The Old North
The Old North isn’t really that to the north anymore, and is in fact part of Tel Aviv’s center. Before the city expanded north of Rockach into Ramat Aviv and other northern neighborhoods, this was northern Tel Aviv. The area it encompasses stretches from north of Bugrashov and west of Ibn Gabirol, with the Mediterranean delineating it from the west. One can also include Yehuda Maccabi in the Old North, even though it’s east of Ibn Gabirol.
The Old North is home to some of Tel Aviv’s biggest highlights. Look for the Bauhaus design structures on Ben Gurion Boulevard; check out Tel Aviv’s political heart in Kikar Rabin, the square where former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated and where mainly left wing political and social rallies have and are being held; sit in a Ben Yehuda café before walking down to the beach; or shop in one of Dizengoff’s top jewelry stores.
By walking through the Old North from one end to the other, either along Dizengoff or Ben Yehuda, you will witness firsthand the changing aspects of the city, its landscapes, businesses and people.
Around Frishman and Gordon you can see small real estate offices, crowded food stalls, workers on their way to work, young people hanging around, and deteriorating structures and sidewalks. Once you get to Ben Gurion, Orlozorov, and then Nordau and Yirmiyahu, the streets and boulevards become wider, there are more lanes for bicyle riders and more dog walkers, everything seems better kept, the food stalls are replaced by boutique restaurants and cafes, bars are no longer part of the scene, and Tel Aviv’s elderly population walks along the streets sometimes with the aid of hired help.
In colloquial Hebrew, the word “northerner” is a pejorative attribute for Istaelis of European origin living in these parts, who are supposedly well-off, spoiled and pretentious. At present, the population here is somewhat eclectic, but unlike in the center or the south it is less poor and migrant workers are not a common sight. What you see here are the older folks who have steadfastly stood ground, young families with means to rent or buy here, as well as the regular collection of post-military service youngsters that are found almost anywhere in the city. Since it’s the Old North nowadays, the term “northerner” now is used more in referencve to residents of the “new north”, those of Ramat Aviv and Bavli.