a window to herzl street



(If you click on the picture you can see a bigger version)

Herzl Street in south Tel Aviv was one of the city’s first streets. There are still plenty of signs of its former glories and it’s also a great place to walk if you want to see a quite different side of the city from the center.

The image on the right is a giant clock with Zodiac signs on the southernmost section of the street. It’s been broken for years (of course it’s still right twice a day). This is the seedy end of the street, near No Name Alley. There are a couple of falling-to-pieces old pre-State houses here with crumbling and bricked in arched Arab-style windows, with phoney for-sale signs on them (if you call to ask the price they tell you some ridiculous sum.) This section of the street is devoted to motorbike and motorscooter shops.

The left image is a toy store in the center of the street – an area devoted to similar stores selling wholesale and retail kid’s toys and costumes. These two guys are employed to stand outside, wear silly hats and blow bubbles all day to attract customers.

The middle image is a dusty lamp and lighting store, from the light fixtures part of the street. If you walk here at the right time – round about the late afternoon as the sun goes down – you can sometimes hear a beautiful jazz trumpet being played. The player works here – he has a music school but he plays right from his light fixtures store and fills the street with music.

Further up are wholesale clothes stores. Lots of the owners are Arabic-speaking Jews and Arabs. There are also plenty of Persian Jews here, many of the older ones were born in Iran and you can hear lots of Persian being spoken if you listen carefully. At lunchtime they congregate at the two Persian restaurants in the vicinity. It’s cool to listen to snatches of Persian here and there.