America’s oldest Chinatown comes alive in stunning photos of its people and places.
Following his award-winning book on San Francisco’s Mission District, Dick Evans turns his attention to Chinatown, the fifth of a square mile that attracts more tourists than the Golden Gate Bridge but where the median household income is a quarter of the citywide average. From delicious dim sum to wok-filled shops, from iconic red lanterns to elaborate parade floats, from inside single-room occupancy apartments to outdoor games of Chinese chess in Portsmouth Square, Evans captures a place filled with diverse residents and a unique mélange of American and Chinese architecture, cuisine, and culture. Vibrant images are interspersed with sidebars highlighting particular people and institutions, deepening viewers’ immersion into this community. Kathy Chin Leong’s lucid text introduces readers to the history of the neighborhood, as well as to themes of tourism, daily life, and celebrations. At the heart of the book is a tight-knit community and a thriving neighborhood, which welcomes immigrants with supportive institutions and entices tourists to experience a wide array of Chinese traditions. Evans’s photos highlight a place undergoing visible progress but, unlike other San Francisco neighborhoods that are gentrifying, maintaining its unique character and authenticity. Hardcover, 208 pages.