When I first entered the holy grail of Potts Point it was in 1994 – Holiday Inn was on Macleay street, where Icon Building is now. I was supposed to be studying Project Management course there, but instead I was studying Potts Point.
For 4 days we had coffee breaks at the hotel with incredibly bitter burnt coffee, and I tried to see the glimpses of the suburb, which has taken my heart since and never let my heart go. There were tree-lined streets (like in Europe), there was an incredible Bookshop, which, unfortunately, closed its doors only a month ago. At the time, it had the books translated from all the languages from all over the world. The shop reminded me the bookshop in Verona in Piazza D’Erbe. There were little cafes with an outdoor chairs (like in Europe) and rather roguish looking pubs on Darlinghurst Road. I walked to Woolloomooloo and saw, – OMG – Navy Ships in the middle of the city. After visiting Sebastopol in Ukraine (sadly Russia now), which had about 10 military zones, before you could spot any ships, the feeling of openness was amazingly liberating. The whole buzz was of European city, patchy somewhat, but still of European city.
Of course, there was the City, 5 km away with its skyscrapers and dusty palm trees.
The City had no feel of Europe and no buzz. It had sterile looking office workers, lunching strictly between 12pm and 14pm, and dispersing back to their suburbia every night.
I thought to myself – what would persuade my then family to move to Potts Point? Nothing would….
I tried… I moved there after my divorce…(I must say, that divorce its not a liberation – it is an opportunity to make your own decisions without consulting the other half, for all right and wrong reasons)… and I intend to stay here, I think, until eternity. My second coming to Potts Point happened when my friend Maree told me to visit one of the shops there. Maree’s opinion mattered the most (she had a beautiful perfume shop in North Sydney at the time). Only because of her, I first entered the kingdom of Macleay on Manning. I became addicted to its Limoges cups, to Fornasetti plates (the real ones), to little cards, and candles and cute presents, which looked like gifts from Paris in Vaucluse (where I lived then).
I became addicted to their owners Rod and Jill, too). Then Arida spruced up in the lower end of Macleay, followed by Bekker and Minty across the road from Macleay on Manning, followed by Blood Orange in Elizabeth Bay. Forgive my historical chronology, if I made an omission there and then, but Potts Point became a shopping Mecca with a twist. Even the little laundry with a duck image in Elizabeth Bay, which looked so Dutch, was like an omen – I felt compelled to move there. In all honesty, its not my Russian community area, it does not have big houses with the swimming pools, it does not have this comfortable Australian dream/suburbia feel. It has a feel of all night Parisian entertainment maybe in not so glamorous arrondissements.
It is a perfect suburb, my Potts Point, for its great restaurants and great shops but it has very little space for development and growth. The car owners are treated like pests and are surrounded by Tow Away signs at every mm of the Potts Point. When you find a parking space, or if you are in the luck, and don’t get a ticket, if you parked illegally, you feel as fortunate, as you would be feeling, when winning 1 million dollars lotto.
The car drivers are persecuted in Potts Point as the dogs are persecuted by Woollahra Council – Parsley Bay, for example has signs – Dogs Are Totally Prohibited – fine $500.
With so much to give to Sydneysiders, in terms of culture, shopping and food, Potts Point started shrinking back to the embryo it has been before…Something needs to be done, the long awaited cinema needs to be built, the watershed between Kings Cross and Potts Point need to be eliminated. The undercover parking next to Woolworths needs to be built, something urgently needs to be done to Potts Point to allow it return it to its own glory, and at the same time to make it livable for the residents, and accessible to the visitors. As for me, I will be around I will wait.
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