September 2014 • I guess this proves you can go back. After two years away, I thought a return visit to Istanbul might be doomed to disappoint—and thanks to a pilot strike at Air France, the landing was indeed rough: 24 hours late, middle of the night, streets deserted, tired and pessimistic about a trip down memory lane. But the misgivings were way overblown. Warm welcomes and lengthy catch-up sessions with friends, favorite cafe owners, and former neighbors, colleagues, and students were like a shot in the arm. Also made a side trip to Ankara to reconnect with Berk and Murat, who taught me the word that would underscore the entire visit. Four years ago, after first arriving in Kadikoy, I compared it with Brooklyn in terms of its across-the-water proximity to Beyoglu, the glamorous European side of Istanbul. Now Kadikoy resembles Brooklyn in more insidious ways, like the doubling of rents and the can't-swing-a-dead-cat ubiquity of new bars and cafes—useful reminders that the scourge of hypergentrification isn't confined to just the U.S.
Filiz and Nuray (photo by Terri Rogers)
Water crisis, Kadikoy
Murat, Ankara (photo by Berk Ozdemir)
Pera Museum, Beyoglu