257: Great World Entertainment Centre
Credit: Threesixfive Content Ltd
The Great World Entertainment Center was a sensation when it first opened in 1917. China had never experienced such an array of local and foreign entertainment all in one place. Gambling, magicians, pickpockets, acrobats, slot machines, massage, karaoke and prostitutes were all available under one roof in this imposing baroque building. Just as Nanjing East Road #049 was the place to go for Chinese tourists seeking out Shanghai's latest important fashions, so Great World was the most famous destination for entertainment. In recent years, the building has been completely renovated as part of the 2010 Expo #356 preparations but not yet reopened. It is lying unused as the authorities struggle with the question of what to put there. Certainly a return to its original purpose will not be tolerated, at least not so close to the mayor's office across the street in People's Square.