Tuesday, March 4, 2014

walking tour: Chinatown with Mayor Quan and Annalee Allen

Sunday was a special version of the city's downtown walking tour of Chinatown, for a late celebration of the lunar New Year. I've been on the tour of Chinatown before, so I was expecting I'd only learn a few new things. Instead, Mayor Jean Quan not only came on the tour, she co-led it with Annalee Allen, the director of the city's walking tour program. While we went many of the same places and talked about the same people, Mayor Quan had a different and often personal experience of them.

We started in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, which is home to various shops and restaurants as well as the Asian branch of the Oakland Public Library and the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Mayor Quan told us about Chinese family associations and early organizations to help Chinese immigrants, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the experiences of her own ancestors.

After winding around past the Asian Resource Center building, a quick stop for some fresh from the oven fortune cookies, and a look at the Chinatown Dragon Mural, we came to Lincoln Square Park. Normally it's a busy, vibrant place, but because of the intermittent rain, it was empty. We checked out one of the markers for the 10,000 Steps project, a Chinese herb shop, and then we were back to our start. A great tour, and nice to have a different perspective on it—there's always more to learn.

More pictures from the walk:

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