The Lockhart Road Playground

If you should find yourself on the dark oops, North side of Hennessey Road in the early morning or recently ate at the legendary American Peking Restaurant and need to digest/ metabolize off the food, you can do so at this decent park and playground.

Lockhart Playground Location
Lockhart Playground Location

For toddlers, watch their little face light up and hear those foot stomping exclamations of “I wanna go play mama” as you wheel your stroller into the playground. Three separate climbing frames with slides is quite a treat for Hong Kong ( I wish they would spend a bit of money to upgrade and update them). Nonetheless for children something is better than nothing. There’s a short zip bar which is fun for older kids and if you bring a ball they can spend time shooting hoops at the adjoining basketball court. No swings though.

Climbing frames
Climbing frames & slides

It really isn’t busy during the week which is nice and the benches are clean and plentiful around the perimeter of the park. There’s a public toilet here so that’s helpful if you had too much to drink.

The construction site across Lockhart road is quite noisy with piling right now so you’ll just have to tolerate that. Spacious, clean and nice open areas for running around chasing sparrows and letting off steam. I guess it’s because it’s right next to the Boys’ and Girls’ association.

Tai Wong Street East Sitting Area

Tai Wong Street East is another one way street in old Wan Chai, running from Queens Road East (QRE) to Johnston Road.

Tai Wong East Street Sitting Area
Tai Wong East Street Sitting Area

 

A fair amount of gentrification has happened along this street nearer the Johnston road end, most notably the Pawn which is now a nice bar and restaurant. The side nearer QRE retains some of the older shops and charm. I’ll get into that in a separate blog entry.

If you should find yourself along this street and do not wish to have to pay for a drink at a bar to rest your feet, you can head to this little rest area. It’s nothing fancy and frankly there is the constant hum of nearby air conditioning compressors, but it’s good enough for a ten minute pit stop to change a diaper or drain the water bottle you brought with you.

Shaded Sitting Area
Shaded Sitting Area
It is pram friendly only on the pavement approaching from Johnston road, so if you are coming from QRE, walk on the right side of the street to avoid all the stairs then cross to the left side of the street to access the sitting area.

The different platform layers have a significance, it’s cut in the shape of the reclaimed coastlines. In the evenings, some other kids come out to play and have a grand old time hopping off the ledges. It’s good that they put a railing near the exit to prevent kids from accelerating onto the street.

 

Wan Chai’s changing coastlines
  
Jumping from one generation to the next
 It is between the bird shop (parrots displayed outside is also very interesting to kiddies) and the Wen Ding standalone chinese restaurant.

  

Spring Garden Lane Swings & Sitting Area

Spring Garden Lane Park
Spring Garden Lane Park

This street is often choked with honking taxis, cars and trucks. The sidewalk during rush hours are filled with waves of people marching either towards or away from the MTR station. Massive construction of the Avenue residences is almost complete (a relief to all residents), but the anticipation of a flood of new tenants will certainly either elicit trepidation or glee… Depending on whether you own a business in the area.

Spring Garden Lane Park
Spring Garden Lane Park

This is a one-way main street in old Wan Chai which connects Queens Road East (Hopewell Center) to Johnston Road. If you’re coming with a pram, use Queens Road East to get to this park.

The pavement on the left as you follow the traffic is decent from Queens Road East until you get to the Avenue development about half way down. The pavement becomes almost shoulder-width after that all the way till you get to Johnston road.

If you are in the hustle bustle on this side of Wan Chai – and need a place to rest tired feet, contemplate Hong Kong, feed the baby (and/or yourself), this is a decent rest spot- as long as it isn’t peak hour lunch time when everyone else wants to nap and eat on the benches. Avoid the smokers puffing away at the entrance near Sam Pan Street and use the pram friendly entrance facing the pharmacy.

Swings! only two...
Swings! only two though…

There are only two swings in this little park so if you have a few toddlers in tow, they’ll need to take turns with some of the others who show up with exhausted mums, dad’s or helpers during the day. There are bins around to dispose of those diapers. (nearest current decent public toilet with changing facilities at Hopewell Center, use the elevator to get to the 1st floor, looking forward to more accessible ones at the upcoming Avenue development).

Park Benches aplenty
Park Benches aplenty
Shaded seating area
Shaded seating area

Note: please don’t feed the pigeons. They sit up in the tall leafy trees and are not at all shy about using you as a toilet target.

A little cottage on display on Tai Wong East

One of the bigger streets in old Wan Chai is Tai Wong East street. It runs one way from Queens Road East to Johnston Road and is full of interesting restaurants and a variety of shops.

Down the alley where the paint shops mix their paint but before the Empress cafe, sits an eye catching display.

In a little alleyway on Tai Wong East Street
A cottage on top of paint cans

There really are so many quirky things to see in Wan Chai, if you have time to look.

The old, the re-painted and the new

Sometimes old buildings just get a clean up and a new lick of paint. The residents don’t change, no new additions to the structure. For example this one.

Old and New
Old, Re-painted and New

The building on the left is what the block used to look like. The orange one awkwardly angled, is the building that was just re-painted. The building with the tinted glass on the right is the very fashionable Indigo Hotel.

Impressions of Wan Chai

Now that I’ve lived in Wan Chai for more than a year, I feel that it’s about time to put my thoughts and feelings down.

Wan Chai is wonderful. It has so many aspects to it. Commercial, Residential, Industrial zones coexist almost fluently within a small and confined foot print. I can feel the energy bursting for room when I walk the streets every day. In a food analogy, Wan Chai is like the meat patty in the burger. Sandwiched between Causeway Bay (delightful large sesame seed bun) and Admiralty (thin and consistent, like a lettuce leaf or pickle) and Central (another delightful large bun). Wan Chai has the unexpected textures – raw, medium, well done, depending on which side you decide to chew on. It has the fatty bits (high rises) and the leaner bits (low rise shop houses) but it is juicy no matter where you bite.

This is my to attempt to document the angles and facets of daily life in Wan Chai.

Digging beneath the dirt… To find the good and the gritty