The Other Side of Herzliya

14 Mar

Sculpture Garden at Herzliya Museum of Art

Sculpture Garden at Herzliya Museum of Art

City Gate, Unfinished Architectural Project

City Gate, Unfinished Architectural Project

Roundabout with Kitschy Topiary

Roundabout with Kitschy Topiary. This is near where I parked my car.

Aside from a few trips outside my immediate neighborhood, I’ve spent most of the three months I’ve been in Israel exploring Herzliya Pituach, the affluent suburb to the west of Herzliya City. If you do a Google image search on Herzliya you will come across images of the glitzy aspects of Herzliya Pituach: the upscale Marina where scads of yachts are docked, steel and glass office buildings housing hi-tech companies, shimmering white sand beaches along the blue-green waters of the Mediterranean. The larger Herzliya City, separated from its glitzy suburb by both the A2 and A20 highways, is notably underrepresented.

On Saturday, I took a drive into the City center — a dry run for my hair appointment today on Sokolov Street, the main drag in Herzliya. Since it was the Sabbath all businesses, save a couple of convenience stores, were closed. The streets were quiet, only a few families out and about for a stroll. Granted, it’s a plain little city but I found it has a quaint small town charm. There was a fountain built to look like an aqueduct around which couples with young children had gathered, feeding a flock of pigeons. The town hall is a square unprepossessing building. A grander architectural project down the road seems to be in progress. It’s called City Gate and features a curved building. Across the street from City Gate is the Herzliya Museum of Art. A sculpture garden surrounds the museum. I had forgotten to bring my Nikon with me but took a few snaps with my camera phone.

Today, I drove into the City center for my hair appointment. It took me 10 minutes to get there and 45 minutes to find a parking space. Today was a work day and the city was abuzz with activity. After my haircut, I explored some of the shops along Sokolov street. I was curious about a deli shop I’d seen on Saturday. The store front was emblazoned with signs in English: Cold Cuts, Hot Dogs, etc. etc. I went inside and found a small grocery stocked with many Russian goods. Many of the labels were in Russian only, no Hebrew whatsoever. Further down the road I found a little gift shop that had a rack of greeting cards. I needed to get a get well card, so stepped into the shop. There were no greeting cards in English…or Hebrew, for that matter. They were all in Russian! Evidently there is a large population of Russian ex-pats in Herzliya. A news agent had a copy of Time Out Tel Aviv but, predictably, it was in Hebrew only. I found some bilingual English-Hebrew get well cards in the Steimatsky book store.

I enjoyed my little foray into the City center and plan to go back and explore beyond Sokolov Street with Nikon in hand.


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