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The City in Focus: Ross Alley

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The oldest alley in San Francisco's Chinatown, Ross Alley was originally home to gambling houses and brothels in the wild Barbary Coast days. Today, the narrow passageway between Jackson and Washington Streets retains enough of its character to have been featured in movies like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

If you visit during the day, you can take in the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and view the two-woman cookie assembly line stuffing fortunes and folding cookies. Or journey further down the block to the single-chair barbershop, where barber Jun Yu will play a tune for you on his erhu (a two-stringed Chinese violin) or give you a trim. If you opt for the haircut, you'll be in good company. Yu numbers Frank Sinatra, Clint Eastwood and Michael Douglas among his former clientele.

If you visit at night, the experience can be bit more noirish...

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Photo by Mark Coggins