Upon arriving to Athens, I thought about how closely it resembles New York City.
There are hundreds of shops including American stores like H&M and Zara. Graffiti covers buildings, even those built in classical style with their marble staircases and Ionic columns.
Cars bustle the streets day and night and it is nearly impossible for pedestrians to cross from sidewalk to sidewalk despite the crossing signs. Small pop up convenience stores that resemble bodegas line the streets.
Athens even has its own version of Greenwich Village.
Plaka, a small district in the city, is an oasis hidden in the city. The sidewalks are lined with trees and small buildings with iron embroidered balconies. Small lanterns line the courtyards and hang over dinner guests.
The smell of seasoned meats and coffee spill into the streets from the many restaurants and cafes.
Performers walk up and down the streets playing their instruments while their sidekicks holding signs that ask tourists for money. “Free for you,” say the women who walk the streets selling roses.
Plaka is an escape from Athens; a place where those who don’t enjoy concrete jungles can dwell like the hipsters in The Village.