The City Tree installed at Hopewell Center always seemed a half hearted attempt. It was more PR pomp and bluster than a genuine statement of green energy, roadside air pollution or the creation of a sitting area with the feeling of sitting under a real tree in a park.
It didn’t come as a huge surprise to me then, that last week some guys dismantled it very quietly and without much fuss. In its place, they’ve erected a shelter in which they seem to be doing some tile work. Could they be building a bigger one? It’s all a bit unclear what direction this is heading in and whether the sponsors will keep backing a project that doesn’t work.
I think if the sponsors are serious about it, pay to build a proper one that will handle the roadside air pollution and please pay the maintenance subscription fees. It looks like the City Tree is higher maintenance than a real tree… but then again it’s supppsed to represent 20-30 trees in a park so maybe the maintenance costs should be equal to that. No shortcuts.
If you’d like to see some history on the city tree, check out these posts from when it was ALIVE.
Last Thursday and Friday, there were staff (or volunteers) from Save the Children in their red t-shirts handing out brochures for the Peppa Pig Family Carnival in Lee Tung Avenue.
Now, if you’re a mother of any children between the ages of 2-8 years, you will know that this is absolutely irresistible to your kids. They will whine and demand to go, simultaneously declaring their love for the Peppa Pig characters.
The staff were friendly, the colours of the panels vivid and the booths were well spaced out. However, the content lacked substance and there was nothing to take home unless you were coerced into making a purchase of useless and un-environmentally friendly Peppa Pig paraphernalia in the name of charity.
What did the booths have?
There was a Virtual reality booth which had the clunky goggles ($80 per go) you put on to look around. It was empty on the Friday and I didn’t think the goggles were too comfortable. There were only two goggles on display.
Then there is the string art zone, where the lady in charge explained that kids get some string and get to tie it around the metal protrusions to weave family bonds. Hmm. A bit abstract for kids, I struggled with the thought of it myself in a small dark booth.
Then there’s the kite drawing zone. Here for a $20 donation, kids get a small paper kite (not a real kite) each and sit down for a few minutes to decorate and then the kite gets hung on a big kite board with metal pins.
So all that individual effort goes up onto a collective board and it’s an instagrammable moment for the organisers but what does the kid get as a memory?
“Mama they took my kite away. I got nothing.”
Perhaps the organisers would like to reconsider their activities and strategies to have something for the kids to take home. The string bonding thing is also quite worthless even though the concept probably sounded interesting on paper.
The most striking and entertaining activity on display was the pipe telephone. So simple, free and fun. They could’ve made it more like a 3-D maze but it’s a good effort.
There are different coloured pipes linking one side of the board to the other, at different heights to for adult/child play.
Well, there was a stage and some music and dancing going on, on Saturday but baby was asleep in the sling and I gave it a pass.
What made #1 happy was the opportunity for a photo with Peppa’s family.
Here’s how the overhead kite display looked during Typhoon 3, I wish the wind had been strong enough to make them take flight.
I just happened to be at Lee Tung Avenue at lunchtime on Tuesday and saw some tech guys setting up amplifiers and microphones. A young lady approached me and offered me a booklet about the a Capella festival that’s on this week. She gestured to a page towards the center of the booklet and showed me the write up on The Techtonics. “They’ll perform at 1pm” she said. It was 12.28 so I figured that I’d hang around and see what it’s all about.
I’ve always enjoyed a Capella and didn’t need any convincing.
The all male Techtonics group did their vocal warm ups at a corner and tested the microphones with some beatbox rhythms and a short song to get the crowd to stick around. It was effective. Many people gathered around the center courtyard area, occupying the benches and leaning against the walls near the Seoul bistro and Omotesando cafe entrances.
It was thoroughly enjoyable. They sang six songs animatedly and got the crowd excited. I felt like dancing along but was too busy recording it on video like everyone else! Well, I did do a little bit of dancing.
….looks just like the 2016 Chinese New Year display. It is still very impressive and they did a good job keeping those lanterns (customised with the name Lee Tung Avenue on them) looking clean, smart and surprisingly new. It makes sense to recycle them especially since they are large and look like decent quality to begin with.
I have to say it really sets the mood of the street, it’s nicely festive and sets it up for great photos no matter the weather or angle.
They also got out the faux Oriental Botero sculptures along the street. I’ve seen several tourists and locals posing for pictures beside these statues.
My friend NDS who runs a corporate florist in London was particularly impressed with these cherry blossom trees. I said “hmm.. it could be fake.” And she said “Nooooo way”.
So guess what. I took a close up.
Yup, sorry ND, they are real trees but fake flowers stuck onto the branches. I guess we’re both half right and half wrong?!!
It must have taken a lot of manual work to complete that project.
Finally, cast a look next door at Hopewell Center across the street.
And decide where you might like to take your selfies or bring your visitors for a stroll at night.
I enjoy living in Wan Chaivery much. Not only is it one of the most convenient neighbourhoods in Hong Kong (it’s flat!) but it’s got a lot going on in all the hustle bustle. Add to it the latest transformative development, Lee Tung Avenue with good marketeers and the place on this side of Wan Chai is an attraction for families and young (or slightly older) hipsters.
This summer has been scorching hot, now with the holidays on, families have been scratching heads as to what to do with restless children.
Lee Tung Avenue has a Saturday evening activity for kids which could be fun to check out.
On until the 27th of August 2016, the activities of kiddy face painting, fairy dancing workshop and the fairy flash mob dancing take place conveniently around dinner time… Great for parents who want to grab a meal and let the kids roam on a pedestrianised street mall for a bit out of the air conditioned environment.
A friend who lives in Wan Chai also told me about her recent visit to Ophelia, the latest “it” place for younger hipsters. She described it as very opulent and glamorously decorated. For that corporate event, there were dancers and lots of drinks going around, undoubtedly making the place even cooler. My friend said that it’s a place you can only get into if you have a reservation, the bouncers are very strict at the street entry level. If your name isn’t on the list, you can’t even get up there.
Then while waiting for a medical appointment, I read about it in a magazine called Crave.
And decided to see where it is located.
A temporary signboard marks the lift lobby location (more or less near the Elephant hairdressers, nearer Le Pain Quotidien).
When I checked again later on, the signboard had been removed, so I guess the staff only place it out when they are expecting guests.
Here’s a write up on Ophelia’s in the SCMP. Unfortunately I doubt they’d let me in with a toddler in tow… Although Mr Sutton should allow this during the day as part of his fairy story legacy for the younger generation. Is it all linked to the fairy promo going on in the central piazza? Maybe.
Announcement: For all the drivers congesting the roads of Wan Chai...! Hooray for reduction in roadside PM2.5 and other particulates! At least until the end of 2016 anyway.
Please use your Octopus card as this applies to electronic payment only (presumably so they can track how many).
Free parking for 1 hour with a $200 spend.
Free parking for 2 hours with a $300 spend.
Free parking for 3 hours with a $500 spend.
Essentially a meal or shopping at the supermarket would pretty much cover the spending amount, so it’s worth it if you need to meet someone in Wan Chai and run your errands. Get your driver to park the car instead of idling and going around in circles.
To get into the parking lot, enter from Queens Road East into Spring Garden Lane. About half way down on your left, you will see the entrance for the car park and drop off area in the basement ( near supermarket).
I haven’t checked if the car park has electric chargers but given that Tesla is a tenant, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise.
Digging beneath the dirt… To find the good and the gritty