galleries, and Chinatown’s trendiest boutiques.

The plaza that was dedicated seventy years ago became the heart of a much larger Chinatown, and today forms the backbone of a vibrant and expansive Southern California Chinese American community.

The free festival will run from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. at 951 N. Broadway Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Parking around the area is plentiful, and the festival is also easily accessed via Metro Gold Line rail from the Chinatown Station.

The 70th Anniversary of New Chinatown is presented by the L.A. Chinatown Business Improvement District with cooperation from the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, the Chinese American Museum, the L.A. Chinatown Corporation, and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles.

posted on 2008-05-06 - Special Events

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