I walked along King George and Shenkin St. earlier this week desperately trying to find myself a costume that covers my whole behind and not just half of it. As I entered each store, begging for an adult size, I was consoled with the fact that on THIS Purim, I know where to go – Florentine. You can imagine how upset I was when I read on the net that the bars in the area could not reach an agreement with the police about the traditional party, and so, it was cancelled. Yay, Purim with family, I couldn’t be more excited…
Apparently, the traditional parties in Florentine are illegal, and the Tel Aviv municipality has a clear agenda against them because “there is no one to take responsibility for them”. Ok, so I understand, the bar owners do not want to take responsibility of 40,000 people (the number of people that partied on the streets of Florentine last Purim). What I don’t understand is why the T.A municipality would take responsibility for a different area? Rothschild Street enjoyed sponsoring and a budget, why not Florentine?
The traditional street parties in Florentine occur three times a year: New Years, Purim and Independence Day. When they cancelled the traditional “Sylvester” party in Florentine, commemorating the beginning of 2010, I was in such dismay. I couldn’t understand for the life of me what the big deal was.
On my mission to find out the conspiracy, I went out and asked questions. There is something fishy in Florentine, and no, it’s not the leftover hookers and crack heads from the late 90’s. It is not only the street parties that are being cancelled. The bars in Florentine are being showered with notices given to them by the T.A municipality on the basis of closing time, noise or having chairs outside of the bar.
The reasoning behind the tickets (430 shekels each) is that Florentine is classified as a “residential area”. The parties, and the noise from the clubs, disturb the peace. But here’s a question, do they not disturb the peace on Rothschild St.? Can’t the residents suck it up 3 times a year?
Ten years ago Florentine was the ghetto. Living in it, like I said before, were crack-whores and illegal immigrants. With the prices in real estate rising, many young people and artists have slowly moved into the area, making it hip and cool – much like what happened in Williamsburg, New York (and continues throughout Brooklyn).
The point is, that the neighborhood changed so drastically, including a mass change in inhabitants that I am fairly certain that there are not many people who lived in Florentine before it became cool. The new residents chose to live in a hip area, so they should bear the consequences or leave.
Because of these changes I doubt the “residential” excuse. The only reasoning behind picking on small businesses and making street parties (that have been occurring for years) “illegal”, is financial interest in the neighborhood. Real estate in Tel Aviv is hard to find. 10 years ago Florentine was dirt cheap and perfect for investment. Today Florentine is cool and land is expensive. So who has a vested interest in ruining a neighborhood, buying it for cheap and making it prime? I guess the T.A municipality does.