Despite all the gloom and doom you will hear from some Greeks regarding 2011 and what it has in store for us, the new year made a very strong entrance for the Metro Athens area. I'll just drop a few names and titles and I'll come back with more details in the coming days and weeks:
- One new Metro station (Aghia Paraskevi - Line 3), at the northern suburb of Aghia Paraskevi, was completed and opened to the public 2 weeks ago and so was a large square above the station.
- Two more Metro stations at the western suburb of Peristeri (Line 2) are about to be completed and the square on the ground above Metro Station Peristeri (Platia Dimokratias) was inaugurated and opened to the public also 2 weeks ago. This will be one of the largest squares in Metro Athens, covering almost 9,000 square metres (2.2 acres / 96,000 sq. feet).
- Two new shopping centers were opened. Of course, this has a possible negative side, as it signals the decline of individual, neighborhood-type stores, but any store opening these days has to be treated as good news. The first one, the "Athens Metro Mall", opened on November 30 and is located in the southern suburb of Agios Dimitrios, at 276, Vouliagmenis Avenue, right next to the Aghios Dimitrios Metro Station (Line 2). The second one, even though not completed yet, is even more important as it is located in a central Athens neighborhood, which has declined over the last few years. This is the "Athens Capitol" shopping center. This one is not a mall, but it houses a supermarket on the ground floor, already in operation, a few -mainly clothing- stores in its 3 floors, a couple of cafeterias and the first Automobile Museum to be built in Greece, on its top floor! It's been typically open for 2-3 weeks now, but not all stores are yet occupied. The Automobile Museum will open in March 2011. However, this could be a major boost for a neighborhood that really needs one and it seems like a brave move on the part of the developer. The main entrance is located at the corner of Ioulianou St. & 3is (Tritis) Septemvriou St, while there seems to be a smaller entrance - not yet finished - on Patission St. (see previous post on Patission St.), just one block from the National Archeological Museum.
- The largest urban park in central Athens (Pedion Areos) was re-opened to the public, on New Year's Eve, after a 3 year long architectural and landscaping renovation. There are still works going on inside the park but the outgoing politicians needed to "inaugurate" it before they left office :)
- The opening, just a month ago, of the long-awaited Onassis Cultural Centre (of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation) which has programmed a real smorgasbord of events, shows and lectures.
- Last but not least, some major art exhibits are being hosted in Athens galleries and museums. Among these: the exhibition, at the Benaki Museum (Pireos Building) on the work of 20th century Greek painter, architect and landscape architect Dimitris Pikionis, who is credited with the landscape work around the foothills of the Athens Acropolis, in the 1950s; an exhibition in the National Gallery hosting paintings from the Petit Palais Museum in Paris, titled "Paris 1900 - Art Nouveau and Modernism".
Did anyone say "crisis"?
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