Monday, 10 September 2012

Raise a glass to Powiśle?

Here, on the race-track wall at Służewiec, we have the very finest in contemporary Polish street art. Contemporary political satire, witty and intelligent, post-modern in tone, referencing Soviet propaganda, and referring of course to Warsaw mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz's current crack-down on late-night boozing in Powiśle's hipster hang-outs such as PKP Powiśle, Na Lato and Syreni Śpiew. The caption: "Maybe one for Powiśle?"

The debate referred to is between the well-heeled who live in the exclusive apartment blocks like Holland Park and Patria (who don't like their sleep disturbed by the apparent rowdiness) and the young trendies who claim to have turned Powiśle into one of Warsaw's coolest districts, thereby raising property prices through gentrification - or rather trendification-by-proxy.

Who's right here? Hipsters are Powiśle's answer to the aircraft that fly over Jeziorki: noisy interlopers that keep the neighbourhood from turning to dull mainstream. Mrs G-W: let the klubokawiarnie thrive; they are the life-blood of Powiśle. Anyway, summer's ending, university term-time will soon begin, and those all-nighters will fade into memory until next summer.

And here (right) is the 1954 original (by V. Govorkov). "No (to alcohol)!" The only thing that's missing from the 2012 street art piece is the plate of food. Is this a message to Mrs G-W, or artistic licence?

In Soviet times as indeed today, over-indulgence was a problem. But who should determine the character of a district - the city authorities, or the market? Then there is the issue of the smell of fresh urine and vomit over the pavements...

This time two years ago:
Mud, rain and local elections (Mrs G-W gets a thumbs down)

This time four years ago:
There must be a better way (commuting woes, again)


Paddy said...

I've been waiting for a post on the debate over Powisle hang outs. Spasibo. Plus ca change...

AndrzejK said...

I wonder whether the rennaisance of Powisle has anything to do with the fact that 2 of its former residents now have their abode in Wawel?