This is the start of the second series of Beijing 2006 – The hutong photos; see my journal posts Beijing 2006 – The hutong and Beijing 2006: Out with the old, in with the new for the background of this series.
See the location on a satellite map (Google’s street map doesn’t register with the satellite view!)
I was on my way to Bei Hai park, intending to walk all the way, just to get a feel for the distances on the Beijing map. I started walking through a hutong area I was already familiar with, to the South East of Tian’anmen square. I had heard a lot of destruction was going on, but at first I didn’t see any – and I happily took several of the photos in the first par of this series. I walked along Tieshu Byway and its continuation Dashilan W. St, which cut diagonally through that area, happy to recognize may places – and shooting the card-playing boys along the way, until I came to Meishi Street. When you cross that street you get into Dashilan Commercial street where there are many shops.
But I stopped dead at the crossroads. On this side of Meishi Street buildings had been torn down, and the street itself was nothing but rubble and sand. The difference with what I remembered was shocking. Not much consideration with people either, it was hard to actually cross the street, and the people trying to navigate the rubble on Meishi Street weren’t looking too happy either.
Well, I wasn’t going shopping, so I turned left (North) and soon saw this. That they were going to widen Meishi Street was rather obvious – part of the work to deal with increasing traffic in the city – but this was on another scale: a whole neighborhood was being torn down. It seemed only the workers, apparently just taking a break sitting in the middle of the destruction, didn’t mind. There is so much rubble around, they’ve covered some mounds of it with green netting to keep it somewhat together and prevent the sand from blowing around.
Looking at the satellite picture now, it seems nothing new has been built in this place yet, it’s just a large barren plain. On the other hand, I remember from the year before, that the Northern end of this hutong area was pretty decrepit, so I’m guessing that since they needed to tear down some buildings at least to widen Meishi Street, they decided they might as well get rid of that whole chunk of basically irreparable buildings.
Camera: Fuji Finepix F30
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