Saturday, July 07, 2012

An Entire Neighborhood...Gone

This is what it looks like when an entire neighborhood is torn down for redevelopment.

Three or four years ago, we lived very close to what is now a half-mile long pile of rubble. In fact, this very spot was on one of the routes I followed when going out for runs.

As you can see, in the year since we last swung by this place, which is located on Yuanmingyuan Xi Lu outside the 5th Ring Road, between Saoziying and Meiyuan (one of our favorite out-of-the way places to eat and shop), the entire collection of storefronts and homes has disappeared into the past.

Not that this was a particularly special neighborhood or anything like that. Rather, the place was one of those collections of simple brick structures and alleyways that characterizes life on the fringes of Beijing. The shops were for the most part hawking cheap stuff (I once almost bought a green, People's Liberation Army-style winter coat in one of the shops, but there wasn't a size big enough for me). Many of the homes probably didn't have indoor showers or toilets. So, in those senses, there is very little to be sentimental about.

That said, it is a bit jarring to see razing on a scale of such magnitude. And this is just one little construction project...

~Steve

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