Monday, December 13, 2004

The facelift that nearly killed the Cross

The SMH today ran a story about the damage to businesses caused by the KX facelift. William and Oxford St businesses are understandably nervous. Those projects are much bigger than Kings Cross and in addition, those roads are major traffic routes into the city. Having them blocked will affect Kings Cross yet again, especially as Council seems set on listening to ESNA and closing Liverpool street through East Sydney.

And how do people rate the weekend street party? Will it be effective in bringing people back to the Cross?

We liked the festival itself and had some great times watching the entertainment. The outdoor party at the Empire certainly went off!

Click the headline to see the SMH story.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The life drawing in Fitzroy Gardens with Tony Johansen was wonderful. Great to see artists in our streets again. What is the Council doing to encourage the living bohemian life here? Wheres the sculpture in the streets that was talked about a few months ago. Is the council blind? A few bland words in the footpath aren't going to bring visitors on their own. And those terrible new signs would scare the bejesus out of anyone remotely interested in the arts.

Simply put Clover, why don't you go talk to Tony about the bohemian life in the streets? At least he's real and doing things that are real. We need more than boring paving that belongs in Chatswood. We need the artists.

Anonymous said...

The festival was good. I'll take free entertainment any day. But the street was hardly transformed into a giant cafe with some of Sydney's best food and wine, to quote the new City News that was in my letterbox this morning. It was more like hot dogsand the usual pubs on steroids. Otherwise there was little in it for local businesses and I doubt it's going to change the image of the Cross.
Didn't think there were that many people attending either compared to other street fairs, given the ad budget.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Chatswood? It has all the best features of Mall Precincts. If we are lucky we too could become as horrible as them. Look, the council has already provided us with a good start. We are now "branded". I am so very gratefull.

How could I have ever lived with all that individuality all these years? Now that I have bought my shoehorn to get into the new library,( such an improvement over that inviting little Florence Bartlett thing that was so badly located that my poor old eyes had to look at a sinfully beautiful view.)

Thank you Frank, thank you Lucy, and don't think we'll forget you Clover in the thanks now that your officers are explaining to us how much we can benefit from all that new granite that we hate, and all those perfect signs and not to forget ripping the guts out of heritage awnings.

Silly me, I had thought all those years that the streetscape should retain its eccentric little quirks like cultural markers. Bless me those tireless little council planners have set me straight.I never needed them, just some dull bronze bits on the footpath to tell me what I once had. I can really see those darlings spent an absolute fortune on an artist to design them, I can just tell they'll win an art prize.

And now we have had a street party. That really has made up for all those shops going out of business. Especially that nasty CD store. I'd always thought that any shop selling world music couldn't be trusted. It's a pity so many tried to hang on.Don't worry, Clover, we can do another upgrade next year and we'll get the rest of them.

Then we could get lots of trendy restaurants in and make it look like Stanley Street, you'd like that dear, I know, and we could get even blander signs. Your staff are slipping, there is a slight decorative edge to some of those new signs. And I think I spotted one that was 1 mm out of alignment.

So whats this Chatswood thing? If we work hard at it, one day Chatswood will look to us for hints on the best in Shopping mall design.And maybe we'll be able to pretend that its not really Kings Cross, Wouldn't that be nice?

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Chatswood? It has all the best features of Mall Precincts. If we are lucky we too could become as horrible as them. Look, the council has already provided us with a good start. We are now "branded". I am so very gratefull.

How could I have ever lived with all that individuality all these years? Now that I have bought my shoehorn to get into the new library,( such an improvement over that inviting little Florence Bartlett thing that was so badly located that my poor old eyes had to look at a sinfully beautiful view.)

Thank you Frank, thank you Lucy, and don't think we'll forget you Clover in the thanks now that your officers are explaining to us how much we can benefit from all that new granite that we hate, and all those perfect signs and not to forget ripping the guts out of heritage awnings.

Silly me, I had thought all those years that the streetscape should retain its eccentric little quirks like cultural markers. Bless me those tireless little council planners have set me straight.I never needed them, just some dull bronze bits on the footpath to tell me what I once had. I can really see those darlings spent an absolute fortune on an artist to design those plaques, I can just tell they'll win an art prize.

And now we have had a street party. That really has made up for all those shops going out of business. Especially that nasty CD store. I'd always thought that any shop selling world music couldn't be trusted. It's a pity so many tried to hang on.Don't worry, Clover, we can do another upgrade next year and we'll get the rest of them.

Then we could get lots of trendy restaurants in and make it look like Stanley Street, you'd like that dear, I know, and we could get even blander signs. Your staff are slipping, there is a slight decorative edge to some of those new signs. And I think I spotted one that was 1 mm out of alignment.

So whats this Chatswood thing? If we work hard at it, one day Chatswood will look to us for hints on the best in Shopping mall design.And maybe we'll be able to pretend that its not really Kings Cross, Wouldn't that be nice?

The Editor said...

Chatswood has actually been totally redone with -- wait for it -- terracotta paving. It's snappy, warm, and complemented by reddish spray-on gravel around the trees. Gee, their town planners must be getting kickbacks from different paving companies than our lot.

Anonymous said...

The comment above pretty much says it.

I liked the entertainment and the idea of the street festival. In fact I wouldn’t mind if Darlinghurst Road became a permanent street festival (not that I guess it already wasn’t) - New Orleans style.

Otherwise the streetfest seemed pretty lame and one of the better food stall holders told me business hadn’t been good.

A Council booth was handing out questionnaires asking opinions on whether or not the street upgrade will bring people back to the area. To what, I wonder? And does Council really think that some new paving is going to inspire prostitutes to move to the suburbs to marry, and junkies to turn to prayer? And families to flock to stroll up and down on it? A bit of new paving – who’s going to even notice?

Anonymous said...

The point everyone seems to be missing is that Chatswood is a shopping mall style business district, people live in streets far removed from the business heart. I am reliably informed that some people actually like it. Something about lifestyle. Or something.

Kings Cross on the other hand has a business strip that is also everyones backyard. That is something far more personal. To design something for Chatswood is like designing something for the shop down the road. It has distance between home and the business street, there is separation.

Kings Cross has streets that are much more akin to the hall in your home. To design for Kings Cross streets is to design for peoples personal living area. That is what council has failed to realise. Black granite is fine for an office foyer, perhaps even "smart". But not in my home, there it is too cold. The hominess factor has not been factored in.

It is a problem that our council planners tend to live in suburban areas and have an in-grained view of the life in the street that is far more comfortable with the Chatswood model than the Kings Cross reality.

The Editor said...

That last comment accords well with the sort of thinking Jane Jacobs (et al) applies to town planning. Spot on.

Anonymous said...

So in all this, where is the sculpture? You know real sculpture with heads and personal connections rather than that cold stuff designed by architects with degrees in urban design. The stuff made in garrets we need, the so called contemporary nonsense like poohs on sticks we don't need. That stuff always sounds impressive on paper, but always ends up something less in reality.

Anonymous said...

Re: street party. Overheard a cafe owner complaining to a council bloke about the noise. It was loud, and was next to the cafe in question. My question is why did the council not design the street party with the affected businesses instead of just doing it as if they were in a hurry to calm some of the myriad complaints they are getting? Perhaps it would have been more popular if most people had felt that there was something to celebrate.

Thumbs down from everyone I know on the new look. Some think the new width is good and bits of the street party were fun, but apart from that all I can say is my worst fears are reality. And those signs. We gotta get rid of those signs. When you need a graffitti artist they can't be found.......

Anonymous said...

So how come the KX Partnership missed the ball here. I don't know anyone who likes the "improvements", however they are what we have and KX business needs a proactive representative body that takes every opportunity to plug the Cross.

Advice to Partnership: when reporter asks give positive responses. Even if you have to lie about the horrible makeover. There were lots of positives last weekend, just read the first comment. It wasn't the only one. Come on guys - 'do it for us'.

The political capital with council needs to be considered also. How much cooperation are you going to get by biting the hand...?

Emotionally, I agree with the comment suggesting graffitti for the new sign and awning and granite horrors. Logically though, lets gets on with it. Lets promote KX rather than waste time fighting after the event.

Anonymous said...

Let's get on with what exactly?

Anonymous said...

Get on with the future and doing things that get our businesses healthy again and that Kings Cross buzz happening.

Look all the great things from the past had nothing to do with footpaths and councils have always given us a hard time. So what? My Kings Cross is bigger than that. lets get working for the future again instead of bitching about might have beens.

Theres lots to do including supporting local business, being creative and being usefull to our selves and others. Leave the bitching and get living life in a positive fashion.

Anonymous said...

It just about killed me and I am not happy but I must agree with the above comment. We have to move on and start encouraging positive NEW things for the Cross. I worry about the crowd that worships the past. In days past the Cross was a dangerous place in the days of Juanita Nielsen and Tilly Devine and Last Card Louie. Theirs little thats fabulous about their stories. Times change. People change. Still love the Cross.

The Editor said...

It's not about worshipping the past -- more about trying to resist those philistines who have no understanding if it and, like evangelist missionaries, set about trying to re-make the Cross according to their own limited middle-class norms. What they don't understand is that the Cross is the refuge for those who detest middle class norms, the one place for people who don't like suburbia. That's our common quality, whether old, young, rich, poor, right wing, left or apolitical. What right have stuffy suburbanites to intervene? All the problems of the Cross are only the problems of their suburbs writ large.

What I am fighting for is not the past, but simply to replace oppression with representation. We have a long way to go.

Anyway, I have some simple ideas to bring the life-blood back to the Cross. I'll be putting them forward next year, after a holiday. Merry Christmas to the least Christian Postcode in Australia!

Anonymous said...

Au contraire, Micheal, you don't seem to have counted the number of Churches, and christian based organisations like the Brown Nuns. Per square meter you may find we are the MOST christian area in Sydney, we're just irreverant about it thats all

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