Archive for the ‘Woolloomooloo’ tag
The guys at Concrete Playground asked us to dream up a perfect Darlinghurst Nights weekend, so we obliged – but thought we’d better cross-post here for you.
Spring has sprung: the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and mating right outside your office window when you’re trying to concentrate on a spreadsheet. It’s time to fling off the knitwear and thermals and explore Sydney in the sun. Concrete Playground has collaborated with some of Sydney’s favourite bloggers to bring you the best picks of what our city has to offer in music, art, food, film and fashion this spring, as they describe their ideal spring weekend in Sydney.
This is Sydney By The Blog: Spring Fever.
Part Four: Matt and Polly from Darlinghurst Nights
Weekends are like gold for us. Wedged in busy weeks, we savour every free moment we get. We’re up at six on Saturday morning, and by seven we’re at Fratelli Paradiso on Challis Avenue, Potts Point, for sheep’s-milk yoghurt and granola. And coffee.
Then it’s up to the Sydney Sustainable Markets at Taylor Square to get apples, delicious East Sydney honey, and picnic goods. We have great plans of going to the pool, but actually wind up walking around the neighbourhood. Taking photos as we go. We might do some shopping at the brilliant One of a Kind on Darley Street or Blue Spinach down on the corner of Liverpool and Womerah Avenue.
We might stop and see new work by Matthys Gerber at Sarah Cottier Gallery, Matt Glenn’s show at James Dorahy, and the brilliant Turkish artist Ahmet Ögüt at Artspace – he took us on a very funny running lecture around Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst last week.
By then, we’re shopped and gallery-ed out. Taking the papers and picnic goods we head to Beare Park, on the water at Elizabeth Bay. If we get through the papers, we have books: Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, and Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This is where we’re likely to spend most of the afternoon. Lazing, hopefully in the sun.
We’re dying to see Trevor Jamieson in Namatjira, across town to Surry Hills. The play doesn’t start until eight, so we stop at our favourite Frenchie, Tabou. The cote de boeuf is spectacular – it has to be shared. After a cup of Mariage Fréres tea, we’re off to the Belvoir Street Theatre for Big Hart’s take on the Arrernte country artist’s life. Can’t wait.
You need a debrief after a play. So throwing around ideas, we walk briskly back to Tastevin, another favourite French restaurant, on Victoria Street, Darlinghurst. The food is perfect here, but we’re after a nightcap – and cheese and muscatels.
Sunday morning, we wake up bright and early, strap on running shoes and head out. We drop a couple of DVDs at Darlinghurst’s answer to Empire Records – Darlo DVD – and run down to Rushcutters Bay park. After working up a sweat, we go to Sel et Poivre on Victoria Street, Darlinghurst – of course – it’s a local favourite, and although the duck rilettes and country pate baguettes are staples, we’re there first thing. For $7.50, the special – bacon and egg baguette and coffee – is hard to beat.
Reading papers and magazines, breakfast turns into lunch, and pretty soon we’re walking the neighbourhood again, looking for interesting sights for the blog. You never know where you’ll find them. So we try to walk different streets and lanes every time, eyes peeled.
As the afternoon winds on, we stop for a boost at Gelato Messina on Victoria Street. We always try the new flavours, and although the Muum Maam (Thai green curry) is interesting, we’re not taken. Liquorice is a favourite, but it’s rarely available. Instead we opt for Number Two (peanut butter, caramel and chocolate fudge) and the Salted Caramel and White Choc-Chip – with an espresso – and sit on the footpath to do some people watching.
On the way home, we pick up a bottle of Montenegro from ABC Cellars on the corner of Farrell Avenue and Darlinghurst Road. Every week, we get a box of fresh produce from farms within five hours of Sydney from Food Connect (we pick it up at East Sydney Neighbourhood Association on Wednesdays) – and this week, we got Warrigal greens, kale, beetroot, watercress and coriander. Lining up a couple of records by John Fahey and Seaworthy, we set about finding a recipe that works. There’s not one, so Polly improvises and throws together a soup of kale, Warrigal greens, stock, egg and parmesan.
It’s hard to believe the weekend’s over. It’s Sunday night, we’re racing into summer – but after a dream weekend like this, we feel completely ready for the week.
I know, it sounds unlikely. But Turkish artist Ahmet Ogut is in town, and he wanted to give a running lecture.
So we arrived at Artspace in Woolloomooloo, strapped on running shoes, and left along Cowper Wharf Road. Reuben Keehan, curator at Artspace, took photos.
Cutting through the back streets, we stopped at corners along the way – little holes in the urban fabric, pot plants, framed pictures on the wall – basically anywhere Ahmet could stash away an A4 print of his work.
Here’s one that’s in the show. It’s a 2005 work called ‘Somebody Else’s Car’ (picture from Ahmet’s website) – a series of 20 slides showing the artist sticking yellow panels and a little ‘Taksi’ box to the roof, turning the random car into an Istanbul taxi.
As we ran along the streets, Ahmet ferreted these plastic sleeved A4 prints out from wherever he’d hidden them, and explained the work, told stories, got laughs.
Ahmet’s work is really preoccupied with the moment between the person seeing the art and the art itself. He’s done things like cover the floor of a gallery with asphalt. Or this work, part culture jammer, part wonderful whimsy.
It’s a 2009 piece called ‘This area is under 23 hour video and audio surveillance’.
Okay, doing a lecture while running isn’t for everyone. And it does feel like an extension of what Ahmet does as an artist. But you’ve got to admit, it’s a particularly not-dull way of doing an artist lecture.
Despite protests from a vocal group of local residents, the first stage of the Bourke Street bike path is almost finished.
The cycleway, developed by GMW Urban, runs between Cowper Wharf Road and Corfu Street in Woolloomooloo.
Sydneymedia says 75 per cent of submissions received (631 of 842) supported the cycleway – 182 raised issues such as safety, parking loss and the potential impact of the cycleway on trees.
It’s easy to see where those 182 residents are coming from. Parking’s short at the best of times. But as the Nature Conservation Council of NSW said in their submission, “Zero emissions transport infrastructure, such as safe cycleways, must take priority over residents’ parking spaces.”
The next stage is from Woolloomooloo to Green Square. It’s the first step in a planned network of 200km of bike paths around the city. And it’s fantastic to see the council not just talking about lovely ideas for 2030, but actually taking steps to make them happen.
Discarded shoes keep showing up across the neighbourhood.
These two pairs of heels, one a sort of fawn boot, and the other a bit more sensible, appeared on Bourke Street, Woolloomooloo, down near Harmer Street.
Just as I was beginning to really wonder what was going on, I hit the motherlode.
The silly season seemed quieter this year. The fireworks weren’t quite so explosive, not quite as much rubbish on Darlinghurst Road the next morning, and so on. But maybe that was just here. Maybe the kick-off-the-shoes urge was greater elsewhere.
I love seeing cast-offs in the street. They’re not always in working order, but there’s a lot of potential.
This cane chair was near the on-ramp to the Eastern Distributor, on Bourke Street, Woolloomooloo.
The council wants to increase city cycling by an amazing 500 per cent, and they’re putting in cycleways, cycle lanes and shared zones left, right and centre.
But it gets murky in the inner city, where new cycle paths eat into limited on-street parking. Like this cycle route through Bourke Street, from Woolloomooloo to Zetland, that’s recently gone to tender.
Residents object to losing precious parking spaces, but also what they’ve called the unsafe design of the cycleway, and along Bourke Street, between Taylor Square and Albion Streets, they’re making it clear which parking spaces are set to go.
Allegedly, 100 parking spaces are to go.
It’s a difficult predicament, but is it a bit of ‘not in our backyard’?
If you’ve been to Woolloomooloo, you’ve probably seen these apartments. But have you walked over their incredible roof?
To get from the Domain to Woolloomooloo, you can take a series of steps down to the Finger Wharf. If you want to stay up high and walk through a glorious rooftop garden though, I recommend walking across a connecting bridge to the roof of the Wharf 11 apartments (a lift at the Cowper Wharf Road end of the apartments takes you down to the wharf).
There are a couple of mentions of the Wharf 11 apartments in Land & Environment Court proceedings. It’s listed among landscape artist Peter McQueeney’s commissioned works, on his website, but it’s unclear whether he painted the scene or laid out the garden. There’s also a Bikely bike path running from Bronte through the city via the rooftop garden.
For such a spectacular rooftop garden, it’s remarkable how little coverage there is online. I thought the developers/landscape architects responsible would trumpet it from their various websites. But there’s not much out there.
It first appears in a 1989 Sydney Morning Herald story, ‘Victory claimed over wharf plan’:
Pivot would be allowed, however, to build a five-storey, 424-room hotel, with basement parking for 300 cars, on the western side of the bay, where Wharf 11 now stands. The hotel would be set back from the water’s edge, providing space for a landscaped promenade along the foreshore.
For a long time the wharf was a battle zone between naturalists, who wanted to strip away the Boy Charlton Pool and wharves, and redevelopers. Friends of the Finger Wharf (with the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the National Trust) campaigned for years against a series of hotel proposals. By 1994, it seems to have settled down with Peddle Thorp architects, according to another SMH piece, ‘Finger Wharf development plan soon to be unveiled to public’:
Under the proposal, the development – “predominantly masonry and glass” – would comprise 33 apartments, parking for 372 cars (88 for residents, the rest for visitors), a recreation centre, a 29-berth marina, landscaped roof areas and an eight-metre-wide boardwalk along the foreshore.
By the time it went to DA several years later, they’d swapped architects to Buchan Group, in the SMH again:
New to the basin will be a 32-unit residential complex on Wharf 11, the concrete slab across from the Finger Wharf, to be known as the Wharf Terraces. Originally by Andersons, this too has undergone “design development” by Buchan. Stapleton said Andersons had, during DA stages, made a lot of effort to keep the new building very low, and non-obtrusive from the Art Gallery of NSW. There would, he said, be almost “100 per cent access” for the public to the roof garden above the terraces, which would have two connecting bridges to the Botanic Gardens. There will also be a wide public walkway in front of the units, continuing to the Finger Wharf.
Response from architects has been qualified. The Dean of Architecture at the University of Sydney, Professor Neville Quarry, said the Finger Wharf was “not a bad job” considering it had to be altered from storage to residential.
The Wharf Terraces, however, were “pretty ordinary … repetitious glass-fronted quadrant balconied apartments.” Also, he was critical of the “out of character” facade pattern of the new block at the wharf’s end. Each apartment read as an individual rectangle, “utterly different” to the wharf’s pattern which was broken into quite small-scale square elements.
Construction began on August 20, 1997.
You can see why the developers and others involved haven’t trumpeted the story, but 12 years after the first bricks were laid on the site, it might be time to reevaluate. The gardens on top of Wharf 11 must be among Sydney’s earliest green roofs. The rich mix of native plants is accessible by anyone, and that’s pretty great.
We blogged about the glorious Dowling Street Container Garden in July, but what a difference a month makes.
In late July, Housing NSW, which owns the site, gave Greening Woolloomooloo five days to clear out their gardens. The gardeners have had a slight reprieve though, housing minister David Borger said he’s talking to Sydney council to find another site for the garden.
You see some odd sights walking the streets around Kings Cross.
But McElhone Street has a couple of lovely surprises on the side.
The laneway garden above is on Windeyer Street.
This one’s at the end of Rae Place.
These gardens remind us a lot of this one in Thomson Street.
Street proud residents, lane way love.