Then and Now
San Francisco, California
postmarked in 2010 with a USA 44 cent Love stamp
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San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and one of "the largest Chinese communities outside Asia". Since its establishment in the 1840s, it has been highly important and influential in the history and culture of ethnic Chinese immigrants to the United States and North America.
Chinatown is, by no means, a chintzy tourist trap. In fact, it is a living, breathing, and thriving enclave that continues to retain its own customs, languages, places of worship, social clubs, and identity. Popularly known as a "city-within-a-city", it has developed its own government, traditions, over 300 restaurants, and as many shops. There are two hospitals, numerous parks and squares, a post office and other infrastructure. Visitors easily become immersed in a microcosmic Asian world, filled with herbal shops, temples, pagoda roofs and dragon parades.