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Bringing 1940s Chinatown Back to Life in Miniature

Frank Wong’s memories of San Francisco are fading, so to preserve them, the 82-year-old artist recreates them in three dimensions.
Frank Wong with one of his dioramas of Chinatown
Frank Wong with one of his dioramas of ChinatownGood Medicine Picture Company

Vimeo: "Forever, Chinatown" Promo Trailer v2

San Francisco’s Chinatown isn’t what it used to be in the 1940s and ‘50s, when the artist Frank Wong was growing up there. Once the largest Chinatown in the U.S., it was essentially its own city, with a booming population and a bustling nighttime scene of clubs and neon lights. But memories of his childhood and early adulthood—the good, the bad, and even the ugly—are getting fuzzier for Wong, who’s now in his 80s. So he’s preserving them the best way he knows how: by building miniature models of what he still remembers from the past.