Erzsébet tér

Akvárium Klub

It’s past is a mess of lies, experimentation, and scandal, it’s present is all about partying and degradation, while it’s future seems to be over regulated- Erzsébet square is pretty much a miniature version of Hungary itself, and Budapest in particular.

History

This square was supposed to be the site of the new Hungarian Theater, after the old one was destroyed. The place was dug up, and a big stinking hole was in the middle of the city, on a spot that could have generated millions of forint. This already sounds like a pretty good description of Budapest and its social history, but the parallel gets even closer when a bunch of investors put other peoples money in the hole, and left it as is, having stolen the money. This is typical for Hungarian politics. Afterwards, a club was done called the Gödör, and this place operated well, became legendary, and opened up the square to be a place where young people can get together for free, drink a little, sit in some grass, skate, run, and do pretty much whatever they wanted. This space was truly great, and it later on became the Aquarium, and this space already got a little annoyed of teenagers tagging up on everything., skating all over everything, and in general being rowdy and disruptive- never mind that every major European city has such a space, but still, Budapest is unlike a European city in pretty much every respect except the McDonalds and the police tickets.

The new Erzsébet square

erzsebet ter Erzsébet tér

The square was closed down and renovations were made, and voilá! The change is here. The square has been yuppified, and is now a place where you can quietly sip a latté without being harassed by a teenager for some spare change. The square will now have security guards provided by the city council, who answer to no one, cannot issue a search or conduct one, but can hold you until a cop comes along and does it for them. Fun is still allowed, but only in small doses; you can only smoke in certain places, and cannot drink alcohol outside (even though the entirety of Budapest is a city where drinking alcohol on the street is completely legal), cannot bring dogs unless they are on a leash, you can only skate in designated areas, and cannot ride your bike through the square, and of course, you cannot go on the grassy area after 10 PM.

What’s the use?

Erzsébet square is one of those places that many foreigners, especially young people get to see of Budapest. What good these regulations do us as people, or the club in general is completely baffling. You used to have a place where you could skate, meet foreigners and young people, drink a beer from the store if you had no money, and get to know people. Confrontations were rare, and violence almost unheard of. The place was clean, police were there in throngs to regulate everything, so I do not see why this happened, unless it was a ploy to get more votes out of old people who live in the area (elections are this Sunday). All in all, I would say that Budapest has lost an important cultural and party place, and has gained yet another square in which nothing is allowed, you cannot do anything, and you will be harassed just for sitting around there.

Souces: 1, 2, 3

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