Sunday, February 6, 2011

When Night falls on Ibn Gvirol


Various places in Tel Aviv have a totally different character during the day than at night. And I am not only talking about the Diamond Trading Center in Ramat Gan which, at night, turns into a red – light – district. Tel Aviv’s enormously long road “Ibn Gvirol” is populated by rather ordinary people during the day whereas the wealthy and those who want to appear wealthy populate the street by night. The street itself as well as its surrounding belongs to Tel Aviv’s high price category. Banker, Hightech people and lawyers live here. People who are able to pay high rents and are able to afford expensive restaurants.

The Municipality of Tel Aviv is located at Ibn Gvirol. Behind the building, former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was killed in November 1995. Today only a single monument reminds us of the night on November 4. Right across, more and more snack bars and restaurants have opened its gates. People who intend having a good time should bring some money unless they prefer going to have their cup of coffee at the AROMA branch.

"Kikar Rabin - Rabin Square with the Municipality building". 

Kashrut in Ibn Gvirol ? There are some place with a Mehadrin Hechsher from the Rabbanut Tel Aviv run by Tel Aviv’s Chief Rabbi Israel Me’ir Lau. Many places, however, don’t have a Hechsher but tell you they are. The typical Tel Aviv argumentation: “We are kosher but don’t have a certificate”. This may be the case but, in the end, it turns out that the place is open on Shabbat.
There are some really fancy restaurants right across Kikar Rabin at the Municipality building but not always the wealthy go there. My guess is that many of those restaurants customers want to be seen and pretend to have money. People dream of belonging to a certain society and want to be IN.

Those who want to be seen should eat here. 

Although I don’t have the desire of being seen, feeling IN or putting myself into any center, I like walking around in Ibn Gvirol. Food and fancy fashion are not of any interest to me but I like watching people. How they react, how they behave and all this may tell you a lot about the person itself and even create a whole story in your imagination.

I did not take this photo in Ibn Gvirol but in the fashionable Shenkin Street / Tel Aviv. 

Nevertheless, not only the Yuppie club rules over the Ibn Gvirol at night. Maybe on one side; where the restaurants are located. Across Kikar Rabin, on the wooden benches where mothers take their children to play during the day, sleep the homeless.  Every evening they come out, sit on the benches near the water fountain and try to sleep. Not in groups but alone and only accompanied by their plastic bags and troleys (Agalot) storing their belongings. 

Yuppies, young couples, ordinary people - You can find everyone in Ibn Gvirol at night. No one is bothering the other person. A couple sits together and nearby sleeps a homeless. The mentally ill packing and unpacking his backbag next to the student with his laptop picking up some wireless Internet.

I highly recommend experiencing the Ibn Gvirol at night. 

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

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