twilight zone, south tel aviv

When I first moved to Israel, I lived in a converted factory in south Tel Aviv, on an alley that didn’t even have a name. In the alley was another factory (photograph below), a nightclub and an illegal gambling joint disguised as a disused warehouse.

During the day, Nameless Alley was filled with parked cars, the noise of the factory and Russian-speaking workers who sewed clothes in another place next door. On weekend nights, it was filled with hundreds of 15 and 16 year old kids, dressed in the latest fashions, smoking cigarettes and desperate to get into the seedy club. Some would obtain alcopops and beer from a nearby kiosk. As the night progressed, crowds of kids would pee in the tiny space behind our converted factory, and by the morning the place would be filled with trash, the reek of stale urine and a few clusters of dazed-looking teens waiting for a taxi home.

One night, there was a fight between the “trendy” teenagers who went to “our” nightclub and the “freaks” who frequented the heavy metal/ indie club across the road. Glass bottles, stones, sticks rained down on the streets, kids were screaming bloody murder. At about 3AM, a gaggle of kids came to the peeing space behind the converted factory, outside our bedroom window. But instead of peeing, they took a metal bar and smashed our window to pieces. Great shards of glass fell on us, I screamed my head off and the kids legged it. The area was crawling with plainclothes police but they couldn’t catch the window-smashers.

 

 

The factory, next door and identical to the converted factory. The painted sign on the door says “No Parking” – a ubiquitous sign in Tel Aviv that everyone ignores. The yellow and black sign reads “”There is a solution to bounced checks!”.

 

The entrance to Nameless Alley from Herzl Street, marked by a defunct air conditioning unit and an arrow.

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