It’s really exciting the way spaces can be transformed. A street may be completely deserted one day and be the liveliest part of town the next. For example, had we visited the Jewish Quarter in Paris on Saturday (the Sabbath), we probably would’ve walked away thinking it was nothing special.
When we visited Brick Lane on a Saturday a few weeks ago, it was pretty quiet but the glimpses we caught of the interesting subcultures drew us back. And this time we did the right thing by visiting the area on a Sunday, which is when the weekly Brick Lane market totally transforms the surrounding area. There was so much going on that I felt pretty over-stimulated, almost overwhelmed – but mostly I just felt pretty damn excited to have discovered this amazing part of London life.
Brick Lane feels very much like the heart of the East End and even though there’s so much of I’ve yet to see, I don’t imagine that there will be any other place that will get under my skin in the same way.
You can buy absolutely anything at the Brick Lane markets – from Indian shoes to contemporary art. You can even buy vacuum bag refills and chain store sweaters with tags cut off if you really needed to.
Beigel Bake is an East End institution and a remnant of the area’s Jewish past. It has a reputation of doing the best bagels in London and now that I’ve had one with cream cheese and smoked salmon, I envisage going back there many times over the coming months for more of the same. So good!