Double life – Meir & Zina

fubiniBy Daniela Fubini*

The night they took down Dizengoff Square, I was there. Or at least I tried to be there. Turns out, it will take over a week, they did not make a nice, bold, resonating “boom”, and on top of everything else all the bars and stores around the round square will be open throughout the whole affair, and this honestly takes away a lot of the magic.

But on the most windy, if not coldest night of the Israeli winter at sea level, at 16 C feeling like just above zero, I did the reporter thing to do, and went to look with my own eyes at the police blocking the main street of Tel Aviv, named after the beloved mayor Meir Dizengoff, and some yellow humongous trucks being positioned in the underpass, like very big Tel Aviv cats looking for some warmth in the chilly night. Some lights were switched on. That was about it.

Luckily it happened at 10pm, and there were no children crying for the lack of entertainment, only a few couples and small groups passing by and peeking at what in a few days will be again a flat, beautiful roundabout, the very heart of the city surrounded by some of the most beautiful white Bauhaus buildings recently renovated.

The moment is indeed historical from the perspective of the Kikar, named after Zina Dizengoff, the beloved wife of the mayor. It was built to be flat, round and airy.

Then in 1978 it was covered by tons of concrete that looked from above quite like a giant obese spider stuck between the two sides of Dizengoff Street, Reines and Pinsker. Yes, the Seventies were the age of the concrete also in other continents, but still, lame excuse.

Thirty-eight years later, with very little attention from the public and Tel Aviv citizens, the obese spider will be slowly pulverized and Zina and Meir, the round square and the main street, will finally be able to look each other in the eyes again, at the same street level. Order and eternal love are restored.

*Daniela Fubini (Twitter @d_fubini) lives and writes in Tel Aviv, where she arrived in 2008 from Turin via New York.

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