It's really sad. I agree with him. Sydney has overwhelmingly disappointed me since the Olympics... Only now am I seeing others with shared opinions come out and say so.
He's right about pretty much everything except the Cahill. The "bush whingers" are right in that it would be a waste of money for negligible benefit, but with regards to the odious relationship between politics and real estate in this city, he's right on the money.Sydney is not a lovely place in winter. The CBD is a biting wind tunnel, Frank Sartor's granite footpaths are stained with the grease from spilled milkshakes, the sun is thin, the faces chapped and there's a pervading pong of rotten cooking oil and urine.
You've more chance of being crippled for life by a wild-eyed skateboarder than you have of finding a delicious and inexpensive meal after 2.30 in the afternoon. In fact, you can walk the entire length of the city from Central to Circular Quay on some thoroughfares and find nothing other than 1950-style cafes doing ham and cheese on toast.
Forget all the "Emerald City" nonsense, to borrow a line from someone I can't remember; Sydney makes Dallas look like Paris.
Here's another line, from the late great French cultural figure and politician, Andre Malraux. In Paris, he said, the city controls the developers. The developers do not control the city. Naturally he said it in French, so it sounded so much better.
Sydney's what you get when the developers run the place. Badly designed, cheaply finished buildings. You can count on the fingers of one, maybe one-and-a-half, hands buildings constructed in the CBD in the last 50 years where aesthetics were given at least an even break with the money. The big institutions, particularly the banks and Telstra, have given us some shockers.
Still, we're used to shockers: the Cahill Expressway and the monorail have helped deaden our response to whatever fresh hell is around the corner. My personal favourites are the overhead footways criss-crossing the city, like vast vacuum tubes sucking consumers from one shopping extravaganza to another. If ever there was a determined piece of civic uglification it is the overhead pedestrian tunnel - the brute force of commerce crushing charm.
The old Carlton brewery site on Broadway, if work ever recommences, will be massively overdeveloped - as will the Barangaroo project. Opportunity after opportunity is missed - Darling Harbour has the unmistakable aura of a tourist clip joint and that other great promise, Pyrmont, is filled with apartments designed for dwarfs.
Every time an area requiring sensitive management comes on the horizon a special planning committee filled with party hacks, mates, real estaters and "planners" gets to work to eviscerate the promise of something uplifting.
Of course, there's the dazzle of the harbour and one or two incredible structures. You can get the odd good Thai dinner in the suburbs and there's the odd terrific new development (witness the new community centre in Crown Street, Surry Hills).
But what's happened to the soul of Sydney? The fact that the place is crawling with merchant bankers doesn't do much for a soul, but the real drag on the spirit has to be sheeted home to the politicians, who at best are ordinary and at worse dubious.
And that's what the city has become - ordinary and dubious.
There's no leader whoever spruiks the spirited talk of the greatness of city life and urban design. You have to go back 30 or more years to the days of the Department of Urban and Regional Development and Tom Uren to recall any government that had a passing thought about urbanity.
It was never on Howard's radar; however, the Ruddites have just established something called the Major Cities Unit, which exists in the Office of the Infrastructure Co-ordinator, the outfit charged with "prioritising billions of dollars in infrastructure investment".
But, when you look at the visionless political oiks of NSW, night after night on the box, you just know we haven't got a hope. It makes you want to see again that little jumping jack Leo Port, the former lord mayor of Sydney, who at least had some energy and always seemed to be rolling out plans and poring over models for improvements and beautification.
Today there's political paralysis. A few years ago the Government had an opportunity to tear down the Cahill Expressway, but was frozen by the thought that there'd be a backlash from the whingers in the bush if a red cent was spent doing something half-decent for Sydney.
Still, the great beer-barn developments in places such as Kings Cross get waved through the development machine, including the Land and Environment Court, while the small bars are stymied in red tape. Try and get a civilised drink out of sight of a poker machine, just keep trying.
John O'Neill, the chairman of Events NSW, had a piece on these pages on Monday. My pulse quickened as he wrote that the Business Council and a whole pile of other worthies think it's about time something was done about the city and the state. "Something radical, a bit out of left field," he teased. This exciting bit of boldness turned out to be "Brand Sydney", yet another marketing exercise, or putting lipstick on the pig. Apparently "Vivid Sydney", a winter wonderland cultural event, is part of the brand. All I noticed was that the Opera House was lit up.
Yet, Sydney always manages to trick its way into getting listed as an incredibly desirable place to live. It's equal eighth on The Economist's latest "liveability ranking". Last year in something called the annual Anholt City Brands Index it came first. Don't believe it.
On second thoughts that's a measure of branding. O'Neill's people are doing well. Shame about our heart and soul.
The contents of my wallet frequently feel unsafe when on a night out in Sydney.....stupid Argyle......:cheers::cheers::cheers:are u unusually paranoid?
i've never felt unsafe when clubbing
I think he's correct if you consider streets like Elizabeth St - I know of a greasy milk-bar between Martin Place and Chifley Plaza, but there's nowhere else except Starbucks cnr Park st.I'm in the city every day and I'm yet to see a 1950s style cafe; and while I concede that there's certainly a lack of quality cheap food available, hes way off the mark
I think this douchebag has had too many meals at CityExtra, lolWhere do I find those 50's style cafes?
I don't even think he made it to CityExtra - even that is better than 1950's diners, being licensed and open late!I think this douchebag has had too many meals at CityExtra, lol
Oxford street eateries awaiten you Dilaz.I'll be the judge in a months time
Agree or disagree?Sat-nav for the soul of Sydney
IT shouldn't be necessary to publish a guide telling people where they live, but have you wandered around Newtown lately? Some of those bunnies don't even know what country they're in.
A few of them need help narrowing it down to a particular solar system.
So, as a service to location-puzzled readers, here are your infallible Top 25 Signs That You Live in Sydney:
1. The shower in your newly-rented inner-city house has lights . . . in the floor.
2. It has two showers and two sets of taps.
3. Before, during and after State of Origin, a colleague stops speaking to her mother - because her mother was born in Queensland.
4. You can expertly imitate a New Zealand accent, despite never visiting New Zealand.
5. The monthly rent at your pervo shower house is 13 times the price of your first car.
6. A side-effect of pregnancy is the rapid relocation from inner-city to more affordable outer western suburbs.
7. The only non-Anglo words you can pronounce perfectly are either food terms or the names of rugby league players.
8. The city's primary sport features more often on newspaper front pages than back pages.
9. Someone shoots you five times . . . and you're still alive and talking to the cops. By contrast, a similar number of shots fired in Melbourne guarantee that you won't be talking to anyone.
10. Old guys interviewing politicians and playing country music are "shock jocks".
11. A friend spots a TV celebrity with whom he is infatuated to the point of speechlessness. So you walk over and ask the celeb to hug the guy. Which he does, immediately, without question.
12. The diminutive form of "football" is "footie" rather than "footy".
13. You meet someone with whom you've argued online to the point of psychotic threats. And you end up drinking together until 3am.
14.The concept of a restaurant where volume levels are low enough to allow conversation is completely alien to you.
15. Fewer than half the people you meet were born in Sydney.
16. Your sonic palate is able to distinguish gunfire from firecrackers or a backfiring car.
17. A Kings Cross club guard applauds when you park your 3.97m car in a 3.98m space.
18. You know at least one couple who have broken up over a property sale.
19. Drink invitations stress the venue will allow smoking. Otherwise, nobody will come.
20. You discuss a sex harassment case where a female politician is alleged to have drunkenly demanded sex from a male staffer. "We've all done that," female colleague says.
21. Jump in a cab and say, "Take me over the Bridge." Driver says: "Which bridge?"
22. A friend from interstate is concerned his girlfriend's clothes are too revealing. The next day he phones to say that everyone ignored her and instead were looking at him.
23. You make a mobile phone call riding in a cab, and the driver turns down the radio.
24. A neighbour drops by to give you a list of all the phone numbers of people in your new street, so you can call in case there's trouble.
25. You survive a cruise during which your vessel is attacked by Somali pirates. On your return to work, your colleagues wear eye-patches and hand hooks.
That's a good thing :yes:aussieboy said:most people don't care about the sport in the slightest
Depends if you're inviting westies or notaussieboy said:Whats with the smoking thing? Sydney has one of the lowest rates in the country.