It was the annual municipal clean-up day in my Budapest neighborhood (a.k.a the Jewish quarter) last Friday. Each district has a different date for the clean-up, when residents may throw out--non-hazardous, non-organic--waste (especially large household items) and simply pile the unwanted stuff in front of their building in the street. It is an old "tradition" … Continue reading mad max for a day
The best thing about state socialist May Days were the balloons. As a kid, I usually got a balloon and cotton candy at the fair after the official parade. The fair--with cheap food, beer and entertainment--was a kind of reward to the people for marching under banners with slogans like "Forward on the road of … Continue reading may day balloons
Spring is finally here. It feels like we have been magically transported from winter to summer overnight. Someone aired their winter clothes before storing them away for the summer in the yard of our Budapest building and the square under our Vienna window was instantly filled with life at the first sign of spring last … Continue reading spring!
The late Margaret Thatcher visited the Great Market Hall in Budapest in February 1984. I remember what a huge deal the British prime minister's official visit to Hungary was, the state media making the most of it. Interestingly, the first thing my eighty-six-year-old neighbor--who until recently took the tram to the market hall every week--recalled … Continue reading thatcher in budapest
I love sifting through thrift stores, charity shops, antiquarian bookstores or any shop that sells used, vintage things with patina and history. One of my favorite such places in Budapest is Soós Fotó. They primarily sell second-hand cameras and photo equipment, but you can also find old photographs and postcards for pennies. This card--bought at … Continue reading easter 1916
I took these photos last Wednesday morning in my Budapest neigborhood (a.k.a. the Jewish quarter). I could not believe how much it had snowed overnight. And still no sign of spring... 1. Orthodox synagogue, Kazinczy Street, 2. Kazinczy Street, 3. Kazinczy Street, 4. Madách Imre Street, 5. Kazinczy Street, 6. Rumbach Sebestyén Street (with synagogue), … Continue reading snowy passover
One June morning last year, I stepped outside my building in the heart of Budapest to find myself in an unexpectedly unfamiliar neighborhood ... of Moscow. It was, in fact, not a strange dream but the pragmatic/desperate reality of regularly renting out and closing off central areas of the city with its eclectic architecture and … Continue reading double take