Tel-Aviv like a local - Allenby Street

What could be better than enjoying Tel-Aviv like a local ? But you have to choose your local, right ?! 

Bright young things on Allenby st.

I am a photographer, and have been practicing my art for nearly 30 years now.
 I like beautiful and perfect things and places, but I also like them to be a little bit run down, a little shabby, a little wrong. 
I like the mix.
This is my motto, in short.

So let's start.
 Tel-Aviv has three lovely boulevards - Ben-Gurion Bl., Chen Bl., and the trendiest of them all -  Rothschild boulevard.
All three are very pleasant, and definitely worth strolling along but my favorite street would be a rather noisy, messy and restless street - Allenby st.

This is where the heart of Tel-Aviv beats now, and always has, though it was hidden at times..

Eclectic architecture, grey street, blue collar people

Firstly I like the street because of it's light, which is the first thing I look at as a photographer.
 It's very urban and grey, yet there are quite a lot of trees, that soften the harsh Israeli light and make it 
much more interesting photography wise.
And then there is an incredible mix of people, architecture, art , cafes, shopping and night life .
Let's have a look at some favorite spots :

Stairway from the Twenties of last century. Falling apart and beautiful. Original wooden railings and hand painted tiles.

1. Lift up your head and look at the buildings. Walk into run down entrances to investigate and see the eclectic charm of old world Tel-Aviv (called Little Tel-Aviv) .
 Hand painted tiles, beautiful wood work and even an occasional wall painting.

2.  Updated, trendy gazoz at Cafe Bialik. Gazoz is an old fashioned soda (with syrup), that used to be popular in the early years of Tel-Aviv. 
It has been revived lately with natural syrups and herbs, much to my delight.
Cafe Bialik is a place of locals, colorful and pleasant, and it has live shows every evening, some with well known Israeli artists.  
39 Allenby st.


The Bialik house - Majestic stairway

3. Bialik st. is a small side street of Allenby street and is definitely worth visiting.
It's home to some really amazing buildings, demonstrating the best examples of the International Style (Bauhaus) and the Eclectic style.
But the real reason to visit, is a little house at it's end, that once was the residence of Chaim Nachman Bialik, the very loved national poet of Israel - The Bialik House
The house has been beautifully renovated, and is a lovely museum now.
Both preserving the house exactly as was when the poet lived there, some 80 years ago, and his heritage.
The Bialik House also hosts contemporary exhibitions and literary events.
There is a small fee to pay and it's worth it.

Vanity - best vintge

4. Vanity, the best vintage shop in Tel-Aviv, is run by the beautiful Orna Shaul, with a distinct feminine touch.
 The shop is located right of the corner of 50 Allenby st. (51 Ge'ula st. to be precise), and is a favorite among the Tel-Aviv cool crowd.
Shaul "hunts" vintage treasures in Europe and Israel and she has a distinct touch. 

Incredible greens at Hacarmel Market

5. Hacarmel market that starts at 60 Allenby street, was founded more than a 100 years ago, and is still very fresh and lively.
It is a big market where you can buy everything -  clothes, vegetables, spices, meat, souvenirs, candy, bread etc. 
And also sit down for a meal or a coffee. 
The alleys around the market are full of interesting places - men's clubs for card playing, whole area of spices shops, graffiti, authentic bakeries that only bake one kind of specialty (or two :)), trendy little cafes and bars, many small restaurants of home style cooking and an extensive meat district that I find interesting but can be repulsive to some, and is also home to a first class meat restaurant.
And so much more.
The market changes as the day rolls along. My favorite time is towards the evening, when the stalls turn on their big light bulbs , and the market looks more magical. 

All the Israeli presidents came to Pri-Or Photo House to get their portrait taken

6. The Photo House is a really amazing archive, gallery and gift shop, that has been operating since 1936.
For 71 years Pri-Or Photo House resided in 30 Allenby st. Unfortunately 7 years ago the building was pulled down in favor of a new taller one, and the institution had to move (it was meant to be temporary, but you know the saying - there is nothing more permanent than the temporary) to a new place, of Allenby - 
5 Tchernichovski st.
In the shop you can find really beautiful photographs of Israel's history, and Tel-Aviv in particular.
This is the perfect place for getting some home decoration and presents or just updating your history knowledge.  

The Poli House Hotel - Classic White City Bauhaus Architecture

7. This iconic building, on the corner of 62 Allenby st, right next to Hacarmel market, is a great example of Bauhaus architecture, from 1934.
The building has been recently restored, beautifully, and is now home to the Poli House, a boutique hotel with a roof top swimming pool.
 Although I haven't stayed there, I would guess that it is a great place for the adventurous traveler who likes a bit of luxury at the end of the day.

Even the deserted synagogue is a fine example of Eclectic Architecture. The name of the architect is proudly presented on the wall.

8. Allenby is a heaven of eclectic architecture. The street was founded in the 1920's and and it's builders fantasized combining European castles with Oriental ornaments, hence beautiful romantic buildings.
Unfortunately most of them are really crumbling down to the ground, like this deserted synagogue, designed by Yehuda Magidovitch
, the architect who planned many buildings on the street.

Modern Nostalgia - Ata

9. Most of the the fashion sold on Allenby is cheap stuff from the East.
The first brand to take advantage of the special, nostalgic atmosphere of the street is Ata.
An original Israeli brand that has been shut down and only recently restored, it takes inspiration from the work clothes of the Israeli pioneers, giving it a very cool interpretation. 
The shop is located on 93 Allenby street and offers in addition to great clothes, also accessories, cosmetics and more. 
All original Israeli. 

Courtyard beauty - Edmund cafe

10. Pay attention to the inner courtyards of Allenby.
Some interesting workshops, libraries and simple technicians are located in these secret spaces. 
Some have been turned into cafes and restaurants, sheltered from the noisy street, like this one -  Edmund cafe, at 97 Allenby street.

Oldest second hand book shop in Tel-Aviv - 88 Allenby street

11. As a teenager my main attraction to the street was this second hand book stall, at 88 Allenby, that made me fantasize of the book stalls on the Seine in Paris.
I still find it very romantic and love looking through the books, trying to find some special editions.
Apart from this stall, Allenby street has lots of second hand book shops, in endless languages.
These shops are a bit pale and hidden so pay good attention.

Spotted on Allenby street

12. The people on this street are extra diverse. The majority is hard working class folk, unfortunately a lot of homeless and beggars ( I stopped myself from taking their photos to respect their dignity), many old dignified ladies and also many colorful millennials. Just take your pick. People watching on the street is great.

Beta Ve Grega - The spirit of the new Allenby

13. Beta ve Grega, 121 Allenby st., epitomizes the new spirit of the street.
 Established in 2009 it caters to a very diverse and cool clientele. Although it looks rather shabby the food is always excellent.
 I especially like the tiny dishes served with attention that go well with alcohol or coffee. 
I like sitting in the cafe and watching the different characters passing by. 
Because it is at the very end of Allenby and near the seedy central bus station,
 you can see a lot of migrant workers and refugees, side by side with pretty boys and aspiring artists.
I used the cafe as a backdrop for a fashion shoot a few years ago.

Hamigdalor - inspiring book shop

14. Right across the street from Beta Ve Grega, (1 Levontin st. to be precise), is Hamigdalor (meaning - The Lighthouse),
 definitely one of the best bookshops in Tel-Aviv.
Hamigdalor has a great selection of books in English too, and beautiful art books.
 Together, on the premises with it, is Square Island, a small studio, specializing in printing Instagram photos, very professionally. 
I use it occasionally for printing small projects.

Follow me on Instagram   - @miridavidovitz

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