Wangfujing, Then and Now

This morning I made a trek down to Wangfujing, Beijing’s main shopping street. I don’t go down there too often, but today one of the things I wanted to do was take a picture for a “then and now” set.

This first photo was taken on the corner of Wangfujing and Changan Avenue, looking towards the northeast. At that time, Wangfujing was still a narrow 2 lane road lined with shade trees and 2-story buildings. The MacDonald’s in the photo was Beijing’s first, which at the time claimed to be the largest in the world. I was living in Changchun at the time, and would (with my fellow language school classmates) make regular shopping trips to Beijing. The overnight train arrived into Beijing around ten in the morning, and we would make a bee-line to this MacDonald’s. It was almost too good to be true.

We sensed China was on the cusp of some radical changes (what better proof than this, right?), but never imagined the scope or rate at which they were going to come.

Wangfujing, 1994

This photo is taken at exactly the same spot, almost twenty years later. The MacDonald’s got moved up the street.


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8 thoughts on “Wangfujing, Then and Now

  1. Nice post Jo. A walk down memory lane. I was in TJ in ’93-’94 and several of us would occasionally take the train to Beijing on the weekends, cram into a yellow mianbao and head over to WangFuJing to Mickey D’s. Like you said, who could have fathomed the radical changes that would take place there and throughout the country; simply mind-boggling.

    • Ah, the yellow mianbao’s. I should do an entire post on those. They were quite the adventure. But oh so cheap!!! You could get across Beijing for 20 kuai!