White people love Chinatown. The hipsters love it. The tourist love it. Even the homeless love it. The Chinatown residents are so tolerant.
Building owners would rather rent to White people than to Chinese. White people do not cram a lot of people into the apartments like the struggling poor Chinese. White people don’t cook as much as Chinese, so the building doesn’t smell like simmering soup and Hom Yu. White people are willing to pay high rents too and have no problem coming up with the money.
A struggling Chinese working for minimum wage in a restauant kitchen or some sweatshop have trouble coming up with the high rent. Chinatown sits on prime real estate. With it’s proximity to the financial district within a short walk, it’s a dream come true for the hipsters. With the high rents and decline in business, Chinatown businesses which catered to the Chinese are having a tough time.
Chinatown is no longer the neighborhood in which I grew up. The neighborhood where there are Chinese families. We all went to the same neighborhood schools, played in the same playgrounds, went to the movie theaters, restaurants…. that is all gone and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to ever come back.
Pretty soon there will be more and more businesses that will cater to this hipster crowd if it’s not already happening. The Four Seas restaurant recently closed it’s doors after many years and will reopen as a hipster restaurant with some hot shot chef. The longstanding Chinatown institution, Sam Wo Restaurant closed over two years ago and it doesn’t look like the restaurant will open again anywhere. The Empress of China, the home of countless banquets and weddings for so many years is closing at the end of the year to make way for techie offices. Chinatown is pretty dead after 9 o’clock. There is not a single restaurant open pass midnight.
On the other hand, there are many “Chinatowns” appearing in many parts of the city. The new Chinese immigrants find our old Chinatown antiquated and living in a time warp fifty years ago. Chinatown seems to be still fighting a Chinese civil war that ended sixty five years ago. Have the Chinese abandoned the old Chinatown?
By the way, this person in the photo is not a hipster…he’s homeless and found a home on the streets of Chinatown. A bath, a shave and a change of new clothes, he’ll talk his way into a well paying job and soon will be moving into a nice apartment in Chinatown.