Finding Sydney wasn’t so difficult if you ask me in retrospective — in fact, Sydney is quite an easy place to discover while you’re amongst friends and tourists likewise. What could possibly be missed in a city built on water, with people as diverse as six continents can be, full of style, skyscrapers and seriousness alike?
I can tell you what went missing: the youth, the rebellion, the dirt, the creative spark. Sydney, as far as I was concerned, really only had one district where I felt somewhat at ease (as in, likeminded people, bits of art here and there, interesting pubs and bars, a bit of authenticity in a country where everything seems to be copied off popular American or European styles): Newtown.
Admittedly, not many tourists will ever hit Newtown if they only spend a couple of days in Sydney. But if you’re bound to stay, don’t miss out on the only suburb that actually delivers a youthful spirit to what seems to be a perfect, clean, futuristic city (if you’re 100 years old and boring, anyway). Here’s a little rundown on what to do if you ever get the chance:
Go shopping! Forget the franchise stores of the Central Business District and grab original pieces from one of the crazy vintage stores in Newtown — Vinnies, a charity store (second hand), does some good with your money and is a good place to look out for interesting, freaky or completely hideous vintage styles. Speaking of Vintage: for remixed Vinnie’s, check out Cream on King. A tad bit more expensive but still worth it. Local Store carries all the major surfing style “it feels like California in here” brands from Stussy, Vans, Cheap Monday to accessories seemingly chosen at random (Polaroid, Lomo, Headphones, Skateboards).
I know, hunger kills, but we haven’t come that far yet. First off, check out Campos for one of the best coffees you will be served in Sydney and hang around Mag Nation just in case you were doubting that print magazines still sell — yes, they do, and looking around their store made me feel as if I just entered a real life non-virtual internet kind of space. Scary. I heard you wanted to dive in to a real bookstore, old books, heart-warming books, obscure material you’ve never found anywhere else? Check out the massive second hand book dynasty of Goulds.
There are a couple of record stores along King Street, but I know nothing about vinyl. I know, shame on me– that goes just as well for biking and skateboarding. I’d love to tell you a bit about the “scene” over in Sydney, but I can’t and I’m not going to pretend to be one of the cool kids. I’d rather just take a picture (speaking of, admittedly, not many have been taken in Newtown due to bad weather and amazing people who kept me distracted, which happens to be a good thing).
Right, I heard your stomach growl, so here’s my personal choice: Clem’s Chicken. Don’t ask, just go and have your meal over there. There’s a variety of international cuisine in Newtown, Mexican, Indian, Lebanese, whatever you do, simply refrain from eating a Kebap. In fact, anywhere in Australia, or, you know, anywhere outside of Berlin, a Doener Kebap just isn’t worth it (same goes for Shawarma and Falafel Sandwiches). I’ll make an exception for the Middle East.
Anyway, there’s a lot more to discover in Newtown — a special hug goes, again, to Ke who took us around for day after day to show us where we would feel the most at home (or where we’d complain the least about missing Berlin).
at Courthouse Newtown