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May 16, 2007

Ancient Chinese Secret?

What Chicago Park could this be?
CTA’s Orange Line passes over it, Amtrak pass by it, and Santa Fe Railroad trains crosses thru it.

And if not for these trains, the building structure, and the massive lift bridge behind the picturesque scenery of a pagoda style pavilion surrounded by dragon pillars, large rock formations, and cypress trees, you would actually think that you had traveled farther east to China.

Pagoda Flowers

But in reality, I am talking about Ping Tom Memorial Park (named after a noted civic leader of Chinatown) located behind The New Chinatown Square and past through the newly built single family homes and townhouses, corner of 19th and Wells to be exact.  A lot of people have never heard of this place, and this became my favorite spot in Chicago with the kids since I first discovered it. My kids and I often visit this place during summer and I always feel like I was removed from the city's hubbubs even just for a little bit.  I took all these pictures here myself, and I think it speaks for itself.



It has been since 1998 that Ping Tom Memorial Park’s 12 acre space what once was a Chicago and Indiana Western Railroad yard has opened to public. And yet it has only been lately that people are starting to hear about it. Even a cabbie got lost in trying to get to this location on the 6th season of the hit CBS-TV show “Amazing Race". It is so tucked in that unless you are a Chinatown resident or have heard about it, you would more than likely never even have discovered it. By the way, the gated playground is also another indication that this place exist in the modern western part of the world.



This riverfront park sits on the South Branch of the Chicago River. Early in the morning you may find some people practicing Tai Chi, and in the afternoon some are meditating atop a big rock in the gardens. The children in the playground sometimes wave to the boats that pass by, and get excited with the commotion of the trains that passes. The Chicago Tribune described Ping Tom Park as a “a haven of tranquility beneath the rumble of passing trains".

And in case you plan to visit this place, you might as well plan to visit with an empty stomach and a full wallet. It is only a few skips and hops away from the delicious choices of Asian Restaurants (Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Malaysian) and Oriental boutiques around.  The whole family can practically spend a couple of hours in this area.


MJ blogs @ I want a little sugar in my bowl


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