Life at Aghios Nikolaos Square

A short distance down Nea Ionia Avenue from the Kato Patissia metro station is a makeshift mosque. A Pakistani asks us in broken Greek not to photograph it. A little further on is Aghiou Nikolaou Square, hidden between the train lines and the church of the same name. It is crowded with children playing; the benches filled with people who take their positions early in the evening. «They wait for someone to die so someone else can sit there,» quipped Evangelos Kalamaridis, a resident of the district since 1957. «These used to be some of the best parts of Athens. They have been downgraded deliberately,» he said. «Look at that abandoned car. When we call the municipality, they say they can’t remove it because it still has its license plates. They suggested that we steal the plates! They want us to break the law so they can clean the street!»