Hello, my name is Annie and I live on the very tip top of Figueroa Terrace and Beaudry Ave. It's about 0.75 miles off of Chinatown, and aslo right next to Dodger Stadium. I've lived here all 15 years of my life. Our neighborhood is open to all people, especially the tourists and passerbys that come every now and then. But also, the people who have made Chinatown their homes know each other pretty well. The children who lived in Chinatown all grew up and went to the same elementary school together and the elderly talk about their lives and past experiences on the local Dash bus or our supermarket know as Aihoa. There are many poeple and places in Chinatown that are great to meet and see, respectively. It's those things that make our little home town unique. Here, I have created a list and short description of my view of Chinatown.
About 6 years ago, Chinatown had an older libray that was connected to Castelar Elementary School. It was small, but there was this unique structure on the inside that brought little kids in. The librarians would arrange puppet shows, raffles, and reading programs for the kids. The elderly would be upstairs reading books printed in chinese and teenagers would be in the computer labs. Some of the the elderly who spoke perect english, we called then "grandma, grandpa, or uncles", would teach kids how to read and do origami. Unfortunatley, Castelar was doing reconstruction at the time and Chinatown's library was moved. The new library has more books, but the insides are plain and dull compared to what it used to be.
However, this new library is a place I can escape to. With various books filled with different places, worlds and adventures, it's easy to get lost in them and escape from the troubles that taunt the mind. The Chinatown Branch also has a program called H.O.P.E. (Higher Opportunity Program for Education) where you meet friendly students from UCLA. They help tutor in homework, offer peer advising, and fieldtrips to UCLA events. The program helps develope leadership skills and it's a great place to meet or make friends.
Another organization where a group of kids come and participate in events is CSC (Chinatown Service Center). The staff here is very friendly, but at the same time, they can be strict. CSC offers after school tutoring, community service, and information about upcoming events or festivals in Chinatown. It is located in the west plaza on Hill Street, across from the new library.
A place with a lot of personal memmories for me would be Castelar Elementary School. As the only elementary school in Chinatown, this is where I and many others who've lived in Chinatown for their childhood, made some of our closest friends. I remember jumping around rubber-band-like strings in a game of chinese jump-rope, doing arts and crafts, tether ball, and just playing pretend. Mr. Choi, our school principal would come out of the office every now and then and play basketball with us. In fourth grade, we had a really old teacher who was so unaware of what the class was doing, my classmates were literally running a business; selling toys and strange erasers. One of the most active teachers at Castelar was Mr. Shum. He made a lot of jokes, some educational, most teasing; and also taught the class kinesthetically. We also had a rumor of the three ghosts that haunt Castelar. The six years of elementary was a time of making friends, enimies, and just being kids. This is why I have a lot of memmories engraved in this school.
Across the street from Castelar is Alpine Park. This is a great place to just hang out and relax. In Alpine, there is usually Tai Chi in the morning, a children's playground, basketball courts, a gazebo, and the recreation center. Most little kids come to play in the playgroung; building sand castles, swinging, sliding, or more commonly, jumpimg on the bridge. As they grow up, they start playing on the basketball courts. There is also ping pong and Kung Fu in the recreation center. The benches and gazebo is where the eldery play chess, smoke, and gamble-even though it's supposed to be a smoke free place. Lastly, there is a grassy area perfect for picnics, sports, or just lying down to relax.
Down the street in the intersection of Alpine and Yale, there is an empty grass lot. But this lot is the very least empty. Dozen of pigeons come here each day as the elderly provide old bread crumbs for them to feast on. The sidewalks are bombarded with pigeon poo. The lot is filled with feathers and I would believe it to be very germy.
A place in Chinatown I do not want to go into would be the upper room of an old yellow apartment on New Depot Street. It is said that the room is haunted be an angry spirit who was murdered years ago.
Finally as we come to the end of this list, and you're probably all hungry from reading, the best place to eat in Chinatown would be CBS Reastaunt. They have the best dim-sum and chinese pastries. Hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences in Chinatown, I'm going to get food now...