Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ramat Gan Bursa vying for Tel Aviv's FinTechies

Ramat Gan, just east of Tel Aviv is chasing FinTech firms with new attractive construction @ DAVider 2015
While Tel Aviv is undisputedly the location for Israeli FinTech entrepreneurs, Ramat Gan is still chasing the big city technologists and finaciers for attention. Long considered the "orphan child" of the central region, construction at the business areas is moving at a faster clip than anywhere in Tel Aviv. Allegation of cutting lengthy and expensive construction approval processes have been buzzing for decades (actually have turned into a conviction of the last mayor). Yet, the smaller (and much less glitzy) and more affordable city, somehow manages to continue building at a fast pace. There is a new effort to turn the more traditional location, home to banks, insurance companies and financial institutions into a start-up hub. Yet, this illusive goal, of capturing the imagination of the Israeli entrepreneur (and investor) within one location, is still unattainable. But not for the lack of trying. [more on this in future posts]

Monday, September 28, 2015

Breakfast @ Brasserie Ibn Gvirol (#TelAviv)

Standard eggs breakfast at the Brasserie (about 70 NIS) @ DAVider 2015

The Brasserie is the go-to French "Brasserie" in central Tel Aviv. More an adaptation of French light cooking to the Tel Avivian palate than a true to life Parisian brasserie. (70 Ibn Gvirol, Tel Aviv, Open 24 hr/day - 7 day/wk) The simple style and above average attention to detail makes for a great combination. On most Friday & Saturday mornings you will need a reservation to assure a good table. Inside and outside seating is available. A long bar on one side of the room is also busy on most weekend mornings. The Brasserie serves both a breakfast and a dinner menu, but will accommodate breakfast orders later in the day and in the early morning hours.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tel Aviv High-Rise Construction

New hi-rise buildings in north Tel Aviv still going up fast @ DAVider 2015

Tel Aviv construction is still going strong with luxury apartments leading the sector. Parts of the central region, left undeveloped, are now starting to be filled with high-rise buildings. In areas from Tel Aviv to Petach Tikva, buildings with 24 to 32 stories are planned or under construction. Although the Israeli economic statistics are showing almost zero inflation and zero growth, in the construction sector this is now what we see. 

Dogs in Tel Aviv Cafes

A small Grayhound looking dog at the Streets / Ibn Gvirol @ DAVider 2015
An interesting phenomena in Tel Aviv cafes is the presence of dogs. Usually lying quietly under a table, barely noticeable. American and Asian visitors are taken back the first time, European visitors are less surprised. Once in a while there are really beautiful dogs, exceptional and rare - this is one example

Friday, September 18, 2015

Will Azrieli Center Fade as New Sky Scrapers Grow?

For the last fifteen years of being an unofficial symbol of Tel Aviv's success, Azriel Towers are slowly fading into a fast growing sky scraper skyline. For years, the three towers symbolized everything modern and business in the city. Until the construction of these buildings, Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan, had a small collection of high rise buildings. Not impressive in international standards. But, things have changed dramatically the last decade and a half. Tel Aviv's skyline is rising gradually in a few central areas. Mostly in the north and east of the center, high rise buildings, between 30 and 40 stories are quickly changing the way Tel Aviv looks and feels. Will this mean a different image for the white city? Probably. Before Azrieli the city used a mixed of beach and old Bauhaus buildings as it's image. That quaint image was a reality of the 1920s to 1950s. Today, Israelis are just as likely to live and work on the 25th floor as on the 4th floor walk-up. Let's see what tomorrow brings. 


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ben Gurion Boulevard - End of Summer

Ben Gurion boulevard walkway on a hot summer afternoon

Tel Aviv is hot and quiet this time of year. Even the large shaded boulevards (Ben Gurion in this picture) are not attracting people in the early evening hours. When the temperatures run between 85 and 90 Deg. F, most residents prefer an air conditioned cafe to walking the shaded boulevards. While kids are off school and many workers are on vacation, you would think city streets should be full. But to the contrary, the streets seemed to have been emptied as by a magic spell.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

End of Summer Last Outing in Tel Aviv

Off Dizengoff street restaurants & cafes attract a solid crowd, End of summer outings at it's peak

This year's high holiday week (between Rosh Ha'shana & Yom Kippur) falls at the end of the summer. School kids are back in their seats, just to have a ten day vacation. This year it was four days, then two days. Teachers and parents complain about the constant on-again-off-again schedule. Restaurateurs and cafe owners are busier than normal. The weather and vacation together brings the crowds out.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Girls at a Football (Soccer) Practice

As school year begins, soccer practice resumes. Girls practice with boys in Givatay'im / © 2015 A-Vider


Friday, September 11, 2015

Skies Clearing - Still Hot

4th day of haze, dust storms from Syria (north east) bring fine dust and hot weather © A Vider 2015
Why write and photograph Tel Aviv's hazy skies? That's not an important issue, most people are not concerned about bad weather a few days a year. It's the strange sense of being mildly irritated from missing great late-summer weather that's the news. Not really news, as much as an observation with regard to change is preferences. Because Israel is such a great place to live, weather wise, somehow this is an issue. In Tel Aviv we expect hot summers, but not intolerable (this is not the Libyan Sahara or the Arabian desert of Qatar). Strange how Tel Avivians take for granted the weather, and then when it turns hazy for three days, it becomes a news item. Just one indication of something we enjoy and sometimes take for granted.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Third Day of Haze - Clearing Up

For the third day now, Tel Aviv's skies are filled with hazy dust. Strong storms from the north-east (Syria) are covering Israel with a fine layer of red dust. For early fall, late summer, this weather pattern is unusual. This morning the skies looked a little less dark than the past two days.

שנה טובה Happy New Year


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Haze Continues in Tel Aviv for Second Day

The second day of haze continues to engulf the city slowing down traffic and irritating residents. The dust storm, coming from the north east, originating in Syria is odd for this time of year. Health authorities warn residents with pulmonary conditions to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activity. A few Tel Avivians took to wearing paint masks in the hope of some relief. This duct storm took everyone by surprise, with sunny and warm days through August, everyone expected clear weather.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Apartment Listing: Dizengoff @ Bazel $500K 45mtr-sq 1 Bdrm

Apartment listed in north Dizengoff realtor: 45 sqr-mtr, 1 bedroon, US$ 500,000
The prices of Tel Aviv apartments are still going up. After years of steady and fast rise, Tel Avivian's are no longer screaming, protesting or surprised. A short spurt of foreign buyers, seems most likely French from the street level sounds, are keeping sellers happy. The state tried to stem the quick rise in housing prices will all kind of programs. Yet housing starts, tax incentives and even reduced building red-tape is still alluding Israelis. This listing, common in north Tel Aviv realtor windows, lists a one bedroom 45 square meter apartment for two million shekels. Sticker shock is common to foreigners, but quickly fades once people see a few properties and compare prices. For the most part, prices for similar apartments are fairly uniform. Most apartments in desirable locations are new or renovated and in good condition. Happy house hunting  ;-)


Foggy Morning in Tel Aviv

Uncommon weather surprised residents: heavy fog engulfed the "White City" this morning © A Vider 2015
Tel Aviv residents woke up to a foggy morning. Uncommon to late summer and early fall, the fog snarled traffic into Tel Aviv central area and slowed down Ayalon highway. Picture taken on Ha'shalom bridge near the Azrieli (Ha'shalom) train station looking north. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Givatay'im Library Garden & FinTech Exits

Memorial in Givatay'im Park (behind main library) 

Tel Aviv's Start-up Community Looking for Bigger Growth - Less Traction Than Predicted
FinTech start-up exits the last four years. Israeli entrepreneurs & investors are looking for a faster / bigger trend (statistica)
FinTech entrepreneurs & investors are a bit frustrated here these days. They are not sure why the start-up flow is slow. Israelis are looking at the global FinTech growth (especially in San Francisco) where investment in new start-ups is growint quickly. Some estimate more than 1,000 new start-ups the last 18 months. Moran Faibish in a recent meetup  talk, thinks the shortage of financial engineers, a new breed of  programmers, mathematicians, and financial market expertise is to blame. His take is focused around the need for moving hi-tech workers into the FinTech with an intensive training program. See article on Tel Aviv Living blog.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

This Week's Pictures: Beach, Building & Job Search

Three pictures from a daily life in Tel Aviv...

New building almost finished at Ben Yehuda and Arlozorov. Last year 55 - 65 sqr-mtr apartments were selling for NIS 2MM

Taking advantage of the hot weather on the first week of September, beach-goers catch the last rays of 2015