Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beirut in New York Times!

The New York Times seems to be a fan of Beirut! First they named it as the #1 Place to visit in 2009, and now the NYT 'T Magazine' did a photo slide show of Beirut!!
See it below:

The Scene: Beirut

Though it was once known as the Paris of the Middle East, ‘‘Beirut never truly lost its sheen,’’ says Gordon Campbell Gray, the British hotelier who finally opened Le Gray last November, having forged ahead even through the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. The Lebanese capital surely has a touch of Parisian glamour, but it also has a dash of Berlin (bullet-pocked buildings after a civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990) and Miami (flashy night-life zones choked with Ferraris and S.U.V.’s). There’s a burgeoning gallery scene, world-class shopping — from avant-garde boutiques like IF to big-ticket designers like Marc Jacobs and Dior — and five-star hotels like the new Four Seasons and Le Gray. ‘‘The Lebanese have a spirit for living for the day, and it permeates every aspect of their life,’’ Campbell Gray says. ‘‘You really understand this when you head back to a Western city.’’

Kamal Mouzawak is Lebanon’s answer to Alice Waters. He’s hosted a macrobiotic TV show, taught local schoolchildren about organic food and spent two years touring his homeland learning about the country’s culinary traditions. In 2004 he started Souk el-Tayeb, the city’s farmers’ market. More recently he opened the popular Tawlet (‘‘table’’ in Arabic), a canteen where regional cooks prepare daily meals. Book ahead.

Naher Street, 12

The provocative, Harvard-trained architect Bernard Khoury designed this nightclub back in 1998, but it’s still the city’s favorite after-hours spot. Built on the site of a former refugee camp where many were killed during the civil war, the club is a continual source of controversy as well as an example of Koury’s brutalist architecture style, with its location in an underground parking lot and its steel retractable roof.

Lot 317, Karantina

Le Gray
Located just yards from the Mohammed al-Amin mosque, Le Gray stands out like a modernist beacon. It took five years for Gordon Campbell Gray to realize his high-design vision — infinity pool, art-filled rooms and a bar with 360-degree views — in his favorite new city. ‘‘Beirut was not a hard sell for me. The reputation, the infrastructure, the history was all there. All it needed was peace.’’ Weekending Europeans and young Saudi princesses alike are convinced.

Martyrs’ Square

Sfeir-Semler Gallery
Andrée Sfeir-Semler was born in Beirut but left for Germany in the 1970s, where she has had a gallery in Hamburg since 1998. In 2005, she established a Lebanese outpost that features many acclaimed Middle Eastern artists, including Marwan Rechmaoui and Walid Raad of the Atlas Group, who deal with the country’s geopolitical, economic, social and military conflicts in their work.

Tannous Building; Street 56, Jisr Sector 77, Karantina

Music Hall
The cabaret held in this former movie theater doesn’t really get started most weekends until 11 p.m., but that doesn’t deter the many elderly guests who join the pretty young things on the banquettes. Its founder, Michel Elefteriades, curates an eclectic program — Armenian rockers, Eastern European Gypsy performers, even girls singing ABBA songs — that, along with the bottles of whiskey and Champagne, keeps the crowd on their dancing feet until early morning. ‘‘It’s got this sexy, seedy feeling like those dance halls in Havana in the ’50s,’’ explains one guest.

Starco Center, Omar Daouk Street

The Beirut Souks
‘‘Lebanese love to shop. It’s in their DNA,’’ says the local Omar Eid. The old souks here in downtown were destroyed during the civil war and became a no man’s land. After decades of planning and building with the help of international architects like Zaha Hadid and Rafael Moneo, the development looks like a high-end Los Angeles shopping mall (if it was built on Roman ruins.) There are trendy cafes and name-brand boutiques like Calvin Klein and Chloé, and a cineplex is in the works. Rue Weygand and Rue Allenby.

This is the vast majority of the NYT T Magazine article, but to see more of it, click here!



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