After events this week it’s more important than ever to celebrate our vibrant community in NW5. And to help us, we’re delighted to welcome a new contributor, who couldn’t be better equipped for the job, having been brought up in Kentish Town itself.
So ladies and gentlemen, meet seasoned journalist Tom Kentishtowner. Being a father of two young kids, Tom particularly wants to know about any family-related happenings in the area. Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, and here’s his Top 5. Stay Safe.
#1. Queens Crescent Market
“Having just moved with my family deeper into West Kentish Town (now almost cup-of-sugar-borrowing distance from Mrs Kentishtowner, no less) one of the most exciting local prospects is seeing this historic market start to thrive once more. Despite falling on uninspired times for many years, there are still plenty of hidden gems to be found, from the traditional joys of Frank’s store (all the basics at pre-credit crunch prices) to the likes of Mirjan that rivals the more well-known Phoenician in its supplies of tasty Mediterranean, Arab and Eastern produce.
“Then there’s London’s oldest Bikram yoga studio, hidden behind an unassuming door but regularly packed out with those seeking a side order of sweat with their sculpted body. Unquestionably still lots of room for improvement, but the Crescent already offers more than meets the untrained eye.”
#2. Kentish Town Sports Centre
“Prince of Wales Baths, to give the place its previous (and far better) name, was always a bit of an ordeal when I was at school. Dark, damp, smelly changing rooms and broken tiles that sliced the feet open if you touched the bottom of the pool… Happily this was all turned around with the fantastic, sympathetic refit last year. The way the once crumbling building has been restored is better than we could have dared think possible.
“I spend a lot of time in the children’s pool with my 3-year-old which, with its streaming natural light, is just a great place to hang out and mess about with water. I love the mix of original elements like the wall tiles and skylights with modern comforts like great showers. The sort of architecture that is simply not viable today, yet here it is with high quality fixtures and fittings to boot.”
#3. Flaxon Ptootch
“A real Kentish Town institution, this hairdresser’s-cum-art-gallery-cum-performance-space has been bringing a splash of culture to the High Street for longer than it’s possible to remember. Owner Michael knows so many people who drop in for a chat or even a cheeky drink on their way past that the haircuts usually take a back seat to the socialising. With a regularly changing display of work by local artists on the walls, free launch events and even the odd gig, this a real creative community hub that puts many of the over-cool East London hangouts to shame. Michael has credentials as a party promoter too and is a key player in putting on the fantastic Alma St festival. KT through and through.”
“Ethiopian food is a personal favourite and this is the place where I largely discovered it. After years of peering curiously through the windows it proved a very good idea to finally go inside and receive a fantastic local experience, one that has been repeated many times since.
“This family-run joint really feels like visiting a family home, with copious amounts of exciting new dishes and injera bread being brought out from the kitchen to the small dining area. Eating colourful pulses and sharing everything on a big tray is such a nice way to make a meal feel a little special, the staff only add to the warm feel, and there’s a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony to finish things off memorably too.”
#5. View from Parliament Hill
“Does the Heath even have postcodes? On the fringes of NW5, this offers unquestionably the best view of the hood. The explosion of screams and splashing in the paddling pool at the foot of the hill celebrates the glorious diversity of our borough: this weekend’s visit yielded Orthodox Jewish families in traditional clothes sharing the water with dreadlocked hipsters and their naked offspring.
“From there on into Gospel Oak, Central London runs away in front of your eyes to all its corners, with Canary Wharf, the Crystal Palace radio mast and Battersea power station offering up the full scale markers. Up here, KT rightly feels like the gateway to the most exciting city in the world. And the fact that you can walk a largely unbroken route through urban parks and waterways from our area to Baker St and on to Kensington and Notting Hill is one of the major joys of living here.”
Agree. Disagree? Let us know.