New York Times on Wellington

A nice profile of Wellington in the New York Times:

IT was a Saturday night in Wellington, New Zealand, and the denizens of Cuba Street were proving that the ’80s aren’t dead. A performance group decked out in unitards, Lycra G-strings, leg warmers and fluorescent wigs was dancing almost in rhythm to tunes like “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Like a Virgin,” occasionally inspiring the crowd to join in. Farther down Cuba Street, clutches of the young and restless spilled out along the pedestrian mall on their way from bar to restaurant to cafe, many ending up at nightspots like the Matterhorn to catch the latest hot D.J. from Ireland or Ethiopia. In the middle of the mall, one of the city’s signature landmarks, the Bucket Fountain, dropped from one bucket to another and onto passers-by, causing them to shriek and jump into one another’s arms to dodge the spray.  …

Back on Cuba Street while the dance troupe was still shaking those leg warmers, we struck up a conversation with a truck driver who paints and a construction worker who makes films. (In the less-modest United States, they’d be a painter who drives a truck and a filmmaker who works construction.) Both avowed that Wellington was by far the most avant-garde city in all of New Zealand, and to prove it, they decided to find the kind of cool bar that could be found only here.

First, they tried Havana Bar off a side street in two connected colorful, Cuban-style shacks, but despite its lively atmosphere and available tables our friends immediately pronounced it “dead.” We finally ended up at a place called Mighty Mighty, where the band was playing psychobilly rock. We perused the drinks menu, which was hidden in a vintage record sleeve, and observed the wildly decked-out patrons, some dressed in afro wigs and others in lederhosen.

My wife and I looked at each other, and then at our impromptu guides, their point well and truly made: Wellington is cool. We get it now.

It is indeed the coolest little capital city in the world.

In terms of other capitals, I do love Washington DC. Canberra is probably the most boring. London is cool also.

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