Formerly Seongnae Station (성내역), Jamsillaru is penned into a small corner between Jamsil Station, Mongchontoseong Station, and the Han River and is essentially just a point of access for the surrounding apartment complexes.
Unlike most stations, Jamsillaru isn’t situated on an intersection; instead, all four exits emerge onto a small plaza where a hundred or so bikes were parked in racks. The plaza is bordered on its east and west sides by commercial buildings. To the east, out Exit 1 or 2, in front of an elementary school and the vast Parkrio complex, is a new building with banks, cafes, and real estate offices. A small supermarket and fruit stand take up space on its east side, and a couple dozen well-dressed customers were getting their grocery shopping done. The building on the west side, out Exit 3 or 4, was noticeably older, and held pubs, restaurants, and a small fourth floor church.
Just in front of a large sculpture of a red curlicue going through a chrome donut, at the plaza’s south end was a taxi stand where cabs sat idling under the elevated tracks. I started south here, down Ogeum-ro (오금로), passing a barefoot woman on the sidewalk selling cloths and, of course, socks. Save for a cluster of buildings on the corner of Olympic-ro-35-gil (올림픽로35길) the neighborhood was all apartments, and I decided to put my notebook away for a while and just stroll under the gingkos.
Beginning at Olympic-ro-35-gil, there’s a walking path that veers off Ogeum-ro to the right, tagging along with the Line 2 tracks as they simultaneously curve towards Jamsil and descend back underground. The path has broad leafed trees and flowers alongside it, and despite the occasional clatter of a passing train it’s a better alternative than the sidewalk.
At the Jamsil end I turned around and walked back, then headed west on Olympic-ro-35-gil. On the next corner people were coming and going from 장미상가 (Rose Arcade), an older version of the buildings on the station plaza. Here too there was little but apartments, and all that was really left to do was to head to the local stretch of the river and its park.
From the station there’s actually an exit specifically for these things, 한강공원 방면, which goes up some steps to a long boarded walkway. Before getting to the river, the walkway provides access to the Songpa English Library for Children (송파어린이 영어작은도서관) which doesn’t look much like a library. It looks like a large industrial building in a really inconvenient spot because, basically, that’s what it is. Several large gates beneath the building and the huge, weed-filled basin they opened up onto led me to think that the building served as some sort of storm or flood drainage facility. The library seemed to occupy the top floor of the structure, where a small and random looking logo was tacked up on its exterior.
Past the library, the walkway led to the Han River and a section of the Han River Park (한강시민공원 (잠실지구)) where the Seongnae Stream (성내천) emerges from underneath the Jamsil Railway Bridge (잠실철교) to feed the river. Across the water, the Gangbyeon Techno Mart tower rises up out of all proportion to the surrounding buildings.
To the west of the bridge the park’s landscaping was hands-off, the trees, shrubs, flowers, and weeds left to grow at their discretion. To the east, things were more manicured, and there were two beds of red, white, pink, indigo, and violet wildflowers, tiny butterflies flitting above them. It was a hazy, overcast afternoon and not many people were out, not even the many dedicated bicyclists that the river’s paths usually attract, and with the little extra solitude I could notice signs of the natural denizens the park is a small haven for: the clicking of insects in the grass, the bird’s nest wedged into a corner of a catwalk on the bridge’s underside, the dozens of fish congregated where the stream meets the river.
Songpa English Library for Children (송파어린이 영어작은도서관)
Han River Park (한강시민공원 (잠실지구))