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Millennium Quarter, along and ...

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A National Corvin Department Old Theatre, Store as reflected on a VII. Rákóczi út facade 37C B Rókus Hospital

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42. The designer of an office block National onC the corner ofTheatre Rákóczi út and y memorial Akácfa utca erected a fine monucsa r ca t u Ba ment to the National Theatre that D  Block of flats, with . stood here between 1908 and yi yu a supermarket on lé n án h ss e 1964. If you study the façade caree Do W the ground fully enough, you’llfloor spot a negative image that is repeated E  New York Palace dozens F of times. The image and the Caféof the theatre (Xavier Gonzalez, 1994). The inteTheatre riorF of Madách building puts you in anothca ut er world. So different from the E neglected, overcrowded junction. ny há There is an unknown panorama, At midnight on New Year’s D Do inEve thethe centre of whichprocesthere is a carnival-like Firenze-style tower. sion that fillsresedential the streets of Once it was the water C central Budapest reachestower its of the National Theatre. providBlaha Lujza climax around here. It Days tér ed the necessary pressure for the before, vendors invade the út hydraulics of the stage machini ó cz k á körút the props;of an R ery. Nowselling the headquarters A B parking restrictions are set aside on this day; and even the flowerboxes are remo­ ved from the corners (where tca their purpose is partly to u Stáhly stop pedestrians from cros­A Corvin Department sing). Store B Rókus Hospital C National Theatre memorial Kôfara gó u tca DNew BlockYork of flats E Block of flats, Palace and csis Bérko with a supermarket on the 37F Café Gutenberg tér Bródy Sánd utca ground floor F New Palace or utca VII. Erzsébet körútYork 9 – 11., and the Café G Madách Theatre www.newyorkpalace.hu, open daily 10 a.m. to mid­night. ••• Since it is situated on the bend in the road, the New York Palace can be seen from afar and faces three streets. Built by Alajos Hauszmann between 1891 and 1895 as the headquarters for the New York Insurance Company, the building used to house Budapest’s Fleet Street. The neo-Renaissance building was built of fine, long-lasting materials with a tasteful mixture of styles. It already had hints of art nouveau, especially in the tower. Boscolo hotels bought it in 2001 and has restored the café and converted the rest of the building into a luxurious five star hotel. ut

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In the underpass you can buy newspapers day and night, and in the early 1960s the first automatic food dispensers were installed here. If you were tall enough, you inserted coins, but often nothing happened. You then had to bang on the machine and the person who filled it with food from behind unwillingly came out and gave you your chosen cake with his own hand (or gave your money back). Then for years the said person sat behind a window. Not any more.

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Ferenc Battka. Most people now see the building as a memorial to this wild rage of modernism. This store can no longer use its notwildly-original slogan, which went “the largest store – the largest choice”, for there are now larger department stores. Its customers mainly come from the suburbs. I can hardly wait for the plastic façade to be taken off and for the old wall underneath to be given some post-modern paint-job. It would be a perfect wall for that. The building was declared a 2nd-grade national landmark in 2004, which means that the state has the right to intervene and buy it if it is ever put up for sale. Even more importantly, it can deny permission to raze it or to change it fundamentally.

went the old song. The older generation still refer to the spot as the “Nemzeti”. It would have been a nice gesture to call this stop of the Metro “Nemzeti” since it was partly due to the construction of the Metro that the old theatre building had to be demolished in 1964. Architects did not consider rebuilding it as at that time the eclectic style that dominates the Nagykörút was considered worthless. Instead Quarter, along and we got the kind of modernization angular Millennium ... that favoured265 and zig-zag lines.

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PARK_Budapest_belivek_v065.indd 264-265

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Old National The­atre, as reflected on a facade 37C VII. Rákóczi út 42. ••• The designer of an office building on the corner of Rákóczi út and Akácfa utca erected a fine monument to the National Theatre that stood here between 1908 and 1964. If you study the façade carefully, you’ll spot a negative image of the theatre repeated dozens of times. Designed by Xavier Gonzalez in 1994, the building’s interior brings you to another world, which is so different from the neglected, overcrowded junction outside.

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Blaha Lujza tér, which bisects the Nagykörút and crosses Rákóczi út at this point, is one of the city’s central squares. At one end of Rákóczi út there is Erzsébet híd, on the other you can see the great yellow mass of Keleti pályaudvar (Eastern Railway Station). The old Nemzeti (National) Theatre once stood on this square and the famous clock standing in front of it was the standard rendezvous spot for ages. “I’ll meet you at seven at the Nemzeti, where the number six tram stops”, went the old song. The older generation still refers to this spot as the “Nemzeti”. It would have been a nice gesture to call this metro stop “Nemzeti” since it was partly due to its construction that the old theatre building had to be demolished in 1964. Architects did not consider rebuilding it since at that time the eclectic style that dominates the Nagykörút was considered worthless. Instead, we got the kind of modernisation that favoured angular and zig-zag lines.

2011.04.20. 15:49:53

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András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

András Török's Budapest: A Critical Guide  

The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

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