When I came to Honolulu years ago A’ala Park was synonymous for a crack infested area. There were no laws forcing people out of parks at 10 p.m. While these rules can be draconian, I understand the origins of the rigidity. Dealers used to use port a potties as offices to exchange money for drugs behind a closed door of sorts. There are always people hanging around dealers trying to think of ways to be of service for a kibble. One woman used to station herself by a port a potties that had become the place to find the dope man. When it got dark he left and she functioned as an answering service. She told disappointed seekers that the man was gone for the day, as if he worked ordinary business hours, but if they wanted to leave a name and number she would pass along the message. Would-be customers thought they were getting the jump on everyone but in truth when he was gone he wasn’t open to hearing from any of the crackheads he scorned. No one received a call. Dealers worked in shifts, possibly deciding amongst themselves hours of operation and location, but I cannot confirm this speculation The homeless were in the park 24/7 and there wasn’t an inch of available space. You’ve seen sidewalks taken over by Honolulu shanty towns, I am sure. Imagine several hundred people crammed into that space. There was no dog park back then and it was not a kid friendly place. Remember the parents of a missing child, Peter Boy, who claimed they gave the preschooler to Auntie in A’ala Park? Ten years later the truth comes out It was no surprise the child had been murdered all along. Who drops a small child off with strangers at a shanty town, and who would have the time for child care and a full time addiction plus subsistence survival? Yes A’ala Park was the kind of place where you’d expect a child to come to a bad ending. If you had seen it before the turn of the century you’d marvel at the dog park, the small playground, the skateboard area…if you knew nothing of it’s history you might think, there’s more dirt than grass and it’s not well appointed for a park in the downtown area of the state’s capitol city. You might wonder what the childless adults are doing in the corner of the park. Hey, at least they’re confined to the corner. Three stars.