Yesterday I started research a new walking tour around the perimeter of the former Recreation Ground. Today I continued the walk and brought along my daughter Hannah. We started at the Great World. This time the place was much livelier than yesterday, and there was a performance of Chinese acrobatics on the main stage. We tasted some of the Shanghai-style food, which we found pretty mediocre—there are much better places to sample Shanghai cuisine.
We also checked out the Silk Road exhibition on the 4th floor (or was it 3rd?) and some of the crafts, and I bought Hannah a magic set from a magician who taught her a few tricks. Again, what makes the place worthwhile is interacting with people who are artists, craftspeople, magicians and the likes and being able to spend some time with them. But after the show ended, the crowd broke out into the building and things got much more packed than before. And so, it was time to move on.
We walked northward along Xizang Road and I noticed that the Workers Cultural Palace was also a lot more lively, with a small number of elderly cadres hanging around outside the main entrance. We then turned in at Hankou Road before the Moore Memorial Church, built in 1932 and designed by the Hungarian architect Ladislaus Hudec, and walked over to the Yangtze Hotel.
one of my favorite old hotels in the city, this classic Deco-style hotel from the 1930s once housed a ballroom on its ground floor, where the first all-Chinese orchestra, known as the Clear Wind Orchestra, once performed. I have photos of the hotel and ballroom from a magazine published in the 1930s and available in the Shanghai Library. When I was working for Hult Business School I used to have lunch often in the ground floor Japanese restaurant, On, which had a great business lunch menu and was a nice place to take visiting faculty.
We then braved the thickening crowds and walked up to Nanjing Road and headed west. I took some photos of the old buildings lining that part of Nanjing Road, including the YMCA building and the Park Hotel, Hudec’s grand masterpiece built in 1934.
Next to that is the Grand Theater, and while I was at the Great World I bought a nice illustrated book on the history of the theater, which dates back to the 1920s.
Meanwhile on the park side, a big group of people dressed in colorful minority outfits was dancing around in a big circle, while nearby a lone saxophonist entertained another crowd.
We rounded out the tour at the Shanghai Race Club, which now houses the new Shanghai Historical Museum, which just opened in March. There was a big line at the entrance. We didn’t have time to explore, but I hope to go there over the weekend to check it out.
Finally, we zoomed up to the 38th floor lobby of the JW Marriot to catch the view of the People’s Park/Square area and see all the buildings we’d passed by on our walk. Hannah was a real trooper for keeping up with this walk, and after that it was only a ten minute walk back home, though she would have greatly preferred to take a cab at that point!
So, this looks like it’ll be a good walking tour, and now I have to fill in some more historical details so that I can present it to others. There are also plenty of options on this tour. You can visit the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, the Great World, the Park Hotel, and the Shanghai Historical Museum all in one day if you have the time. That would be a mammoth tour for sure!