Thai Town

THAITOWN — centerpiece — L.A.’s Thaitown is booming, but under the bustling restaurants and crowded ethnic markets, chronic poverty continues to lurk . Pierson/Gorman. 31 inches w/photos, map, poverty chart. 5:30 p.m. (grad) The western entrance to Thai Town in East Hollywood is guarded by two golden Aponsi angel statues — half-woman, half-lion figures of Thai folklore symbolically charged with guarding the ethnic enclave. Eight years after the stretch of Hollywood Boulevard from Western to Normandie avenues was officially designated Thai Town, the neighborhood boasts a colorful streetscape that matches the lively flavors found inside the area’s crowded Thai restaurants and markets as well as Armenian bakeries. The rapid gentrification of Hollywood to the west is spreading Thai Town’s way. But that only tells half the story. The working-class neighborhood — home to Armenian, Latino and Thai immigrants — is one of the poorest sections of Los Angeles County, with many residents crammed into low-income apartments and working at minimum wage jobs. Now Thai community leaders are capitalizing on the neighborhood’s unique ethnic mix in an effort to attract more visitors, bolster the local economy and revitalize the area. .
Myung Chun / LAT Al Seib / LAT
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