As I walked briskly down King Street to join a Rotary Club work project to benefit homeless vets, I was treated to a variety of sights. First, Chinatown. Its shops and stalls have been there a long time, selling a wide variety of items — food and groceries most notable among them.
My destination was Aala Park, which abuts Chinatown. When I got there, I didn’t see any of the orange Rotarians at Work T-shirts I was was looking for. Hmmm. I walked all around the park. No luck. I did see, sadly, lots of homeless. Honolulu in fact is in the midst of a homelessness crisis. There are more homeless per capita in Hawaii than in any other of the 50 states. But that’s another story . . .
Ah, but I did spot across North King Street the old Oahu Railway & Land Co. depota where building in which my father worked from the early 1930s until shortly after World War II. So I crossed the street and walked onto the old OR&L property and spotted where the tracks and station had been. The depot building (above) houses today the KING KAMEHAMEHA CELEBRATION Commission office. Is is significant that the clock is stuck, at 4:35?
Across Iwilei Road I spotted the 415 North King St. building, a 23-story residential condo completed in 2005. My father would have been horrified to see that intrusion on the landscape!
So I ended my walk back to my car with a mix of feelings. It was fun having a prolonged peek into Chinatown. Then, sadness about the homeless. Next, fond memories about my dad and mom and older brother Dick. Finally, a certain angst at seeing yet another high rise in our city. Despite its 10-year age, I hadn’t known the building existed!
It turns out that the Rotary project actually was at Beretania Community park, not far away. As a sort of penance, I mailed off a donation to the my Rotary Club’s charitable foundation.