Thursday, April 15, 2010

The price one has to pay for living downtown

Fortunate as I am to reside in a property adjacent to Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem's main market, I knew when I moved in that there would be certain complications with life in this particular area. Take for instance the noises issued by the street cleaners that only come by at 3am. Because this is part of the city centre, the workers do their job at the time that causes the least disruption to commerce and traffic; in the dead of the night. It's a pain in the backside sometimes, but I'm getting used the churning and swooshing of heavy cleaning vans driving up my road in the wee hours of the morning.

For a long time I also had to put up with almost constant noise from the construction of the Jerusalem light rail along Rehov Yafo, a road which forms a junction with mine and also happens to be Jerusalem's main artery. Again, the best time for work to go on seemed to be in the dead of the night, but I managed to acclimatise myself to the racket.

In short, I knew that there would be a price to pay for living in such a brilliant location. But I never thought I'd have anything like this:

Dear residents of Shuk Mahane Yehuda and the surrounding area,

On this Monday, the evening of Independence day, a party will take place in Mahane Yehuda market, on the open Mahane Yehuda street.

The party is the initiative of the Students Union of the Hebrew University and with the support of the Jerusalem municipality, the communal council and the board of the market sellers.

The party will start at 23:00 at night and continue till 4:00 in the morning.

During these hours a public address system will be in use and thousands of spectators are expected to gather in the area.

The event has been fully approved and secured through the Israeli police and various law enforcement [agencies].

Thank you for your cooperation, and please accept our prior apologies for all the inconvenience that is liable to be caused following the event, and thank you for your helping us to cause a young spirit to blossom in the city.

We'll be delighted to see you in the visiting crowd!

The Students Union and the Jerusalem Municpality.

My immediate thoughts are ones of wonder, hilarity and disgust. How on earth is it that the local residents find out about an event that is planned to run through the early hours of the night five days before it is actually due to occur? I've heard of chutzpah, but this beggars belief. While this certainly isn't the outskirts of the city, there's no real reason why a party should be held here. It's actually highly populated; many families and elderly people live in the area and I don't suppose that they are exactly thrilled by the prospect of thumping music and loud screams keeping them up till way past their bedtimes.

As a student of the Hebrew University, I find this richly amusing but am aware that a good many of my neighbours will not feel that way at all. What does "please accept our prior apologies for all the inconvenience that is liable to be caused following the event" mean? This sounds suspiciously like a vague and lame warning that drunken students are going to relieve themselves in your building entrances, smash your cars up and keep you awake till well past the event itself ends. It's actually pathetic and disgracefully disrespectful. I'm flabbergasted that this can happen.

If this is the price one has to pay for living in the area, I'm surprised that there aren't at least minor protests or demonstrations by the neighbours.

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