Daily Archives: June 3, 2005

Chinatown, Interrupted

There are those of you that heard that Yuriko Kinje and I did a quick mockumentary of Chinatown’s restaurants. It’s ready.

But first, I want to talk about Chinatown.

Chinatown’s borders are 8th Street to the west, 5th Street to the east, G Street to the south, and Massachusetts Avenue to the North. This area has been designated as a “Special Treatment” area by the DC Planning office. It is one of ten such areas outlined in their “Comprehensive Plan” that oversees land usage downtown.

I was on the phone with the Planning office for a half hour, and the gentleman there was kind enough to answer all of my questions. In short, there are no zoning regulations or ordinances demanding that Chinatown retailers have Chinese characters on their signage.

However, any retailer that wants to put a sign up in this “Special Treatment” area, has to submit their sign to the Chinatown Design Review subcommittee, which is part of the Chinatown Procedures committee. They are responsible for reviewing the proposed signage and text, and approving it for use in Chinatown.

There are three people on the subcommittee, two of which are architects. They are responsible for making sure that the sign reflects the historic character of Chinatown.

These are the people that make sure the sign does not say something interesting like, “lick the wet tadpole.”

On that front, I think they are doing a bangup job. On the other hand, if they are also responsible for preserving the historic character of the area, then I think they need to reevaluate the meaning of the words, “historic,” and, “character.”

What I want to know, is—who gave the okay to the “Miso Hungry” people?

All right, enough of my yammering.

Link to Chinatown, Interrupted Vlog entry

Here’s the video.