i wrote this ages ago and never got round to posting. should have thought to post it last week to keep you all busy. oh well.
(The photos are from a much nicer day than today.)
I was a bit surprised to discover when I first moved here that there's a Chinatown in Newcastle. I don't know why it surprised me, but I've never really seen them in other cities (possibly just never found them as I'm pretty sure there's one in Manchester and I used to know Manchester centre fairly well). It's centred round Stowell Street, which is full of oriental restaurants, Chinese supermarkets and more.
The arch has been there since 2005 and serves as a focal point during Chinese New Year celebrations - somewhere for the dragon to go through. It's impressive, colourful, and it makes Chinatown a lot more noticeable.
Some thought that the arch should be placed at the top of Stowell Street, the main part of Chinatown. Fair enough. But it was placed on Gallowgate, to draw attention from passers-by and raise the profile of Chinatown.
Now, that's all very well. But look more closely at the photos. On the left of the gate, we find Chicken Cottage. It's a halal fried chicken shop. Not very Chinese.
And next to that? Tyneside Irish Centre.
I can't help but feel that the arch looks misplaced.