In the last couple of months we have managed to sneak into East Village and give some special Londoners a peek at how things are progressing.
First up, we joined forces with three of our favourite voices in London.
Chris Osburn is curator of the lively Tiki Chris – in between working as a photographer, writer and editor for a host of respected outlets, including Londonist. This summer will mark a decade since our second guest, Patrick Crozier, began writing his blog, Croziervision. He also runs the excellent Transport blog. Finally, we invited Barry Oneoff, East London expert and overlord of the East London Forum. Barry also manages his own site, which is a veritable treasure trove of information about our great nation and its capital city.
A fascinating tour of East Village followed by a jaunt through Stratford fuelled some good discussion and, all in all, the day was a big success. Subsequent articles on Londonist’s site from Chris, firstly about our delicious lunch courtesy of The Counter Cafe at Stour Space and secondly about the tour itself, provided further food for thought.
A month later we were accompanied on a second tour by our London Living friends, Stratford’s very own Londoneer, and relocated Scotsman, William Wallace (author of London Is Cool). We embarked on a guided tour of East Village in the morning, before an excursion through Hackney Wick courtesy of Hilary Powell from Urban Gentry.
After another great look around East Village, we snaked our way through the various nooks and crannies along the canal, poking our heads into several of the hundreds of art & design studios that sit snugly in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium.
A few weeks ago we were joined by Park Life’s very own Juliet Kinsman and Suzi Jones, another Stratford resident, for a third tour of East Village – along with an intriguing look around Stratford with Jamie Hodge from Stratford Renaissance.
So, what did our guests think?
Well, reaction was really positive.
William Wallace dedicated three fantastic articles to the day out in general. Impressed with Hackney Wick in particular, William praised the area for its ‘edginess‘ and its ‘soul and character’, and was impressed with the ‘awesome’ and ‘legendary Hackney Pearl‘ too.
Most pleasing of all though, our guests were impressed with what they saw at East Village.
‘I didn’t really know what to expect from the Olympic Village – looking at it from a distance it looks a little forbidding, but up close I can see what they’re trying to achieve – they’ve even taken the trouble to do extensive landscaping, including planting an amazing number of mature trees – 3000 in all.’
Feedback on the buildings themselves was positive too:
‘I was impressed with what I saw. The apartments themselves are fairly spacious, all mod cons, underfloor heating, underground parking and most have balconies.’
William concluded that:
‘East Village is the future of modern living.’
Like the Londoneer, William was skeptical before experiencing East Village but seeing it in the flesh went a long way to changing his mind:
‘I honestly didn’t expect to be saying this before I went on the tour, but I was impressed…very impressed with what will become East Village.’
Stratford resident Suzi Jones saw past the bitter cold and rain of her visit to look on the bright side. Jamie, our guide, pointed out an amazing breadth of hidden gems in Stratford, prompting Suzi to comment:
‘I’ve learnt more about where I live in one day than I have in nearly two years!’
Both Suzi and Juliet felt very strongly about community – and some interesting discussions were had about how we are striving to place this at the heart of East Village: both amongst future tenants, and between them the people who already live and work in Stratford.
Juliet uploaded a fantastic view from the 13th floor of East Village:
The East Village site is now locked down as it prepares to welcome the London 2012 athletes this summer. It has already received a ringing endorsement from one Olympic hopeful, James Ellington (good luck, James!), and we’re sure the other athletes will feel the same. As soon as the Games have finished, we will go into the final stages of building and preparation: with East Village due to welcome its first residents in 2013. We can’t wait.