By Alona Elkayam
NEW YORK AND IBIZA HAD A BEAUTIFUL SEXY BABY: TEL AVIV
I say Israel, you say shrapnel. I say Israel you say, unrest. But wait. You've got it all wrong. You see New York and Ibiza had this torrid love affair and had a baby. They called her Tel Aviv. She inherited her parents' best features-the 24/7 nightlife and culture of New York and beaches and beautiful people of Ibiza. If your religion is art, dancing and beaching, I suggest you cancel your lame Hampton's share and get to Tel Aviv this instant.
(Might I suggest you listen to this playlist while you read?)
Enter the hotel. I arrived at the Brown TLV- a 70's retro-themed boutique hotel where my flare jeans-wearing, platform-wearing, mid-century collecting arse felt right at home. Sit in the lobby for 3 seconds and they will serve you champagne and chocolate all the while you get the feeling Jackie Brown might saunter in from a hard day of hustling or you might turn your head and see Andy Warhol and some young handsome Israeli man sitting in the corner of the solarium staring at plants, smoking cigarettes. If you are feeling particularly late 70's there is a Jacuzzi on the roof deck.
Exit through the hotel gift shop. Walk down to Neve Tzedek. My mother grew up there in the fifties where my grandmother sewed her beautiful clothes and my grandpa would work odd jobs as much as they would give an immigrant. But Neve Tzedek is unrecognizable from those days and now it's a storybook neighborhood. Art galleries, bespoke jewelry and clothing stores line the streets. My favorite store was Dave + Esty. What I loved most was their sculpted air conditioning vent necklace. It fed my love for all things hardware and machinery.
Walking from Neve Tzedek to Habima Theater to meet my friend, stylist and fashion writer Moody Roza for lunch, I stopped into Sommer Contemporary Art to see the work of Peter Halley. It took my breath away. The colors. When I met Moody to tell her my idea of writing about misconceptions about Tel Aviv she was so happy. She loves this city and you can tell. Her whole life is dedicated to writing about its culture, art and fashion. You can read her blog here on Tel Avivian.
Go out. My Tel Avivian cousin Shlomi thought it would great if he took my phone and guest hosted my Tindr account. He noted there are a lot of single men in this city. And I will attest, the highest concentration of eligible, hunky men in the whole world are in this city. About 80% of Tel Avivian men in their late 20's and 30's are still single!
My cousin Shlomi selected a fetching red head for me who met us only fifteen minutes later at Cookies and Cream, a hidden club in an alley where people were smoking inside. Smoking isn't really legal inside all Tel Aviv establishments, but so many people smoke, you can't really control it. Cousin Shlomi exited the scene after a few minutes seeing that Red and I were locking eyes. While walking me back to the hotel, Red gave me this incredible walking tour of the architecture of Tel Aviv at 2am. Red was perfect for me-he spoke English, was an amazing kisser and thought I was fetching. But alas, I had left Red at the hotel door because I knew I'd never leave Tel Aviv if I let him upstairs.
The Architecture: About what Red was sharing with me regarding the architecture in Tel Aviv...walk around the city and you will see buildings that resemble Bauhaus. There are over 4000 buildings in this International Style-their own brand of Bauhaus created by the German Jewish architects that moved to Tel Aviv in the 1930's. At least 1500 of these structures are under renovation-which won't go unnoticed-laborers working all morning and on lunch break spitting out their sunflower seeds is commonplace. You won't mind the noise though, because the air smells like lilac perfume.
Sungoddessing on the beach. Bring your watermelon, wireless speakers, and a towel. Don't be fancy. Browse to your Reggae playlist and press play. Forget that Nikki Beach-smells-like-money vibe. They don't do it like that here. The culture, the beach-it isn't about pretention its about ascension-feeling the music and the water to get you back to your true self. Wait, maybe Tel Aviv is about religion as we know it ☺
Here's a rundown of the playlist. You can listen to it here.
Deadbeats - Got It Going On (Aim Remix)
The Bug - 'Diss Mi Army' feat. Miss Red
Discodromo - live at Panorama Bar
Elad Ron Vs Eddie C All Night Long @ Bohnengold Berlin
Dan Orbach - Beats, Bath & Beyond