content material coming from — nypost.com
An unlikely oasis has emerged for travel-starved New Yorkers who crave a change of scene: Serbia.
“It jogs my memory of Williamsburg circa 2010,” mentioned expat Davis Richardson, 27, who was seeking to escape NYC just a few months in the past and wound up placing down roots within the capital metropolis, Belgrade.
“I now pay half what I paid in New York throughout a pandemic to dwell out of a set overlooking all of Belgrade. It’s a no brainer: Both I pay double and dwell with extra restrictions, or I pay half for extra facilities and experiences with superb individuals who wish to exit to eating places and speak about issues aside from politics,” mentioned the communications specialist.
Richardson meets up with associates for espresso, goes out to nightclubs and hookah bars, and even hits the gun vary whereas dwelling out of a boutique lodge referred to as Mama Belgrade.
“The Serbian mindset could be very proud,” he mentioned. “They don’t see a virus as getting in the best way of their success and happiness.”
With no quarantine requirement for Individuals, the previously war-torn Balkan nation’s hip Belgrade has been an enormous draw through the coronavirus pandemic. Air Serbia introduced 34 flights to JFK in October, far surpassing the 24 routes from October 2019, even in a plagued yr for touring.
However Monday, the US Embassy announced that thanks to three,482 new COVID circumstances, the Serbian authorities has ordered that “all providers, together with bars, eating places, cafés, shops, supermarkets, procuring malls, theaters, and cinemas” be closed from 9 p.m. to five a.m., from Nov. 17 by “at the least” Dec. 1.
But even with the thumping nightclub scene alongside the river tamped down, New Yorkers are taking within the sights: the Temple of Saint Sava, the Nikola Tesla Museum, Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan Park.
“This metropolis has a magical manner of therapeutic you: You possibly can discover hidden underground fortresses, observe traditions going again centuries and have conversations with nuance,” mentioned Richardson, including that the brand new restrictions gained’t change his views. “If issues hold going the best way they’re in the US with social unrest and lockdowns, I believe increasingly more folks will come right here.”
That’s what lured Yoni Yosef, a 35-year-old occasion planner from Williamsburg, to Belgrade in September.
“Over there, I didn’t have the stress of COVID,” he mentioned. “It’s like going again to the best way issues have been earlier than the pandemic.”
Others are reticent to share their discovery for concern of being judged.
Atousa Farahani, a Williamsburg resident, mentioned she largely stored quiet about her go to to Serbia in October.
“I’m absolutely conscious of the way it appears to folks to journey throughout a worldwide pandemic,” mentioned the 36-year-old who works in on-line operations. “Individuals are both comfortable that I’m nonetheless touring and doing my factor or say, ‘You’re placing others in danger.’”
Farahani mentioned she follows masks guidelines, travels with hand sanitizer and appreciates institutions that implement well being laws.
Katka Lapelosová, a 33-year-old from Mattress-Stuy, fell in love with town after visiting in October.
“I went there initially simply to get out of NYC however I ended up shopping for an condo in Belgrade,” she mentioned. In January, she’ll be shifting into her $55,000 “tiny, cozy” one-bedroom on a road she likened to Park Avenue, perplexing a few of her kin.
“My family and friends didn’t know the place Serbia was. They thought I used to be going to Siberia,” mentioned the content material supervisor.
“A few of them assume that Milosevic is alive and kicking,” she mentioned, referring to the previous president who died in a jail cell at The Hague in 2006, whereas being tried for warfare crimes.
As an alternative, she mentioned, she discovered a complicated nation the place she met a disproportionate variety of native medical doctors and legal professionals.
However “it’s not all peaches and cream,” mentioned an nameless Higher East Sider who visited earlier this month. “The air pollution was appalling … with nasty, acrid air.”
Nonetheless, the social scene is nothing to smell at.
Final month, Jennifer, a 36-year-old from Hell’s Kitchen, took a whirlwind three-day journey to Belgrade by way of Air Serbia from JFK to have fun her birthday. Her four-star “lodge was simply $50 an evening,” and she or he exulted over a cocktail party at a greenhouse-style restaurant referred to as Franš. She plans on going again this spring.
“The boys are very good-looking — tall, darkish and good-looking,” she mentioned. “I believe I’ve to return simply to discover a husband.”
— to nypost.com