Wednesday 2 April 2014

A great night out... tinged with tears

New York - A Walk Around Town, photographs by Tatiana Tzinioli.
We'd been looking forward to the opening of this exhibition for ages. Tatiana is my niece and Ianos Gallery on Stadiou Street is exhibiting the photographs she took while she was in New York. Things did not go exactly to plan however.
I have no photograph of the entrance to the gallery, which is something I like to do, as I was busy taking off my mask - the mask I was wearing to protect myself from the tear gas and the other chemicals that the Greek government are using in their chemical warfare against their own people. The reason? Protecting the Troika 'visitors'. Fortunately for us, there wasn't much tear gas thrown last night, but even so, I feel awful today, can't breathe, and I keep coughing - I have not felt this bad since I was in hospital with pneumonia a few months ago.
It took us one hour and a half to get to the gallery, a journey that normally takes half an hour. The streets were jammed with traffic as the two main roads that run through the Centre were closed. Clashes with the police were reported on the news as well as the use of 'chemicals': some of it is tear gas but there are some other substances that the police use but no one knows what they are. My heart sank - I knew I would be very ill for the next few days, and I also knew that the mask I had had the precaution to take with me would provide only limited protection.
My sister's phone kept ringing, friends apologising saying that their attempts to reach the gallery were futile and that they'd had to turn back. We really thought we would be the only people there.
By the time we reached Stadiou it was totally deserted - the marchers had just reached Syntagma but the police had not opened up the road yet.


Right outside the gallery, the remains of a smouldering fire providing some relief from the toxic fumes of the chemicals - it's the most effective way of neutralising the tear gas.
So we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a few people in the café of the gallery which is where Tatiana's photographs were being exhibited. You can see Michalis here, giving Ken a tour of the exhibition.
Once some of the roads cleared more people arrived and in the end we had a very pleasant evening




Tatiana has really captured the feel of the city, and seeing her photographs again made me very homesick for New York.

A ghost city outside the gallery

 a depressing wasteland

and how appropriate, that on our way to the car we saw the graffiti that dominates the city, and has done so since the economic crisis began: vasanizomai - I am in torment.


  1. Quite an 'interesting' evening!! I do hope that you are soon recovered.
    The photographs of NY brought back memories to me too, especially the ones in the snow as that is how Manhattan looked the last time I was there in January 1982.

    1. Olga - because of my asthma, I am always very careful and never go to Athens when there are any protests or demonstrations going on. I had to go to Tatiana's opening though, I did not feel I had a choice. As it was, the tear gas could have been much worse. We had a good evening, pity about the after effects.

  2. Tatiana's pictures are very good - Nicely composed. I particularly like the snowy scenes (nice on photos but not nice when you have to cope with it)

    I hope you recover soon from the effects of the gas.

    1. Thanks Mick. They loved the snow in New York but found the cold a bit too much: temperatures dropped down to -18oC some days: that's far too cold for sightseeing. One morning when it was even colder they left the hotel, had a coffee and went back - it was so cold they could feel the frozen air in their lungs. But they had a wonderful time.