Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Another office move

For the tenth time in 15 years working in Poland, I move offices (in the UK I worked 16 years at one address). This will now be the fourth address at which I have worked for the BPCC. On Tuesday we moved to Al. Szucha 3, a far more prestigious address than ul. Nowogrodzka, our headquarters for the past 12 months. For reasons I can't really discuss with you, our stay at Nowogrodzka has been terminated. Now, Nowogrodzka was supremely well located, but somewhat run down. Run down because of the anti-social activities of a tiny handful of its residents. Several will spend each and every day pan-handling for small change to buy alcohol, then proceed to drink themselves into a stupor and flop in any convenient doorway (often ours). Then there's the lady with the big dog that uses the pavements of ul. Nowogrodzka as a doggy toilet; forcing pedestrians to navigate around the huge lumps of canine excrement.

Nowogrodzka itself is exactly analogous to London's Great Marlborough St. If we take Oxford Circus as Rondo Dmowskiego, with Oxford St as Al. Jerozolimskie and Regents St as ul. Marszałkowska, we are looking at the primest of prime locations. Except Nowogrodzka has tenants that the landlord, the City of Warsaw, can neither extract any rent from, nor evict, as by law it must be able to offer alternative accommodation, which it can't afford to build. A street that could have been a beautiful thoroughfare of tastefully restored late 19th C. façades is let down by city authorities that abrogate their social responsibilities. This post from February shows how badly Warsaw is dealing with its tenants.

So. Farewell then, ul. Nowogrodzka. A commuter's dream; by foot, six minutes from the platform of Metro Centrum station, three minutes from bus and tram stops, nine minutes from the platform of W-wa Śródmieście and thence by train to W-wa Jeziorki.

Al. Szucha (above) - not quite so good. Two tram stops from Metro Politechnika, 700m to Pl. Na Rozdrożu, 1.5km on foot through Łazienki Park to the British Embassy. Being 2km nearer my house, it's now a mere 12.5km from home along Puławska (which is not a nice bicycle ride). The alternative, cycle-path-nearly-all-the-way route from home is 16.5km. One day Puławska will a cycle path running its entire length from Piaseczno to Pl. Unii Lubelskiej - we must push the city authorities for such infrastructure!

Despite being a pleasant tree-lined avenue filled with ministries and embassies, Al. Szucha remains notorious as the wartime home of the Gestapo; the basements of the buildings at the eastern end of the thoroughfare witnessed torture and execution on a daily basis throughout the city's occupation. Our new office is located on the sixth and seventh floors; from my desk I can see the twin towers of Pl. Zbawiciela and beyond them, the Palace of Culture. Our new office also has a balcony (view from it above).

This time last year:
Manufacturing a City of Culture

This time two years ago:
My thousandth post

This time three years ago:
Closure of ul. Poloneza
(and guess what - it's still officially closed!) 

This time four years ago:
Scenes from a suburban petrol station

This time five years ago:
Red Arrows over Lincolnshire from 30,000 ft

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