The restoration of Beijing’s imperial infrastructure continues, with the recent unveiling of a small park-like passage along the banks of a Tonghui He tributary, winding its way diagonally between Di’anmen Waidajie and Di’anmen Dongdajie near Houhai.
The park’s western entrance can be found across Di’anmen Waidajie from Qianhai, more generically known as the Houhai area. The southern end comes out at Di’anmen Dongdajie a few hundred meters west of Nanluogu Xiang. The passage has an ancient-style bridge and some pretty, if small, green areas.
Back in early October the Global Times, reported plans for a park in this area, but it’s difficult to tell if this is it, as the article claimed the new areas would open in 2010. Listing a raft of projects, the article stated:
“The so-called ‘urban forest park,’ with arbors and tall trees, hopes to be quite different from ordinary city parks. The major function of urban forest parks is to improve the city’s eco system, with minimum trimming and upkeep. These parks need little gardening, and local species of vegetation will be used. One of the planned parks by Di’anmenwai Street, covering 1.8 hectares of land, will be inside the Second Ring Road, among a sea of ancient hutong and near Houhai.”
The new park has little vegetation and is basically a paved river-side walk, so it’s hard to see how it will “improve the city’s eco system.” Admittedly the pavement will require "minimum trimming." This is possibly the first stage of a bigger park, although this would necessitate the demolition of surrounding hutongs.
In any case, the new walk is pleasant enough, even if it has a half-finished feel about it. The canal, or “river,” is a little lacking in water, and the plants that have been placed in the river’s banks are, bizarrely, still in their pots.