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You Call This a Chinatown? Washington, DC

Chinatown in Washington, DC, really doesn’t exist anymore except for a couple of low-quality holdouts from the 1960’s. In its place rose what is basically an outdoor, urban shopping mall, where you can go from Starbucks to Fuddruckers by simply crossing H Street.

Even more absurdly, all businesses are required to have their names written in Chinese, and in one famous newspaper article, the reporter had a native Mandarin speaker translate the signs. My favorite was Hooters, whose sign read “Owl Restaurant” in Chinese.

Gentrification has definitely arrived when Starbucks is having to get its name translated into Chinese, and there aren’t any Chinese people to be seen.

I will say, however, that the architecture is fantastic, sprinkling Italianate rowhouses with in-fill of luxury condo towers.

The Chinese inhabitants mainly moved to the suburbs as first crime and then gentrification took turns decimating the community.









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