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Chinatown’s Grungy Rock Waterfall Will Soon Be a Greener Place

Say goodbye to Chinatown’s dank, sketchy and expensive eyesore.


Photo: Ambika Castle


Downtown residents and businesses complained for years that the lava-rock waterfall next to the Hawai‘i Theatre was a dank, sketchy and expensive eyesore.


City officials heard their pleas and recently demolished the water feature in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Park and plan to plant grass there.


“The waters of the fountain have been repeatedly fouled and the structure itself provided a haven for unsafe and potentially illegal activities,” says city spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke.

Downtown Neighborhood Board member Lynne Matusow agrees: “In addition to shi-shi, the homeless were using it to bathe and wash laundry, and the hollow rocks became home to rats, the vermin variety.” City and citizens alike agreed it was hard to maintain.


The city parks department estimated crews did the renovation work for $35,000, working only on weekends to limit the disruption to traffic and nearby businesses.


Matusow is looking forward to the green space. “The park should be a place of which people are proud. It should be clean and inviting and welcoming also to the theater attendees. I think the (Honolulu Mayor) Caldwell administration is listening.”


Read More Stories by Robbie Dingeman


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Honolulu Magazine April 2020
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