miðvikudagur, desember 17, 2008

"wall street"

One of the most annoying and misguided phrases of the Icelandic super-bubble had to be the labeling of Reykjavík's Borgartún area "Wall Street". This name was obviously invented by someone who had never been to the actual Wall Street, or at the very least doesn't understand the fundamental relationship of Manhattan to its environs or the superiority of the (212) to anything that needs to be reached via bridge, tunnel, or commuter train.

If any area in Reykjavík could be considered "Wall Street" (and I hesitate to even make the comparison, such is the level of ridiculousness) it's downtown in the Hafnarstræti/Austurstræti area where Landsbanki has its headquarters and where it's actually possible to walk from building to building. The sidewalks are relatively populated with pedestrians during the daytime. Walk-up lunch options like Nonnabiti and Bæjarins Bestu add a further "real city" feel.

Borgartún, by contrast, is a wasteland of big-box buildings, parking lots, and strip malls. There are no pedestrians. There are no lunch places. There is no there, there. The area has a lot more in common in look/feel with the places in the NY suburbs where Wall Street banks moved their operations and backup centers in the wake of 9/11. If I were to nickname this place in the parlance of New York finance, I'd call it White Plains. That's about perfect.


Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Jared, calling it "Wall street" was just a cheap joke and no one ever took it more seriously than that. As for lunch places there, how about Amokka or the vegetarian place opposite?

Blogger JB said...

I've heard it used seriously/proudly by someone who worked there.

I knew someone was going to bring up Amokka. Just like White Plains has a Starbucks, I'm sure.

Blogger Christian said...

I think it's fantastic that you took up posting about current life in Iceland. I believe quite a lot of people are interested in it right now, me included. Thanks!

Blogger Farbror Willy said...

What about Ármúli? Har har.

Blogger JB said...

Yeah, now Ármúli: there's a contendah.


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