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and the infamous 'staircase to nowhere' (where desperate souls could take the quick way
out). Today, the Great World is locked up tight, awaiting a new lease of life.
Next door, the Chinese YMCA building, with its upturned eaves and ornate halls, is a
beautiful example of the Sino-Western design fusion that is so distinctively Shanghai.
Walk back across Yan'an Road, pausing to admire the former Grand Hotel at No. 120, a
grand edifice that is now a 'Worker's Cultural Palace', a legacy of the 1950s when resources
formerly reserved for the moneyed classes were made available to the new masters of New
China - the working classes.
If you're hungry, head to mega mall Raffles City , see 4 , page page 98 , which dominates
this block of Xizang (Tibet) Road and seems to be permanently packed with shoppers at any
time of day. Head up to the sixth floor, where a food court offers a choice of Asian and
Western delicacies.
Continue back to Moore Church 6 [map] (Mu'en Tang; 316 Xizang Road; services Sun
7.30am, 9am, 2pm, 7pm). The 1931 church, named after the Texas Methodist who donated
funds for its construction, was built by innovative architect László Hudec and includes a sur-
prising undulating effect in the exterior brickwork. Used as a middle school throughout the
Cultural Revolution, it was the first church in Shanghai to reopen in the late 1970s and the
first to consecrate bishops (in 1988).
Return north then west on Nanjing Road to the line of gracious old buildings that once
defined progressive Shanghai. When the eight-storey Pacific Hotel (Jinmen Dajiudian, 108
Nanjing Road West) was built in 1924 as the Union Insurance Building, it was the tallest
building in the city, and its bell tower was used by ships for navigation. Just west of the hotel
is the Shanghai Sports Club , formerly the International YMCA (Chinese residents had to
use the Chinese YMCA). Some of the remaining 'Old Shanghailanders' remember attending
afternoon tea dances in the second-floor ballroom; local residents continued this tradition un-
til 2010, when the ballroom was turned into an exhibition hall.
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