Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ping Tom Memorial Bust


Ping Tom Memorial Bust, 2005
Liao Huilan
Ping Tom Park
300 West 19th Street

            Ping Tom (1935-1995), a lifelong resident of the Chinatown neighborhood, was a successful businessman and founding president of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. Ping Tom also served as an advisor to U.S. Senators, Illinois Governors and Chicago mayors. The Chinese American Development Corporation, an organization he and other business leaders started, commissioned this bust to honor the park’s namesake. In several stages between the late 1990s and 2010, the Chicago Park District worked to transform a former railroad yard on the South Branch of the Chicago River. It was the first public green space developed in Chinatown in decades. The Chinese-American styled park is perhaps best known for hosting the annual Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy. The season finale of the sixth season of CBS-TV reality show The Amazing Race ended in Ping Tom Memorial Park. When contestants hailed cabs to get there, most of the drivers did not know how to find the park which is located blocks away from the well-known Chinatown Square shopping area Ping Tom helped create.

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