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of the estate, Kós Károly tér, can be approached through four ornamental gates built in a Transylvanian style. Altogether the impression is of a large village that has been swallowed up by the city. This square can be visited on the way to Ecseri Market (see page 290).

Eight Old Shops and Workshops Gallwitz Pipes And Pearls V. Régiposta utca 7 – 9., www.gallwitz.hu The oldest pipe seller and pipe mender in Budapest, this shop, which is situated downtown on a quiet side street, has been opera­ting since 1880. Mr. Gallwitz, who died in 2003, was an oldfashioned person who seemed to have not realized that liberty and free business were back. He used to do business in his private first floor apartment. Check the web site to see a commercial shot in 1945 (you can also order pipes and pearls there). Tamás T. Nagy: Cheese V. Gerlóczy utca 3., www.tnagytamas.hu This man aims to educate the Hungarian palate in terms of cheese. His small shop is in a tucked away street in a classic section of the inner city. Nagy once said that “cheese is nothing more than some milk, some time and some poetry mixed.” He has commissioned artists to design posters for him, and by now he has developed into a chain specializing in affordable French cheese. Tamás Grünberger: Chandeliers VI. Nagymező utca 21. This shop seems to have been around for 100 years, and it even operated during the Communist years. The present owner is a third-generation chandelier specialist with a prima donna wife from the nearby Operetta Theatre and an active social life. This is where the biggest synagogues in Europe order replacements parts. V & R Címfestő: Hand-Painted Signs VI. Oktogon 4. This is an amazing cellar which has access from the street, which you are likely to mistake for a public lavatory. Here you can order old-fashioned hand-painted street signs and all kinds of indoor and outdoor signs. Ági Gyümölcs Greengrocers XIII. Tátra utca 20. This family greengrocer offers the freshest and best quality produce in the area. It is a small shop on the corner of Raoul Wallenberg utca with an entrance on each street. It used to be

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run by the lady for whom the shop was named. In this book’s first edition I wrote: “Inside, there is stern-looking Ági in her sixties (careful! do not call her Aunt Ági!), who does not pamper her customers. There are many family pictures on the walls, and children and grandchildren who have been known to work in the shop. There are also motorcycle ads and the hallmark of the shop was for many years beyond doubt a Western European poster from the 1960s which showed a small boy lifting the very short skirt of a tall young lady, and peeping upwards.” Unger Brush Products VII. Dob utca 52. This amazing institution offers an incredible selection of brushes, from tiny to enormous, even the type which were used to clean barrels at the Unicum factory. Fleisher Shirt Makers VI. Nagymező utca 7. Few people still buy their shirts bespoke, but this shop (on the corners of Paulay Ede and Nagymező utcas) has remained here almost unchanged since the 1920s. The partition between the shop and the window is made from traditional engraved glass with vertical stripes. Lajos Libál, Optician V. Veres Pálné utca 7. Some of the fittings here might well be a century old, such as the small drawers. Mr. Libál is not around any more. The senior, respectable lady, who is referred to as “Aunt Libál” in the neighbourhood, is, as a matter of fact, called Brassai Józsefné.

Eight Impressions The Totalitarian Statue Theme Park XXII. Balatoni út (corner of Szabadkai utca), www.szoborpark.hu. There was a debate over what to do with the Lenins, Marxes, and their local counterparts who were sculpted in marble and bronze: let them stay where they were or destroy them. It ended in a wise compromise and the statues were relocated to the outskirts of Budapest, where a park was made to house them. Most are bad art, but not all. The place became famous when it was taken to court for violating the law banning the display of totalitarian symbols. The judge in charge of the case visited the park and dismissed the charges, declaring that “the danger posed to society is negligible.” The park is rarely visited – the derelict, neglected atmosphere is an unintended bonus – but it is a must for the serious Budapest addict. By car from the centre, it’s about a 30 minute drive. Afterwards, have lunch or dinner at

2011.04.20. 15:50:00

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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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