CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES

Home     Digital Photographs     Genealogy Resources     Special Collections     Search
 
CAMBODIAN NEIGHBORHOOD WALKING TOUR
ENGLISH
 
[ Map ]
 
1.JFK Plaza,50 Arcand Drive
JFK Plaza, adjacent to City Hall and the John F. Kennedy Civic Center, 
is the site of civic and community ceremonies, festivals, dedications, 
and farmers' markets. Each spring the Cambodian community 
celebrates its largest annual event, the New Year, at JFK Plaza. The 
New Year celebration includes the raising of the Cambodian flag, 
alongside the American flag, prayers to welcome the new angels, 
traditional music, dance, games, and food brought by local families. 
The ceremony emphasizes the Buddhist faith, with a Buddhist altar 
constructed on the plaza. In honor of their ancestors, Cambodian 
community members offer food to Buddhist monks. Cambodian New 
Year is a time for visiting among family and friends, old and new. In 
recent years, expanded New Year's celebrations include activities at the 
Trairatanaran Temple in North Chelmsford (see no. 12).

2.Southeast Asian Restaurant, 343 Market Street
       Oriental Pearl Restaurant, 350-352 Market Street
Located at one of the gateways to the Acre neighborhood, the 
Southeast Asian Restaurant and the Oriental Pearl are among the 
most popular Southeast Asian restaurants in Lowell. Southeast 
Asian Restaurant was the first food establishment of its kind in 
Lowell, opened in 1985 and run by its current owners, Joseph and
Chanthip Antonaccio. Mr. Antonaccio first encountered Southeast 
Asian food in 1965, when stationed in Thailand for the American air 
force. Delighting in the food of Thai open air markets, Antonaccio 
wrote down recipes in the hopes of making these foods himself 
when he returned home. Fifteen years later, Antonaccio and his
Laotian born wife, Chanthip Antonaccio, began a Southeast Asian 
food business of their own, serving Cambodian, Thai, Laotian, and 
Vietnamese newcomers to America. They first imported Asian foods 
from New York City to Connecticut, then established Southeast Asian 
groceries throughout southern New England, and finally, opened 
Southeast Asian Restaurant. The Oriental Pearl, located across the 
street from Southeast Asian Restaurant, also opened in the 1980s, 
when a Vietnamese family renovated what was then a decrepid 
building, once a vital dance hall and restaurant serving the Greek 
and Irish communities of the area. Today, the Oriental Pearl 
Restaurant is owned by Cambodians and features a diverse menu
of Cambodian, Thai, and Chinese cuisine.
 
3.Monoram Park, Cross Street (corner of Marion Street)
For generations, this urban playground has been a significant site 
for Lowell's inner city children and teenagers. Park furnishings 
reflect the cultural preferences of the Acre's most recent immigrants, 
the Southeast Asians. Today, a tiled mosaic frieze of a Brahma and 
stone chess tables replace leap frog and swing sets once used by 
children of Irish, Greek, and Puerto Rican descent. Once called 
Cross Street Park by older immigrants, this playground is now 
renamed Monoram, meaning harmony in Khmer, the language of 
Cambodia. Organized by the Coalition for a Better Acre, a community 
development corporation serving the Acre neighborhood, Monoram 
Park, dedicated in 1991, provides Cambodian children and teens 
with familiar surroundings in which to socialize and play.

 
 Page 1 or Page 3
 
 [ Top Of Page ] [ Map ]