Friday, June 30, 2017

Cool and Soothing 'Green Lung'

The modest fountain in the above picture is not  placed, as most of the traditional ones, in the middle of a town square. This fountain with a circular basin , and straight, perpendicular falling water is located in a corner, a very strategic one - facing two long, busy roads, one of which (Ben-Gurion Rd. ) is dividing two cities (Bney- Brak and Ramat-Gan).

the  perpendicularly falling water

Even on hot days as our summer days are, it's quite cool near the fountain, and the sound of the falling water is very soothing. The whole spot is a little gem with grass, flowers, young trees and benches. It looks well kept - no litter, no mosquitos of any kind. There's no children's playground around, so the spot is usually quiet. It is a place mostly for young couples, teenagers, elderly people, passers by.

a cool, quiet little gem

Whenever I'm in the area I take the time to sit on a bench  and enjoy the serenity of the spot. Behind the fountain there's a coffee shop, one of the many coffee shops belonging to the fine chain called 'Aroma'. It's a pleasure to sit at a table outside the cafe with a cup of coffee and a sandwich and contemplate the fountain and its visitors. 

Aroma cafe with its red sign and people sitting outside

chairs and flowers outside the Aroma coffee shop

tiny birds found some food on a bench vis- a -vis the fountain

This spot is a blessed genuine 'green lung' in an urban area. It creates a much needed balance between Man and Nature, development and environment. We definitely need more of the kind.

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Across the street there's an interesting high  statue exhibit named "the sky is the limit,"  composed of human figures in motion . Like the fountain, this outdoor colorful work of art  gives people not only visual pleasure, but also much food to thought.

'the sky is the limit' statue

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tower of Peace

Frankly, I wouldn't like to live in a tower or near the woods - because of safety reasons, fire hazards in particular (See the latest disasters: Grenfell tower -London, and the forest fires in Portugal ).

I 've worked ,however,in a tower for many years, an office tower in Tel Aviv, called Shalom Tower ('shalom' meaning 'peace' in hebrew). 
I wasn't crazy about the place despite the view of the Mediterranean through my window .  I disliked the dependence on elevators and the impatient crowds waiting for them. I did like, though, its central position and proximity to the sea, city market, cultural and  shopping areas.

Panoramic view ,including the sea, from the 19th floor (not digital photo)

Shalom  Tower ,named after Shalom Meir, father of the tower's two developers, 
has 34 floors, the lobby and the first floor serving as free art galleries (mosaics, paintings, sculptures), and photo exhibitions (of people, maps, projects..) with emphasis on the city's history and urban development.

mosaic wall

mosaic wall

photo exhibits

photo exhibits

When its construction was completed, in 1965, it was the tallest tower in  the Middle East. Since then, many towers, both residential and office towers have been  erected in  the major cities of the country, some of them of  great architectural beauty.

Shalom Tower seen from adjacent Herzel street

Whether we like it or not, these towers are taking over. There's shortage of land, of housing, of parking lots, of green spots - so we're told - and the towers are supposed to solve these issues.

Let's hope that towers and skyscrapers regardless of place will bring real 'Shalom' ('Peace')  to the people that live/work in them.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

When general Allenby's street meets baron Rotschild's street

I had some errands to run in the big city. Near the intersection of the two major streets Allenby and Rothschild, I noticed... (how could I not? the cool music that emerged from that direction was loud and inviting) an indoors food market that was not there several months ago. I entered the place (located in a passage of a building) to have a closer look at it.

It is not big but it has  a great variety of food displayed in a few small shops (fruit and vegetables, fish, liquor store), and on many stands (coffee, bakery products, fish and chips, freshly squeezed juices, pasta, sandwiches, japanese dishes, etc..).There's something for everyone, as they say.. At the entrance/exit - a stationary trike with young vendors selling ice-cream.

Nothing special about the food concept.. The design of the place, however, is eye-catching:  six-seven columns with scenes from daily life created in colorful mosaics; the entrance wall, the roof and some columns are covered with lovely decorative tiles. Interesting light fixtures too, and a variety of chairs and tables to acommodate the needs of the customers. No doubt, food goes well with good design and architecture.

Allenby street (named in honor of the british field mareshal Edmund Allenby) is a very busy commercial street with all kinds of shops and eateries.
Rothschild Boulevard (named in honor of baron Edmund James Rothschild of the european banking dynasty) is a more elegant and iconic street. It has superb architecture and  houses cultural institutions, art galleries, gourmet restaurants, bank headquarters. 

Allenby-Rothschild intersection

Both 'Edmunds' - the army figure and the financial magnate- would have been  pleased.  People-  locals and tourists - love these two lively streets in the heart of the city of Tel-Aviv. And now this food market thing...

The Rothschild-Allenby food market seems to be a fusion of  two worlds represented by the two different streets which sit in the same area. It fits the simplicity of those who live/shop/walk on Allenby street, and the sophistication of those who live/work/ enjoy culture on Rothschild boulevard. 

That's how it goes today - flexible boundaries; fast food near chef food, soldiers sitting at the bar next to bankers, locals mingling with tourists, young and old - all looking for a tasty bite at a decent price.