Not “Mr. Rogers” neighborhood…..

Let me tell you al ittle bit about the neighborhood that I’m working in……I am in an old printing factory which has morphed into the Benyamini Center. On our right is a tee shirt company that prints shirts for the military. The female owners seem to hate everyone, there is a near constant cacphony of yelling from the factory….Next door to them is A La Rampa, the sweetest restaurant in town that regularly hosts Israeli film stars, plays kick ass great music and offers me a Whiskey or an Arak on the house at lunchtime.  The restaurant is on the loading ramp  of the factory next door to them, hence the name…. a series of unlikely neighbors, for sure. It gets even weirder and more fun….Around the corner is a series of low covered buildings that houses every kind of early industrial era manufacturing that you can imagine. Some of the machines look 100 years old. In one block I could have things made in wood, steel, copper, glass, vinyl, plastic, get my motorcycle repaired, have something spray lacquered, buy weed, and/or smoke at the corner hooka bar. We are on the edge of a massive neighborhood of Ethipoan and Sudanese refugees. Across the street is Haartez, the opposition ( Left leaning) newspaper of Israel). Next to that are huge ugly 1960’s era concrete  buildings that house artists, illegal immigrants, art galleries and clandestine activities of all kinds. Needless to say, I feel very much at home here!

Below are some snaps of my neighborhood-

Benjamini Center

benjamini

A La Rampa, not in any guidebook. Go there.

a la rampa

The tiny, intense kitchen, preparing my grilled fava beans with olive oil and sea salt, served over polenta and goat cheese dumplings…..

a la rampa kitchen

Ugly, slightly scary, piss smelling warehouses across the street-COVERED in Graffiti. I will post separately about this.

warhouses

ok, some graffiti-

street art-kitchen

Two men grafiti

street artgraf house

rabbit graf

And this is just a tiny number of shots I’ve taken of the street art. One of the things that I love is that the street art is everywhere, not just in show off-y very public sites. It’s in alleys, on the back of dumpsters, the back walls of junkyards. Here’s another fav. of mine. It’s only about five inches tall and is in an alley. The sun caught it in a very pretty way here…..

little man graf

Here is a shot of a canvas manufacturing shop nearby, every day they move the sewing machines out on the sidewalk to work. But inside is the brain trust, check it out-

shop in TA

 

Yossi and Erez, the gents I buy dates and nuts from. They think I’m the funniest thing they’ve ever met……

Israel 2014_3196

And finally- Meet Dr. Weed. I met this guy as he was driving a car around Tel Aviv advocating the legalization of marijuana. Very cute, very stoned. I salute you, sir and wish you the happiest of days!

pot guy 2pot guy

Back to work…….( after my shot of Arak, of course)

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7 Responses to Not “Mr. Rogers” neighborhood…..

  1. Jim Friedlich says:

    Great photos and wonderful travelogue, Melissa. Does the WeedMobile drive to New York?

  2. RBW says:

    This stuff is GOLDEN, Melissa. Just what I need on a day when the temps will not get above 20 degrees F. So happy for you. Thanks for the posts. Looking forward to hearing more about it on your return.

  3. Artenyahoo Medninyahoo says:

    That place looks like a foriegn country. Where are you, Detroit?

  4. Meg Shiffler says:

    This is the morning that I catch up with your life in Israel. Thank you thank you thank you for the blog! It allows us all to have an adventure with you. XO

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