Sunday, 19 September 2010

Surry Hills' Secret Life

The personality of the suburb of Surry Hills is very much a reflection of the people who live in it. Let me explain.

Overwhelmed with excitement at the return of AC from an overseas trip, I was up nice and early (two hours too early in fact) and decided a nice early morning stroll was in order. It's a fresh crisp Spring Sunday morning in Sydney. Most of the streets have road blocks on them for the 2010 Sydney Marathon. Police are loitering at corners ensuring cars don't go where they need to go. Pedestrians are allowed to wander around, and I was.

On the second street I turned on to, I had first the displeasure and then acceptance that my path would be painted with vomit.

You see, by day Surry Hills is a funky little suburb sprayed with cafes, boutiques, neat terraced houses, pubs pretending to slum it and the wide variety of people who frequent those places.

There are the little old ladies who yell at the skeg sk8er boys going clunk clunk clunk passed the late-in-life mothers pushing thousand dollar prams around the 19 year old homeless guy who is calling out names at the gay couple who didn't drop him change. And don't forget the hipsters with their deliberately mismatched aged designer label outfits, who smirk at the try hard bogans as they complain about the over-priced beer.

It's eclectic, to state the obvious.

In the evening on the weekend, she transforms. This funky suburb goes home after a late afternoon lunch with machiatto and puts on her coolest threads, then goes drinking; eating; dancing; prancing; and afterward, vomiting.

As some of us wake early and shower then take in the fresh cold morning during a walk, others are not finished partying. They stagger alone or in rowdy unsteady gangs up the streets. They discuss such topics as "how good was that thing?" and "are you sure this is the right direction?"

Sophisticated Surry Hills had a bit too much to drink last night and she's a little precious. I sure hope those over achieving marathon runners keep it down as they stomp passed her.

1 comment:

marion said...

Love your blog and your commentary on Surry Hills. But you are wrong in one of your observations. It is largely "tourists" from various suburbs who come to Surry Hills on Friday and Saturday nights - not residents.

It is these tourists who cause havoc via illegally parking in our streets, defecacting in our parks, vandalising our laneways, hooning and waking residents at 2am and yes, vomiting on our footpaths after big nights out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, in particular.

Unfortunately, despite residents' constant pleas to Council and the police, the beer bars conintue to be extended privileges including extended hours, outdoor seating and live music. The cutest trick in recent years is bars disguised as restaurants when clearly they are not. The other trick is to ask for a "trial period" of extended hours because it is never a trial no matter the number of noise and other complaints from residents.

Saturation of bars/pubs/drinking establishments in Surry Hills is the issue now. One beer-barn manager told me the pubs have collectively pooled millions of dollars for solicitors to challenge closing times and are working towards 2am or even 3am closing times in the near future. What a disaster for residents.

Perhaps you can use your blog to generate support a better deal for new and long-time residents of beautiful Surry Hills?