Lurking Behind Dynamo Stadium
Visitors to the Ukrainian capital often remark about how green the city is – trees exist on virtually every street, while small parks or playgrounds dot the spaces between large apartment blocks and then there’s the whole river bank area and Trukhaniv Island. Look out over the Dnipro River and about all you see in your field of vision is green. Excellent for those wanting space to go for a morning jog or afternoon stroll with the kids but avoid city traffic.
For instance, I’ve spent considerable time in the area behind Dynamo Stadium ever since I arrived nearly seven years ago. A good friend used to take friends to Shashlichna, this little garden-variety shashlik restaurant just near the start of the road known as Parkova Alley. I don’t go there so much anymore – my usual forays in the area now are to a nightclub further down and off the road called Privilege (but otherwise known as the Green Theater). It’s a great area and the Carte Blanche restaurant group has added Kureni restaurant right next door to the theater, which actually was set up as an outdoor theater that no longer screens movies. Pity.
Anyway, about Kureni, the mix of Ukrainian and Georgian food is fantastic. The khachapurri ranks among the best in the city, as do their borscht and grilled meats. The setting, with a nicely manicured garden at the entrance (featuring lettuce that later appears as garnishes to many dishes), features a large two-storied hall and an array of garden huts surrounded by leafy green forest. You don’t hear the cars on the cobblestone roads above – just the sounds of the kitchen (which sits in full view of diners in the garden) and other people enjoying dinner out in one of Kyiv’s many green spaces.
Finally, some evidence of reconstruction
With stadiums in mind, Olympic Stadium is finally beginning to get a facelift in preparation for UEFA’s crucial big visit in September – the one that will ultimately determine whether Ukraine keeps its portion of the lucrative Euro 2012 football championships.
I’m a bit disappointed that details have not been made public as to what kind of facelift the stadium will undergo. So far, the only work that’s going is a reconstruction of the offices for the Ukrainian Football Federation and they’re replacing the seats. But what’s the master plan? What is in the works here given the money (conservatively estimated to cost Ukrainian taxpayers about $5 billion) that’s to be spent?
Once again it seems accountability and informing the public count for nothing; plans for the stadium and the money being spent do not exist to my knowledge and the official championship website (www.e2012.org) offers little solace for anyone wondering where the billions of dollars being spent will actually go. There aren’t even placards or displays outside the stadium suggesting what the facility will look like, what will be added or upgraded – in short, nothing. I find this a rather worrying sign that all the preparations underway at present are only cosmetic and meant to make the UEFA officials believe work is actually going on when it’s not. In Lviv, less is actually being done than in Kyiv. And work on the nation’s roads? How about changes to Boryspil? Anyone ever flown to either Lviv or Donetsk? Frightening.