Saturday, August 4, 2007

In the old North

A few weeks ago I had to visit north Tel Aviv, something I do quite infrequently. There's nothing much I normally need in that part of town and I'm quite content to limit my leisure time activities to Neve Tsedek, Florentin, Yaffo , the beach and the city centre.

The photos here are from the 'old' north, just off Jabotinsky and quite close to north Dizengoff. . The first thing you notice is how green the streets are compared to the south. The trees here are old timers, the pavements are cleaner, broader and almost deserted. The buildings here are post 'Bauhaus', from the 50s and 60s, spacious and well maintained. By Israeli standards this is still a genteel neighbourhood. The north (tsafon ) has become synonymous, by way of association with the ashkenazim that tend to dominate in this neck of the woods, with wealth, elitism and snobbery. Hence a 'tsfoni' or a 'tsfonbon' means a rich, ashkenazi snob.

Hedges forming an arch, shielding the building from the street, are a common feature. Most of the buildings in this area are built on stilts, an idea supposed to allow the sea breeze to cool them in summer. The strip of hotels along the beachfront put an end to that in the 1970s and then the air-conditioning made it irrelevant.

For some reason , hair salons in north Tel Aviv always look like this. A few steps up from the pavement, a cactus in the entrance an awning over the front door.

And as a finale, a typical example of 50s brickwork on Jabotinsky itself.

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