The economic crisis has left (or rather, is leaving) several marks on Athens' urban landscape. The most prominent one is many retail stores shutting down and laying unoccupied for several months now. But one's crisis is someone else's opportunity, so there's also a number of newcomers into this situation. The most prominent ones are pawn shops. Shops where you can sell your valuables (gold and silver items notably) in exchange for some badly needed cash (in what I assume will be severely depressed prices).
|Pawn-shop at Athens' Gyzi residential, middle-class neighbourhood
|Pawn-shop at Athens' Gyzi neighbourhood
Up until 3 years ago, almost no Greek had ever seen a pawn-shop except in US crime films. Sure there was one somewhere in the central Omonia Square, if my memory doesn't trick me. But to me, and I think most people, this one pawn-shop was seen as something exotic; present here mostly because Athens needed to have one of these curious places as well, than for any real, functional reason.
Well... no more! Every major street and every neighbourhood in Athens now has its own pawn-shop and often more than one. Day and night, "GOLD" and "SILVER" signs are flashing in neon lights, with their large, yellow poster-signs airing a deceptively festive look, symbolizing Athens current troubles with its desperate attempt to come out clean, no matter which way possible.
|City kiosk with an ad for a pawn-shop on its "roof"
|Flyer / business-card for a pawn-shop
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