A trip around the Xuhui Riverside Public Space -- expectations low, soft focus on max. Climbing walls, skate parks, and ghost trains...
"Offbeat" is a SmartShanghai column about stuff to look at or do in Shanghai that's interesting or weird (relatively, of course), that doesn't fit anywhere else. It appears weekly, monthly, or maybe even annually, when we're not busy working on other superfluous column ideas.
It’s a little known fact that the Huangpu goes even further inland than the Bund and New Heights
. It actually snakes all the way past that old Expo gaff and off to the great Chinese unknown where pollution runs free from the hills.
South of Xujiahui, right about where the river hooks a dog’s leg to the left and behind a monstrous wall of residential monotony they’ve gone and gentrified a 5km stretch of the riverside and given it evocative names like “Sunshine Fengxi Riverside” and “Beautiful Steps Zone”.
Roughly zoned into 5 sections that run from Fenggu Lu to Rihui East Lu, developers, Shanghai Corniche have put a heap of effort into making this not just a pleasant walk along the river dodging poodles and kite strings, but somewhere to be “stunned by the modern expression”.
Well it’s not, but there are a couple of things worth heading down for.
One of which is the climbing area, an about yea-high collection of walls, overhangs and ledges set over a massive crash mat. We’ve all seen dudes out jogging in their jeans and leather jackets -- now we can watch them limply hanging from a wall like they were chucked there.
Actually it’s pretty fun if only to realize how difficult climbing is and giving props to the guy who’s more than head-height off the ground.
There’s also a floodlit skate-park in the making but at the moment it looks like a giant police-line-do-not-cross spider has cast its web. The guard said that it was a play area for "wheeled children" and would be complete in about a month.
He said the same thing two months ago.
Closer to town, a couple of comically-fake looking old train lines run through a completely out of place slice of wilderness. The last XRPOS zone is the “Nanpu Station 1907” with a customary huge unfinished building (the signs say an F&B outlet is on the way) and parked behind it for some reason, an old steam locomotive. Waste some photos on that.
In true Shanghai tradition there’s a rude-boy cruising up and down in his soft-drinks buggy blasting techno and riding on the horn. Bikes aren’t allowed within 50 meters of anything pleasant so you’ll have to rent one of their crappy rigs or face damnation from the whistle blowing security. There are so many of them there’s an intra-guard two-on-two basketball league.
The easiest way to hit the action is head straight down Wulumuqi Lu until it turns into Dong’an and cruise south all the way to the river. Try not to be spotted heading there by too many people otherwise before long the whole place will be infested by wedding photography troupes.
Ah what am I saying?
This place has soft focus album written all over it.
Xuhui Riverside Public Open Space is at Longteng Ave, near Dong’an Lu.