Archive | June, 2013

Regeneration of a district – Neu Marx

20 Jun


This morning Mylo and I took a trip out to a part of the 3rd district I haven’t been to in ages, if ever. We needed at health certificate for him for reasons that belong in another blogpost and had to go out to the MA (Magistratsabteilung) 60 to get it.

They are based in an area that used to house the stockyards and the slaughterhouses, as the photo above suggests, and are located on a street that did not appear on my 25-year-old map. (It didn’t matter. I asked a construction worker who at first said he was sorry they came in from Mödling and didn’t know the area. It was clear from his accent that he originally came from somewhere outside Austria, possibly Hungary, and, indeed, he then lit up and said, “The street named for the Hungarian comedian, Karl Farkas?” and pointed me in the right direction.)

In addition to the monumental statues of steers on the gates to the stockyards, there is other evidence of the past uses of the space–for example, an enormous building still called the “Rinderhalle” or “beef hall” and the Municipal Vocational School for Butchers (photo below). In true Vienna fashion there is also much for the 21st century. The Campus Vienna Biocenter, one of the leading international biomedical research centers, is out there, too. And there are a number of cheerful eateries that lend life and gaiety to the neighborhood.


I’ll be going back–not just because we couldn’t get everything accomplished today (also in true Vienna fashion)!



Destruction of the old

16 Jun

One of my usual walks with Mylo is through the courtyard of a turn-of-the-last-century house. Many of the old houses have closed the access because the people walking through have abused the privilege by being especially loud, stealing bikes chained to the railings, or using the space as an open-air toilet. I have always been grateful that we are allowed to walk through this courtyard and experience this very private part of Vienna, right down to the abandoned concierge’s quarters–tiny and without any windows directly to the outside but with a protruding, glassed-in front entrance where the Portier could sit and keep an eye on what was going on. Seeing that always makes me think of Hans Moser films and Eva Ibbotson novels set in Vienna.

My distress was all the greater then to see the destruction of the railing on one side by what seemed to be some incompetent tree work.


Then, being the suspicious person I am,  I started to wonder if the damage wasn’t intentional. In Vienna it has been known to happen that historical houses protected by law from being razed are mysteriously damaged beyond repair by bulldozers incompetently driven into them at odd hours of the night. This frees up the land for a modern block of apartments, which is often quicker and cheaper to build than the restoration of an old house.

Along the same principle, I wonder if the massive tree branches weren’t allowed to fall accidentally on purpose on the railings so that the owners of the house could put in simple, cheaper railings as they have already done on the other side.


Of course, it’s easy for me to criticize. I don’t have to pay for the restoration of the railings. It still makes me sad, though, to see the replacement of the beautifully wrought old railings with the completely generic new ones.



8 Jun

Is it possible that summer might come to Vienna after all? And on a weekend? ?? The mood at Café Dommayer in Hietzing suggests that it just might.



5 Jun

It strikes me as one of the best ideas of the Office of Parks (and they have a lot of good ideas)–planting lavender upstairs at Schottentor, what I call the windiest corner in Vienna. Not only does it look nice, it smells wonderful in the wind that constantly blows off the slopes of Kahlenberg down Währinger Straße into Vienna.

Lavender at Schottentor

Lavender at Schottentor