An Edgy Zone

July 31, 2014

We walked around near where we’ll be staying starting in September.  It ain’t beautiful, at least where we were, and I was a bit disappointed, but saved by the charm of our youngish hosts and later by the street life in the up and coming area.

Back in the 90’s, according to the restaurateur we’d meet later in the evening, he could not even come to the neighborhood.  Now subway line C has emerged from two thousand years of antiquities right smack in the middle.  First a poor artist or two moved in, then a few more, then young professionals, and pretty soon the area dominated by street dealing and prostitution finds itself with trendy but sill comparatively inexpensive bars and restaurants.

The house itself was designed by the couple.  She’s an architect.  It was a shop which they divided in two; their friends live next door and smiled as they walked by.  On the ground floor there’s a living room.  There’s large table at the sliding door (designated art studio), which is next to the single door entry.  There’s a full bath and a decent sized bedroom currently occupied by the 5 year old.  A steep but short staircase takes you up a level literally, but figuratively up several.

Here’s a gorgeous kitchen which flows to the dining table and then onto the large, room-for-a-pony outdoor terrace.  It flows seamlessly onto the neighbor’s.  The master bedroom is there with another nicely tiled full bath.

I think this will be a fun place to live while our landlords are in NYC.  He’s an economist doing some work at Columbia University.  Very down to earth with excellent English- hers is more hesitant I think- he was more than willing to talk to me about the economy, the loss of jobs to third world countries and the like, while Peg went to get her computer so we could complete the email fund transfer.

They told us where to find some good places for dinner, and we went looking, and came upon a Japanese restaurant.  This should have been a clue as to what we were about to encounter, as the Italians were not receptive to foreign cuisines last we heard.  An employee or one of the owners arrived on his scooter-  there are at least two per capita here  and ushered us in, whereupon we were given a complimentary glass of wine, a seat in the garden, and a recitation of what’s happening in the zone, which probably has a name, but I do not know what it is yet.  Stay tuned.

He sent us to several restaurants after warning us to stay on the main drag and shortly we were in a trendy pedestrian area lined with restaurants, bars, all of which offer outdoor seating.  Not a tourist in sight- the friendly restaurateur had inquired how in the world we found ourselves here, in fact.  He is Italian- very-, by the way, and you cook your dinner at your table with the built in wood burning cook top.  And not a sushi in sight, he proudly added.

Not only we were the only tourists, there was a dearth of the conventionally dressed and those of our age in general.  The upwardly mobile, I suppose is how you’d class them.  Young people with education, and a bit of an edge.  The ones with less money sat in doorways drinking whatever they brought with them, the others frolicked more comfortably.



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7 Responses to An Edgy Zone

  1. Cal Gough says:

    Sounds like an interesting (and affordable???) area. Yet another new neighborhood of Rome for y’all to explore. Looking forward to being shown what you’ve found between now and mid-October! With y’all’s curiosity and love of good food, etc., I’m sure you’ll discover plenty!

  2. Carol J. Byrne says:

    Very interesting read. At first glance, Times Square popped into my head…thinking wow, Italy has transformed in the same was as NYC. Or perhaps it is the reverse? NYC following Italy.

    I am sure you will have a lovely time and learn the etiquette of dining out, where to avoid and the best ones in your neighborhood.


    • garypeg says:

      I would imagine that urban transformations anywhere have commonalities. Gentrification is probably one of them. Italians are homebodies. Their city is the best, no matter the complaints. I’d think that would apply to neighborhoods in large cities, so these transitions are probably strongly motivated. They have jobs, get married, can’t live upstairs from momma, say, gotta find an affordable area. The artists- now that’s another matter. Not enough room at momma’s and not enough money for elsewhere, so the dodge the dangers in places like this.

  3. John DesJardins says:

    As far back as I can remember you two have always lived in conservative neighborhoods in the many cities where you’ve rented short and mid term apartments. This should be lots of fun for the two of you. We really enjoyed our year on the edgy side of Paris by the Canal St Martin. We met some really nice folks who we still keep in touch with. The one caveat is that you have to get used to the grunge and noise. It got to us at times.

    • garypeg says:

      Hmmm, conservative would not be the word I would use. Definitely middle class though. I admit that grunge is not my favorite, not that the area is horrible, but after Valencia and Paris, the contrast is strong.

  4. enid Serrano says:

    Does sound interesting. Can’t wait to experience this edgy neighborhood. Sounds a little like Washington Heights in New York. Anyway, really looking forward to seeing it.
    Have fun!!!

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