Where to Find Italy in America: San Francisco's North Beach

Oct 23, 2018 429

BY: Silvia Donati

Much like other Little Italys in the U.S., San Francisco’s North Beach saw a decline of its  Italian population after the 1950s. Today, what points to the neighborhood’s Italian heritage is mostly the number of Italian restaurants and cafés, the signs in Italian, the green-white-red colors. Gentrification, a decline in immigration from Italy, and the expansion of neighboring Chinatown have caused a major demographic shift in the neighborhood, which now sees a mix of Chinese, other ethnic groups, young professionals, and few Italian American residents.

North Beach – so called because the area was an actual beach, filled in with landfill in the late 19thcentury - was once the epicenter of Italian life in San Francisco. It stands in the northeast of San Francisco adjacent to Chinatown, the Financial District, and Russian Hill. Columbus Avenue, one of the major streets of San Francisco that runs diagonally through North Beach, wasn’t always called that: until 1909, it was known as Montgomery St. When the city renamed a number of streets, Columbus was chosen due to the area’s Italian American population.

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SOURCE: http://www.italymagazine.com/

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