June 5, 2013
Framing the south bank of the Chicago River in all its grungy, gorgeous glory, this quintessential urban park is named after Ping Tom, the Chinese-American businessman and founder of the Asian American Coalition of Chicago who played a major role in the development of Chinatown Square. Tom helped procure the site, which once was a Santa Fe Railway yard. The entrance to the park is tricky to find: on 19th Street, look for the smallish blue sign on the chain link fence, then cross the railroad tracks. The park's signature orange, black and gold pagoda is visible just beyond. Picnic under a willow tree by the river and take in the park's fantastic skyline views along with the landmark Canal Street Railroad Bridge -- it's the only vertical lift bridge on the Chicago River. "Shall We Gather at the River" is 3 p.m. Sunday (with family activities beginning at 2 p.m.; more information at cso.org). There will be musical performances by the Chicago Children's Choir and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at a free, rain-or-shine event celebrating the unveiling of Ping Tom Park's new boathouse.
300 W. 19th St., entrance at the west end of 19th Street on the north side of Chinatown Square