31 May 2013

Party: on

Copenhagen is blooming, and everything that I have been longing for is finally here at full steam. I am running around myself in circles, trying to take it all in while it lasts. My camera died, only two years and eight months in. For someone who carried that baby around every day, it is pretty damn unbearable. Maybe it is time to ask Canon if they will supply me with a new one, for credit? You know, the going currency these days.

Right now we are mid-Distortion, the monster street party moving from one part of the city to the other. Opening day was on Nørrebro this time, and it made all the difference. Instead of the bloated second day bender, we got people chilling in the sun and easing into the mood. You have to admire how so many people gathered in one spot, get along so well. There is no sign of pushing or violence, just happy people everywhere, by the hundreds of thousands. Pretty impressive.

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Evening sun on the bridge and a giant disco ball got the party started.

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It is pretty simple, really: if there is a giant disco ball, that is where you'll find me.

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Alternatively look for me by the balloons.

Peekaboo

Peekaboo.

Nørrebrogade

People on roof tops, and hanging out of the windows.

Bridge debris

And lots of alcohol. Followed by lots of deposit collectors.

Deposit collector

For the first time in the Distortion days, since I can remember, it didn’t look like a toilet exploded. Which makes little sense, because there were so few toilets made available. Maybe it was because the men got creative...

The bathroom

Kind of gross, but at least you don't have to deal with the smell afterwards. I was debating with myself how to mask his private parts (not that any of them made the effort themselves), this was the best I could come up with. Evil little dot, sorry dude, but that is the risk you take when you whip it out in public.

Trygheds Korps

Tryghedskorps, the safety squad, I spotted two helping a crazy drunk man. Safety is a big priority, and the Copenhagen Police are live tweeting the whole thing. They have even borrowed a noisy chopper from the army, to make sure everything runs smoothly. I still miss the equestrian police, good for much the same thing, but sadly that department was shut down last year. If you want horses, go dance under one.

Pony disco ball

In one of the pop-up parties in the side streets, random bursts of smoke would appear, and engulf everyone for a brief moment. I walked right into it as he kissed her.

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Favorite moment.

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Distortion is up and running until Sunday, but someone else will have to take it from here.

I have flea markets to attend/lilacs to sniff/trees to save/so much to do.


27 May 2013

Something rotten

Now for the bad news: the beautiful oasis (previous post) surrounding retirement home Sølund is scheduled for demolition. Along with the only 32 year old 390 perfectly functioning, and affordable lake view apartments.

But why?
Officially because according to new rules and regulations, a few inches are missing here and there. Admittedly they have not been keeping up with maintenance, so things need replacing. But more likely the real reason is profit. Twentyfive million Danish Crowns to demolish, and a billion Crowns to build something that closely resembles a fortress. A monstrosity reaching all the way to the curb. The property and the buildings are owned by the city of Copenhagen, making a profit selling off our land to the developer.

Sølund

Less for more
The project is marketed as a “green super retirement home” (check them praise themselves here). But it is far from super. Fact is, the density of space is going from 150% (standard space for homes in the city) to 185% (standard space for offices). The lake view is restricted to the hallways, the elderly will get a nice view of the street and the courtyard, and very little direct sun. In return they will pay a steep rent, as rent control does not apply to apartments built after 1992. The green part? A public roof garden, replacing the 100+ trees, plants, flowers and bushes, and the entire ecosystem that occupies them.

Underground parking

Entrance to the underground parking. All cars should be buried this way.

Something rotten
By law the neighbors were supposed to be consulted before the plan was set in motion, but they skipped that part. Tina Saaby, recently appointed City Architect of Copenhagen chose her old firm, in which she was a co-owner, to do the bidding, and helped pick them as a winner of the project. If there is not a law against that, I suggest they make one.

Save the Ladytree
The Ladytree is the crown jewel of the small Sølund forest. A rare 150 year old female Gingko Biloba, so resistant to viruses and pollution that it takes a chainsaw to bring her down. Being among one of the tallest trees in the city, she was carefully planned into the existing project. There is even a letter from the City Architect back then, stating his respect for the old tree, of course she was to be spared. Today she is just considered a mere casualty.

Den lille treehugger 
The Ladytree got herself a little treehugger.

Endangered Ladytree

Today's leafy edition.

Endangered Copenhagen tree

You can't look up at this old tree and not be in ave, it is breathtaking. Much bigger than you think.

Removing this old tree should not even be an option, it is irreplaceable. And, it is so close to the street that you can easily build on the existing line. A consideration worthy of a city named the European Green Capital 2014. Wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately Ayfer Baykal, our Copenhagen mayor of trees, is the one pushing to demolish the oasis and close the underground parking space, returning eighty cars to our streets.

The obvious solution?
Renovating it. Just imagine what could be done with this, for a fraction of the cost. Work with what you got, preserve and restore. Now that would be green. And if you need something alltogether different for the elderly, build it somewhere else, the city have many vacant lots around town. It is not hard to find another use for Sølund. Students are in desperate need of housing in Copenhagen, stuck in camping lots and youth hostels. But the city would rather talk (endlessly) about building them something new, than making use of what they already have at hand. If all of this makes any sense to you, please help me understand.

For anyone interested in reading up on this and confirming facts, here are some links about Sølund (all in Danish):

Forslag til lokalplan Sølund Plejecenter fra møde 13 maj 2013 (dok. på bebyggelsesprocent 185%)

Links to the Ladytree (all in Danish):
Og her og her.
Oprettet og meldt truet i Dansk Dendrologisk Forening

(These were the last pictures taken with my camera, before it died, I hope they will make a difference)

23 May 2013

Feast your eyes

Yesterday it rained non-stop, and the day before that was pretty much the same. Rain means the camera can’t play, and that makes it a little less fun to breathe. The plan was to photograph the beautiful green spot, the mini forest surrounding the retirement home Sølund, down my block. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore, and shot the whole thing crouching under an umbrella. This place. It is fenced off somewhat, to keep the tenants from getting lost as some of them suffer from dementia. But of course there is a way in. There always is.

Sølund i regndråber

Tiny Sølund reflected and multiplied in raindrops, if you look closely...

Sølund mosaik

The apartments all have a funny angle, designed to offer everyone a lakeview. So clever.

Plejehjemmet Sølund

Funny thing is, after all these years as my next door neighbor, it is only now I notice the cool play with colors, in the windows. Yum. But I came for the trees, wild, ancient, rare and diverse. Posing for me in their brand new spring green coats.

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Endangered tree

Even if this garden is reserved for the elderly, it still soothes our entire neighborhood. And, the trees, bushes and plants cleans the air, polluted by the heavy traffic across the lakes. Watching the trees through the cycles of life, budding, blooming, shedding, balding and budding all over again, is part of what makes a city livable. Part of what makes life livable, really.

Parkeringskælder Sølund

The parking is neatly tucked away underground, it is almost like the cars are sucked in by a leafy catarpillar. And the cherry trees are shedding, covering the floor in a creamy blanket.

Cherry leaf blanket

Mad romance...

Sneglepar

...even for snails.

Lakeview apartments, 390 of them

(fogging up)

Feast your eyes on all this beauty, before I rip your hearts out. Try not to think about what comes next...


16 May 2013

Moments

Days are made from series of moments. Moments are made of a tricky stuff. They can be hard to come by, are easily missed, and when you are blue, they can be impossible to see. And then in just two sunny days, Copenhagen will offer them up like pearls on a never ending string.

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The Hitchkock blonde.

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A hit of color.

Red socks

A hit of cycle chic. Men can play that game too, you know.

Ladybug pedi-cap

A ladybug pedicap driver taking a break under a rescued bunker tree, by the lakes.

Dannebrog

A red wall reflected in a window, visible only from this particular angle, I tried to move closer, and it disappeared, kind of magical. Perfectly illustrating why the classic Copenhagen window frame is named after our flag, Dannebrog. And... I think it is summer. Dare I say?

Saturday...

We are back in sandals.

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Picking up on the outdoor activities.

Swans in flight

I wish some moments could last.



10 May 2013

Mmmmmagnolia

One day I will get one of those phones, smart and made out of glass. And then I will start making weird apps for Copenhagen, like the one mapping the scents of the city. In spring, it will glow like crazy at this corner, where the magnolia tree is the first to bloom, and all too quickly cover the ground in a blanket of cream and pink leaves. Maybe the phone will even make a subtle mmmmmmm-sound, to remind you to stop and take in the magnolias, while they last.

Magnolias

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On the corner of Østerfarimags Gade and Gothersgade. Approximately here (map).

09 May 2013

Street art, Paris

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Philippe Baudelocque 

IMG_6750

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Bike beard guy

Bike street art

Tape street art

Yooz

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I make Monet like Claude Money

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