Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mystery Photo XV - Watching You

The last Mystery Photo - a full 6 months ago already - lasted a good few days before being identified as the Gay and Lesbain Support Centre (GLSC) centre on Bedford Street. This time round I've gone a little more obscure.

Where in Newtown would you find yourself observed by these two little eyes ?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sydney Council Elections - the Candidates

In the previous post I outlined why I was advocating a vote for Clover in the 2012 council elections. In this post we look at some of the other candidates for council and in particular for Lord Mayor

I'm not a big believer in the big parties taking over local councils; ultimately for them it's all about getting hold of developer donations. While the Labor candidate Linda Scott seems like a decent person with some good policies; at the end of the day she is still the Labor candidate who will ultimately end up doing what she is told - there are already signs of this. It's only 8 years ago that Labor merged South Sydney (some history here) with Sydney in the hope of creating a super council dominated by Labor; instead accidentally engineering Clover Moore's rise to power.

Hell will freeze over before a Mayor of Newtown will recommend a vote for the Liberals. They are campaigning on a Newman style slash and burn approach; and while it's possibly not fair to judge on the sins of the brother, the Liberal's are also offering us Tony Abbott's sister Christine Foster, who, sexual politics notwithstanding, is still a Liberal and related to that man ! The Liberals are also committed to increasing parking in the city; always a proven way to reduce congestion.

The Greens are the Greens - by now a known quantity. Their biggest problem here is that they are up against a popular progressive Mayor who shares many of their policies. I'm sure they'd get a lot more votes if Clover wasn't on the scene; as it is they're a good option for a second preference !

The team that are getting most of the publicity leading up to the election are Living Sydney. Although they've borrowed the name from Clover's old team, that's where the similarity ends. The team are a pro-business lobby who've aligned themselves with anti-Clover, anti-cycling and anti-progressive forces. Their policies (apart from the anti-cycling) are vague to the point of meaningless, and the Living Sydney mayoral candidate, Angela Vithoulkas has taken to making statements about all sorts of policy areas that are actually outside the scope of the Lord Mayor; demonstrating at best a naivety if not dishonesty about what is actually feasible for her to fix.

Not surprisingly, Living Sydney are the favourites of the Daily Telegraph, who have been gunning for Clover for the last 2-3 years. That on its own should be enough of a warning for prospective voters.

So there it is; as always, interested in your feedback.

Update September 3 - one candidate not mentioned here was Australia Sex Party candidate Zahra Stardust; mostly because it doesn't appear to be a serious candidature, given she has been a no-show at the candidates forum. However Zahra was the subject of a puff piece in the SMH today.

Update September 5 - I got a very polite email from Housing Action reminding me that they too are running for Sydney Council. With a ticket very much supporting the least well off in our council area theirs is a voice that should be heard on council. You can see the candidate bios here. Housing Action are preferencing the Greens.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sydney Council Elections 2012

So it's time for another council election. Sadly Newtown still hasn't been unified so I'm going to have to sit this one out again - the upside being I'll still be Mayor of Newtown come Monday September 10th.

The two elections that impact Newtown residents are those for City of Sydney and Marrickville councils. The election that is getting all the press recently is the City of Sydney one, with a strong media driven anti-Cover push; however Marrickville council has also had its time in the media sun as well during the recent Israeli BDS controversy. In this article I'm just talking about the CoS election; I'll talk about Marrickville in another post - if I get enough information to form an opinion !

Vote Clover

Straight to the point: I'll be voting for Clover Moore's team in the 2012 Sydney Council elections (I live on the Sydney side of the split). There are a variety of reasons for this - first and foremost of course is that I believe she will do the best job of all the candidates who have put their hand up. However I also feel from a position of principle it's important to support Clover in the face of the vicious attacks she has been subjected to from the bogan-tariat and their masters; part of a broader push against effective women leaders this country has been sadly experiencing over the last couple of years. A victory - with a large margin - for Clover and her team would be a real triumph for the forces of decency over that ugliness.

Clover Moore has been the most effective politician in the state over the last decade. Uniquely she has been able to state a plan; consult and then implement it. Importantly the to-do list is not empty and her vision for Sydney and what is left to change is still far more compelling than that of her opponents.

Thankfully in this case there is no conflict between principle and the best candidate - unfortunately for the sake of democracy none of the alternative candidates have really made a good case as to why they'd be better for the Sydney. Some of them have seen value in aligning themselves with the anti-Clover push, which I don't think will necessarily endear them with the electorate; at the end of the day, most Daily Telegraph readers won't be voting in the Sydney council elections - which is just as well for all of us.

In the next post I will go over some of the alternative candidates. For now - your thoughts ?

PS - Just for the record - I  have no connection - formal or informal - with any of the candidates in the election.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Old Motor Advertising

Last September, a fire on King Street (good set of photos here) in the Laundromat next to the King St Cyclery revealed (after demolition) an old advertisement on the side of the cyclery building. It was a great looking blast from the past - until of course it got tagged by some tossers a couple of days later.
As it was briefly

As if that wasn't insult enough, once the now empty block was put on the market, someone thought it would be a great idea to paint over the wall altogether, leaving yet another invitation to tagger morons. Sydney music enthusiast Greg Poppleton has been following the story of this old ad on his blog; which I recommend anyone interested in this story read. He even spotted a potential culprit for the second crime in this post !

Happily - all is not lost, and it appears the wall will be recreated at the Motor Life Museum at Albion Park. Credit to Greg Poppleton for chasing this up and ensuring this little piece of history will remain in some form. Check out the full story here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Newtown Hotel Collapse

At first it looked like another fire; although in the end it was 'just' a collapse. Renovations for the Newtown Hotel have been delayed while repairs are done to the floor and wall collapse last month.

Watkins Street remains closed during the emergency remedial repairs; who knows, the closure may become permanent if there aren't too many complaints ! In the mean time the developers may want to think twice before applying cacky green paint.

Thanks to Detective Chow - I've updated this post with a video of the demolition of the side wall:

Hatches X - April 2012

In the 3 months since the January edition a lot has changed on and around King Street; not a lot of it positive. Most of the dispatches over the last few months have been of much-loved local businesses - in their place more and more generic franchises have popped up. Following the migration of the many generic clothing shops from the also suffering Oxford Street, there's a risk we're losing what makes King St special. On the positive side this trend is mostly confined to King St north of the station and SoKi or South King Street is going from strength to strength.

Newtown Station April 2012

The Newtown Station renovations grind on towards their end 2012 finish, and we're starting to get an idea of what the finished product will look like. Here's my January update. Not much action on the AusGrid works lately, but there's been a container on Brown Street the last couple of months that is apparently going to support the introduction of Sydney Council Smartpoles between Wilson St and Missenden Road - more details on the council's website here.

New Openings
Not too much to get excited about this time round, most of the openings are the aforementioned chains:

  • Mad Mex, MooCow, Gelatissimo have all opened up Newtown branches this year
  • A new yoga venue, Yoga Union down on Union street - sorry I missed you last time :)
  • Funky Mark V (or so it seems) opened up this weekend - fingers crossed that this incarnation will go the distance, it's a great venue and their support of live music deserves to be rewarded - hopefully that will continue. Update - now called Black Sheep
  • A 'local supermarket' is replacing the furniture haven near Vanguard; apparently not a chain or known brand as had been rumoured. Looks like a couple of weeks away
  • Young Henry's brewery opened up in the back streets near the flour mills
Going ...
Unfortunately most of the news is here this time:

  • Quite spectacularly - Newtown Hotel collapsed last month (I mistakenly thought it was a fire) and remedial works are under way - Watkins Street still closed to cars.
  • Many departures of much loved businesses: Books on King (cats and all), So Music (not Hum) a while ago now, Fish, Cinque - both due to the Dendy makeover, but no sign that they will return
  • A Coffee and a Yarn have closed leaving cryptic messages about a potential rebirth
  • Repressed Records will soon be vacating the beautiful St George's Hall
  • The Asian supermarket Qmart near Burger Fuel disappeared without much notice; not sure if it was collateral damage from the short-lived Mr Cheng's up the road.
  • Dendy Newtown closed for renovations - no re-opening date at this stage
  • Gould's struggling according to their newsletter - but hanging in there. Drop down there and buy something, it's an institution we can't afford to lose. 
  • The Ramen noodle bar in Berkelouw has been replaced by a mum and bub's style cafe; according to tipster and reviewer Detective Chow.

Development Applications

  • Nothing much of interest. I had to laugh at the advertising for Newtown Village (next to Oporto) implying a nice quite lcoation with a leafy outlook rather than being squeezed between Enmore Road and the train line. Stand by for the noise complaints against Notes Live
  • There's a whole industry of food bloggers out there now, I've stored some Newtown specific links here for you to explore 
  • Detective Chow continues to bring his unique take to food blogging to Newtown 
  • Noted Newtown non-fan Terry Durack gave Spencer Guthrie a positive review in the SMH recently
  • Short lived street art in the carpark next to Mitre 10 - already painted over sadly
  • New online book review: Newtown Review of Books set up by locals Jean Bedford and Linda Funnell
  • The 100 year old advertising uncovered by the burning down of the laundromat has now been painted over after being tagged. See more here.

You can see all the links that I have shared on Twitter via my bit.ly public timeline.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mystery Photo XIII - No Parking

Has it really been more than a year since the last Mystery Photo ? Well 2011 was a little forgettable for many reasons, so let's just put it aside and start 2012 with a lucky 13th Mystery Photo. As always, the photo below is somewhere in Newtown (sometimes liberally interpreted, but this time very much central Newtown) and the goal is to be the first to identify the location as a comment here on the blog.

Bonus points for identifying the shop at the front of this building, and the popular new eatery from which this happy scene is visible.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Newtown Station January 2012 Update

When plans were finally committed to for the Newtown Station renovations, I couldn't believe that it wouldn't be until the end of 2012 before the works were finished. I guess now it's January 2012 it's starting to become clear that we really won't have an accessible station until the end of this year.

There has however been some obvious progress, and you can see from the photo below that the new station will absolutely dwarf the existing buildings, and indeed the surroundings.

According to the summary posted on the construction site boundary, the lifts will be installed this month and next, and the internal works for the retail are ongoing. Indeed it seems like some progress is being made on the original station buildings; hopefully we won't have to wait until the end of 2012 for them to be ready.

From upstairs at the Townie you can see that the concrete base of the concourse has been laid over the graveyard of the old kebab shop, hopefully sealing in any toxic leakage that may have built up over the countless late nights it was operating.

Hatches IX - Jan 2012

Hello and Happy New Year ! It's been a while since the last update here; as always lots has been going on up and down and just off King Street - below is just a summary of a few of the changes that have occurred in the last 6 months; hopefully it won't be 6 months to the next update !

Well it's January 2012 and now we're starting to understand why it's going to take until the end of this year to complete the Newtown Station upgrade. The progress is summarised in the notice below, see the detailed post for more information and photos.

Newtown Station Progress

Also still ongoing is the long running Energy Australia works; although Ausgrid, as they are now known have promised to repair the King St footpaths once all the shops connect to the beautiful black boxes on the footpaths, there's no news yet whether the road destruction on Wilson St, Angel St etc will be repaired. There are contact details below from their website:
If you have any questions, please contact our project team on the 24/7 project information line 1800 643 608 or email info-kingstreet@ausgrid.com.au.

Wilson St EnergyAustralia Repairs

New Openings

  • Quite a few small bars popping up in King Street finally, including Bench, Jester Seeds (Newtown vibe and Darlinghurst prices), and Kuki Tanuki in Erskineville, finally emerging from interminable renovations.
  • Sydney's Mexican food trend has spread to Newtown, with the opening of Beach Bistro next to the Hub, replacing the short lived (and Mayor-loved) Soprano's pizzeria; and the slow but promised opening of Mad Mex 
  • A swanky looking Basque inspired Kingfish Bistro as SoKi continues its fashionable evolution
  • A Korean barbecue restaurant has bravely opened above Tamana's North Indian diner; graveyard for Tamana's Upstairs, Posh Spice and most recently Top Level Pizza
Going ...
Old Advertising on King St
  • The Laundromat near King Street Cyclery burnt down spectacularly - revealing some great old advertising on the wall of the bike shop. Will be ever be nostalgic about today's advertising ? Hard to imagine !
  • Sadly Wilson St Gallery closed without much warning - apparently moved to Danks St, to be replaced (inexplicably) by a ballet shop Repertoire - that I give 6 months.
  • King St Cyclery itself has closed for renovations, moving to their repair centre near Marrickville Metro. Cheeky Monkey are still going strong
  • Taste Chicken surprisingly disappeared, not sure if anyone knows the story behind that.
  • The much loved Freaky Tiki in the Newtown Hotel closed - will it reappear after the renovations ?

Development Applications

  • A chain milk bar (above) to replace the suddenly closed African restaurant Kilimanjaro. I hope the mural is protected. 
  • Yet another gelato shop to replace the camera shop next door to African feeling. I guess they've seen how popular Gelatomassi is
  • The owners of the post office have applied to add some apartments out the back - across the road from the much loved Varga Bar.
  • There's a whole industry of food bloggers out there now, hard to keep track of them all ! A special mention though to Detective Chow who has quite an original take on the reviews; and has visited two Newtown locations recently.
  • New Vietnamese joint Rice Paper got a write up in the SMH Jan 21; coincidentally the same day the Mayor dined there. Recommended !
  • Whispers of The Hub coming back to life - what will this be ?
  • Some very cool guerrilla knitting outside the Neighbourhood centre

You can see all the links that I have shared on Twitter via my bit.ly public timeline.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hatches Batches and Dispatches VIII

A bit of scandal in SoKi (South King Street) after an apparent management coup at the popular Pastizzi cafe - leading to a boycott call taken up on Facebook and Twitter (and hopefully in the real world). There are some more details and photos on Street Food.

Meanwhile the interminable Energy Australia (now re-branded AusGrid - at least their info shop near the old Effies) works roll on.

New Openings

  • Charming World grocer - in the distant and seldom visited upper reaches of King St - wins the award for best new name this edition.
  • Ramen Bar adds some spice to the ground floor of Berkelouw in Newtown (which was opened by KRudd ex-PM - they forgot the Mayor). Already reviewed on Street Food.
  • A new(ish) cafe Pickwick's on Enmore Road is getting good reviews.

  • Much loved North Newtown institution Rosalinas is for lease
  • Crepe Kingdom on Enmore Road didn't last long; looks like some financial issues
  • The Eatery opposite old Elizabeths site is boarded up - not sure if for renovations or replacement. Anyone ?
  • Braintree Hemp and VietMaison north of Missenden Road both shut up shop recently
Development Applications

  • A small bar to replace Pleasure Zone (above) ?
  • A games Cafe on North King Street (details - while the DA is active)
  • There is a DA with Marrickville Council to redevelop the TA Andrews funeral home on Enmore Road into apartments and shops (commenter on Hatches VII
  • After 30 years, Edgeware Family Practice is moving to a practice in Church St Newtown (also from the comments)
  • Sopranos near the Hub has started live music - as has Corridor, which is also hosting some Comedy Festival acts
You can see all the links that I have shared on Twitter via my bit.ly public timeline.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hatches Batches and Dispatches VII

It's time for the first issue of Hatches for 2011. The big news in town has been the long awaited commencement of work on Newtown Station, with the roof of the platform removed one weekend in February, and the remaining structure now being surrounded in hoardings and slowly removed. Sadly after waiting so long it's still not until the end of 2012 that we will get the new station.

Another issue that has been generating a lot of concern is the long running Energy Australia works; especially given the quality of streets (Wilson St for example) that apparently are considered finished. While the King Street footpath will be repaired it seems we're stuck with the little black boxes outside all the shops - the price we have to pay to get the overhead wires removed.

Wilson St EnergyAustralia Repairs

New Openings
Pie Tin on Brown St
  • Pie Tin opened in the location of the old Pretty Dog on Brown Street. In a nice touch they also added a plaque giving some history of the building - hopefully this will be a trend that is continued.
  • There's a new(ish) Turkish restaurant Matee in the location of the old Bhan Thai restaurant next to Moose. Finally checked it out recently - recommended.
  • The Newtown Hotel has reopened as Freaky Tiki Bar - apparently for a 'while' until renovations get under way. Given the popularity of Freaky Tiki I wouldn't be surprised if some sort of Tiki theme survived the renovations - here's hoping.
  • Funky Cafe re-opened with new owners after being closed for a while.
  • Elizabeth's Bookshops moved down the road into the old Newtown Deli (which moved further down King Street to avoid the mad rents). At the moment there are two Elizabeth's on King St, with some pretty cheap good books on sale while they move.

Development Applications

  • Sydney Uni snuck out a master plan for Abercrombie Street while no-one was looking. 
  • The Townie applied for later trading hours for their smoking areas.
  • A plan for an art-gallery on Brown Street
  • Cafe Newtown got a review in the lateral eating blog, and the whole of South King Street got a write up on InnerWest Lifestyle, reminding me I really should finish my post on the same topic I started a year ago - before all the businesses mentioned close !
  • A Newtown local nominated himself for a minor Darwin award after tagging a police car - outside the Newtown Police Station. 
  • Quartly's Mitre Ten is consolidating into the back shop (on the Whately Street carpark) after 95 years pn the same site - and 125 in Newtown. The main store apparently will be replaced by a bloody chemist - just what Newtown needs. There's a photo from the 70s here on the excellent Newtown Project site.
  • In better news, Marrickville council are voting soon to implement a smoking ban in pubic places - that could lead to the incongruous situation of no smoking on just one half of King St
  • Finally, a call to arms in the Inner West Courier to re-unite Newtown in one council - although they neglected the bit about me being reinstated on the Mayoral Throne.
You can see all the links that I have shared on Twitter via my bit.ly public timeline.