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Dec 10, 2022 / 16:40

Tales of Hanoi Streets: Trinh Cong Son – street named after an iconic musician

The talented musician from Hue captured the hearts of Hanoians in the most admirable way.

Located next to West Lake’s water park and lotus ponds, Trinh Cong Son walking street is 900 meters long, covering part of alley 431 of  Au Co Street and alley 612 of Lac Long Quan Street, both in Tay Ho District.

Opened in May 2018 and renovated in April 2022, this is the second pedestrian space in Hanoi - besides the overcrowded one around Hoan Kiem Lake.

Part of Trinh Cong Son Street on a sunny winter day. Photo: Song Anh

Trinh Cong Son Street, which is neither in the center of the city nor surrounded by ancient monuments, is a favorite of many visitors for its fresh air and quiet, romantic atmosphere, especially during the lotus season.

Between large lotus ponds stretches the “Road of Love”, as young visitors call it. On the roadbed are painted musical notes along with the names of Trinh Cong Son’s famous songs. At the beginning of the road, the iron welcome gate is heart-shaped and decorated with pots of petunias and paper flowers.

Another popular corner among selfie addicts is the “Road of Art”, featuring hanging lights and umbrellas of various colors. “The 50 meters long, 14 meters wide road between two ponds has become a 3D painting with many bending waves in four main colors: yellow, orange, white, and purple-brown. The pattern is inspired by the song ‘Missing Hanoi’s Autumn’ by the famed musician”, painter Nguyen Thu Thuy- director of the art project in Trinh Cong Son Street explained.

Art performance at the weekend in Trinh Cong Son Street. Photo: Song Anh

On Saturday and Sunday evenings, diverse and fascinating performances take place on three stages in the walking area. The main stage specializes in puppet and variety shows for children. The Artistic Bridge stage is a space for Trinh’s music as well as traditional genres like Ca tru or Vietnamese musical storytelling and Quan ho or musical challenges and responses, favored by the middle-aged audience. Lastly, at the stage at the lotus pond junction,  programs for youthful spectators are organized.

Van Anh, a resident of Hai Ba Trung District who stopped by the street on a Saturday afternoon, share her feeling with The Hanoi Times, “I’m a lover of Trinh’s music. Of course, I can’t come here every weekend, but I will whenever I have time. I get to listen to my favorite music while making new friends with the same interest. Listening to Trinh’s songs in this space is a special pleasure.”

As for Ricky, an Englishman living in Quang An Ward in Tay Ho District, his joy is to bring his wife and son here to watch acrobatic stunts and puppet shows. “We love the way Vietnamese arts and cuisine are introduced in such a safe and romantic street space,” he told The Hanoi Times.

 Part of the “Road of Art” on Trinh Cong Son Street. Photo: Minh An

In addition to performances, Trinh Cong Son pedestrian street is lined with more than 25 stalls selling handicrafts and dishes from different regions of Vietnam.

Visitors can have a taste of Tay Ho District’s specialties including the West Lake shrimp cake, noodle soup with snail, rice cracker with millet paste, lotus tea, mung bean sweet soup, purple sticky rice or Phu Thuong sticky rice, among many others. Common fast food like hotdogs or fried chicken is also served here.

For more entertainment, there are fishing games, statue painting, bounce houses, roller skating, and electric cars for kids. Moreover, the surrounding pavements are filled with quaint bars and cafes.

Not only attracting locals and tourists on weekends and holidays, Trinh Cong Son walking street has been chosen as a venue for cultural activities of all kinds. Notably in September, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-South Korea diplomatic relations, the cultural exchange event themed “Flying Petals” was successfully held. Before the event loved by K-pop fans, Tay Ho District organized “Full Moon Festival Night” for children in the district to celebrate the 2022’s Mid-Autumn Festival.

A little kid poses for photos in the portrait painting of famous musician Trinh Cong Son. Photo: Doan Phu Tien 

Meanwhile, in November, a promotional event was held in the area, with 100 stands introducing over 2,000 OCOP (One Commune - One Product) items imbued with the cultures of Central Vietnam and Western Highlands. 

In the coming time, Trinh Cong Son pedestrian street will host the Hanoi Street Workout Open Cup 2022, the 3rd season of Tay Ho’s Best Singing Voice contest, Youth Action Day, Thai Embassy’s running race, among others.

Trinh Cong Son (1939-2001) was a Vietnamese songwriter, musician, poet, and painter. Widely regarded as Vietnam’s Bob Dylan, Trinh’s music explores themes of love, loss, and anti-war sentiments during the Vietnam War.

He left a legacy of around 600 songs, mainly known and loved for their slow and poignant melodies combined with poetic, philosophical lyrics. Several streets, concerts, and movies have been devoted to the songwriter.

On 28 February 2019, a Google doodle celebrated what would have been Trinh Cong Son's 80th birthday, making him the first Vietnamese to have the honor - the second being painter Bui Xuan Phai in the same year.

The culinary part of Trinh Cong Son Street. Photo: Ha Xu