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haimon

Between Oakland and Downtown

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For several years I have heard in the Chinese community talks of a restaraunt owner looking for someone to coventure in building a chinatown somewhere between oakland and downtown. Has anyone else heard of this? As far as I know there is no progress made. Also what kind of things does everyone think could be done to develop this area?

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For several years I have heard in the Chinese community talks of a restaraunt owner looking for someone to coventure in building a chinatown somewhere between oakland and downtown. Has anyone else heard of this? As far as I know there is no progress made. Also what kind of things does everyone think could be done to develop this area?

Uptown would have been a great area for one, but there's not too many commercial buildings left. Actually, the Strip is showing signs that it may indeed morph into Pittsburgh's Chinatown. Quite a few Asian run businesses down there.

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Uptown would have been a great area for one, but there's not too many commercial buildings left. Actually, the Strip is showing signs that it may indeed morph into Pittsburgh's Chinatown. Quite a few Asian run businesses down there.

The strip is without a doubt the closest thing pittsburgh has to a chinatown, but personally i don't think it is viable for growth. There is the club scene which is becoming increasingly dominant, plus even if more Chinese businesses were to enter the strip it would essentially be a commuter chinatown due to the lack of adaqute, afforable housing..

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It would have been nice if city leaders would have preserved the tiny but vibrant Chinatown near uptown right across from Duquesne near where Blvd. of the Allies comes into downtown. Several factors led to it only having a few storefronts left today but at one time it was so active that not one but two Chinese gangs flourished during the first half of the 20th century.

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For several years I have heard in the Chinese community talks of a restaraunt owner looking for someone to coventure in building a chinatown somewhere between oakland and downtown. Has anyone else heard of this? As far as I know there is no progress made. Also what kind of things does everyone think could be done to develop this area?

The immigrant Chinese community in Pgh is too small to sustain a true active Chinatown. Most of the Chinese-Americans in Pittsburgh are either not immigrants or immigrated to the US years ago. Also, many of them are white collar professionals as opposed to the shop owners and restauranteurs who normally fill up Chinatown. More importantly, many of the Pgh Chinese immigrants are from Taiwan (belonging to a pre-1980 group of immigrants) as opposed to the Cantonese and Fukienese immigrants who normally own the small stores and restaurants that typically open up in Chinatowns. While there are plenty of Chinese students at the universities, many of them are from northern China and thus wouldn't be of the type that would eat at Catonese establishments anyway (which is why there are relatively few of them in Pittsburgh and so many - relatively - Szechuan places).

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It would have been nice if city leaders would have preserved the tiny but vibrant Chinatown near uptown right across from Duquesne near where Blvd. of the Allies comes into downtown. Several factors led to it only having a few storefronts left today but at one time it was so active that not one but two Chinese gangs flourished during the first half of the 20th century.

Before the 1960's or so, most Chinatowns were seen as immigrant ghettos and a thing for cities to aspire to get rid of through urban renewal. San Francisco tried to get rid of theirs after the 1906 Earthquake (a quick rebuilding effort by the Chinatown community there made sure that it stayed). Pittsburgh was no exception to this. Chinatown (1st to 3rd Aves between Grant and Ross) was seen largely as an undesirable ghetto that blighted Downtown. Thus, no one thought twice about tearing down half of it to build the Boulevard of the Allies ramps in the 1920's. Even into the 80's, one by one the Chinatown businesses were priced out of most of the buildings there as lawyers gobbled up the spaces due to its prime location near Grant Street. In 1985 or so, the last two remaining Chinatown businesses on 2nd Ave. were kicked out in favor of law offices and they relocated to 3rd Ave. As it stands, that area is now hardly recognizable as a former Chinatown and is very unliekly to ever be one again due to its high value as office space.

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More importantly, many of the Pgh Chinese immigrants are from Taiwan (belonging to a pre-1980 group of immigrants) as opposed to the Cantonese and Fukienese immigrants who normally own the small stores and restaurants that typically open up in Chinatowns. While there are plenty of Chinese students at the universities, many of them are from northern China and thus wouldn't be of the type that would eat at Catonese establishments anyway (which is why there are relatively few of them in Pittsburgh and so many - relatively - Szechuan places).

Urban that's some very cool info...

also, I don't like the strip district as a chinatown because then we'd have another double name. Think pittsburgh's little italy/Bloomfield

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Urban great find with that Geocities site! For a webjunkie interested in everything Pittsburgh that is a very nice link to a subject that just doesn't see much web light.

The citypaper article I am familar with, though I wish that "You had to ask" guy was working again (nothing new since March?!).

Anyway great info and great find!

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The immigrant Chinese community in Pgh is too small to sustain a true active Chinatown. Most of the Chinese-Americans in Pittsburgh are either not immigrants or immigrated to the US years ago. Also, many of them are white collar professionals as opposed to the shop owners and restauranteurs who normally fill up Chinatown. More importantly, many of the Pgh Chinese immigrants are from Taiwan (belonging to a pre-1980 group of immigrants) as opposed to the Cantonese and Fukienese immigrants who normally own the small stores and restaurants that typically open up in Chinatowns. While there are plenty of Chinese students at the universities, many of them are from northern China and thus wouldn't be of the type that would eat at Catonese establishments anyway (which is why there are relatively few of them in Pittsburgh and so many - relatively - Szechuan places).

While I agree that the Chinese immigrant community in Pittsburgh may be too small to sustain an active Chinatown, I think that the creation of one is in itself a tool to attract Chinese immigrants to the Pittsburgh area in greater numbers. Philadelphia's chinatown has seen growth due to the overcrowding in New York City's 3 chinatowns, and I think Pittsburgh's affordability is an attractive element as well. I used to work as a manager at Chinatown Inn on 3rd avenue and still frequent there on weekends for karaoke which they tend to attact mostly chinese students from the universities. Most of the immigrants in pittsburgh who own the smaller takeout restaraunts and buffets are almost entirely Fuzhounese now and the older cantonese have sold most of their restaraunts in the past ten years. Taiwanese still tend to own the more estabished sit-down restaraunts. The majority of students at the universities are actually from Taiwan and Hong Kong due to the fact that they can afford university here, although those here for masters and Phd degrees are most definitley from northern China. However, I would have to say that the last year I lived in philly and I know that drexel and upenn students tended to go to chinatown to eat and to relax on weekends, as do chinese who work in restaraunts go to chinatown for authentic food and shopping on their off day.

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There doesn't have to be a double name. There is no "Little Italy" Bloomfield is Pittsburgh's "Little Italy" but nobody refers to the neighborhood formally as Littly Italy and the city doesn't need to have a formal Chinatown. If there were a viable cluster than that would be enough...

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^^Mj, in this world of increasing attention def disorder, I would rename the California hood (to people outside SW Pa.) "University District", rename Boomfield and even rename "The Strip". Shallow? Guilty as charged but I am so infintely tired of being cut off mid-sentence by people I go out with in Florida and elsewhere when explaining one of the party hotspots in the 'burgh is . . . "The Strip where . . . " (them)"Oh ok that kind of partying ooooook".

Reading a Panthers Basketball Q&A with Fittipaldo (sp) in March had some college hoops fans out west write in to him about the T-shirts "Oakland Zoo" and them wondering what that had to do with Oakland, California.

Rather then spend 20 minutes a pop explaining to outsiders that the Strip is not the red light district and the place where University of Pittsburgh, Carlow, Chatham, Magee, The Carnegie, Phipps, Schenley, and CMU are is not some Cali ghetto hood city that has multiple claim to fames in top 20 rap songs, I'd rather be showing off the city then working backward from misconceptions.

I do agree we shouldn't change Pittsburgh just to make it more Madison Avenue friendly, but we need to understand that saying things like Strip District, Oakland and confusing a field with Little Italy in this era of Howard Stern and Southpark isn't making things easy for newcomers to our region.

I'd love to have Pittsburgh-centric verbage be the dominant media speak but until that time we might want to change some things, very carefully change a few but do change them.

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I see where you are coming from, but I don't see it as such a challenge nor is it a Madison Ave thing. Pittsburgh identity problem is bigger than any neighborhood. Additionally, the unique qualities are the character and the fact that these areas that have names that predate the everywhere is the same district names. Should we call the Strip the warehouse district like so many other cities? Blah. Should we call it (as discussed before) some four letter shorthand a la SoHo and or Tribeca? Blah. Should we call Oakland simply the university district and abolish the name Oakland? Hell no. Put up sign that indicate it as such, but the name is great because that is the name.

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Mj, I like your perspective on that, to keep both a logic name and the traditional.

This is something interesting I have found, I always knew that the actress Ming Na (Joy Luck Club, Mulan, ER) grew up in Mt. Lebo and then attended CMU but it was interesting to read that her two brothers still run the Chinatown Inn restaurant. 6 degrees of seperation might be more like 2 for some Hollywood actresses and Pittsburghers looking for Chinese food. :thumbsup:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001840/bio

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