Stev Pitchford provides us with some views of Taipei as it once was. I'll post more of them tomorrow.
These are some pictures showing Taipei in late-1959. To go downtown from Grass Mountain, I'd catch a bus and ride down to a bus stop near the train station. If I was already at the TDC compound, I'd just call a cab and tell the driver to take me to Shiminding (I think that translates to West Gate District).
I'd have the cab driver let me out on this circle near the Shin Sheng Theater. The Chinese were big movie fans and there were several theaters in the downtown area showing American, European and Asian movies. Shortly after this picture was taken, "The Big Country" starring Gregory Peck and Jean Simmons opened in the Shin Sheng. The theater occupied a whole city block and had entrances on all four corners. When the movie first opened, people were lined up from each entrance back to the next corner to buy tickets.
Downtown Taipei was always a busy place. Besides the theaters and restaurants, there were shops and street vendors where you could shop for just about anything you could think of.