More desecration of Istanbul

16 Feb

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I wonder if we just progressively get used to the ugliness they sell us.  Ok, the Hilton, and its leisurely horizontalness, became a modernist classic instantly, as Hiltons are wont to do. (Athens’ is a jewel too, even more).  Another generation even grew to like the Marmara, made it a chic meeting place even.  We fretted about the mega-monster-Swiss; there were those who said it was going to threaten Dolmabahçe’s foundation.  Now it just lies there serenely on its ridge, like the Acropolis or the Getty in LA, almost a partner to the Hilton.  The “Sky-Box,” which apparently can be translated into pun-Turkish as “Shit-Crate” is something I have to turn my face away from even more than 25 years after its sprouting.

Dunno what they have in mind for Maçka projects.  Will probably be a nightmare and, until the faux-fetish of Gezi, there’s a real, pleasantly landscaped park there to be sacrificed.

And sorry, this might just be for C-Town nerds, but this is a good pic for illustrating the failure of Erdoğan’s Taksim tunnel.  The tunnel runs under the central hill of the photo, where the tallest building (the Marmara) is.  It was supposed to relieve the traffic that met at the hilltop that way.  So it enters in Dolapdere, a nasty gully not seen in the pic, but that seems to have been growing cool, as appropriate pricing-out of Kurdish and Gypsy populations has succeeded.  The top of the hill has been paved over — pedestrianized supposedly — but really just paved over.  Taksim Square has been expanded north to the Hilton practically, creating an expanse of concrete desolation that has all the charm of a Soviet era central plaza in a provincial city like Perm’.  Tâlimhâne, which dropped down to the northeast and was a funky neighborhood of car parts and gay bars has also been pedestrianized and and it seems like some bizarre paradox has occurred: as the Beyoğlu municipality has tried to squash outdoor drinking and tavern life in the center of Pera, it looks like it’s wanted to promote in Disneyfied Tâlimhâne, which is now full of taverns with waiters trying to shoo you in, a sign that should indicate “stay away” in any country in the world.

Ultimately the tunnel SOLVED NOTHING.  Kabataş, the dock-ferry-landing area show in the pic, simply does not have enough empty space or exit ramps with which to draw exiting traffic away from the tunnel exit.  So it all backs ups and driving through the area is just worse than it has ever been.  People tell me it had started earlier, but only remember about 2013-2014 when cabdrivers started to just refuse to go anywhere near the area, which is hard because it is pretty much the central node of the city; not obnoxious or disdainfully — politely, in fact — that you’re just going to get there faster walking.

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