Thai Town, Los Angeles
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|Neighborhood of Los Angeles|
Thailand Plaza in Thai Town
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|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
Thai Town (Thai language: ไทยทาวน์) is a neighborhood in the East Hollywood district of Los Angeles. It is the only designated Thai ethnic neighborhood in the United States. The area contains many Thai restaurants, markets and shops, including import stores, silk clothing stores and massage spas.
Thai Town is officially designated by the city of Los Angeles as a six-block area centered along Hollywood Boulevard between Normandie Avenue and Western Avenue. The neighborhood's entrance is marked by two statues of apsonsi (a mythical half human, half lion angel in Thai folklore).
Los Angeles has the largest Thai population outside of Thailand. Roughly 80,000 of California's estimated 120,000 Thai Americans live in Los Angeles. It is also home to the world's first Thai Town. In 2002 there was an estimated 80,000 Thai immigrants living in Los Angeles. Thai Chinese are also included in the population. Because of this, Los Angeles is sometimes referred to as Thailand's 78th province. Like Los Angeles, Bangkok (Thailand's capital) is known as "the City of Angels" (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Bangkok's official name, means "the City of Angels").
On the first Sunday in April, Thai Town celebrates Songkran, the Thai New Year, by closing off Hollywood Boulevard within its boundaries, and setting up food stands and entertainment on the street along with a parade on Hollywood Boulevard from New Hampshire Avenue to Winona Boulevard.
Thai Town began in the 1960s when many Thais went to Los Angeles to study (as a result of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965); many decided to stay and open businesses. A 1980s regional financial crisis led many Thais to come to Thai Town and find work. City Council designated the neighborhood on October 27, 1999; during that time it had many of the estimated 80,000 Thais in Southern California.
In 1999, the world’s first Thai Town was officially designated in the United States by the Los Angeles City Council. After a 7 year protracted campaign facilitated by the Thai Community Development Center, the Thai community won the City of Los Angeles designation of Thai Town in East Hollywood on October 27, 1999.
In 2008, the Thai Community Development Center expanded its partnership with the four Asian Pacific Islander communities in Los Angeles to pursue a national designation by the White House of all five API towns as a Preserve America Neighborhood. The other API towns include Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Historic Filipinotown, and Koreatown. Together, the five communities formed the API Preserve America Neighborhood Coalition. In July 2008, Laura Bush, the First Lady of the United States, granted the neighborhood recognition as a "Preserve America" community. This makes Thai Town eligible for $250,000 in "Preserve America" grants and $250,000 in other private and public grants.
-  CRA/LA Art Projects
- Reeves, Terence and Claudette Bennet. "We the People: Asian Populations in the United States." United States Department of Commerce, December 2004.
- Watanabe, Teresa (August 3, 2008). "A boost for Thai Town: Its 'Preserve America' designation marks it as culturally significant.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
- "City Council Designates Area as ‘Thai Town’." Los Angeles Times. Thursday, October 28, 1999. B-4.
- Wang, Frances Kai-Hwa. America’s Only Thai Town Celebrates 15 Years. Los Angeles, 30 October 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
-  Visit Asian LA. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- Watanable, Teresa. A Boost For Thai Town. “Los Angeles Times” Los Angeles, 3 August 2003. Retrieved 7 July 2015.