Part of the aim of Vienna Walking Week is to show you strange and new Vienna can be. Welcome to Telefonweg, near Essling. It is one of the longest streets in our city, but also unknown. We find that every street is interesting, if you hear the stories and meet the people. There are not so many people on this road, and it does not have a proper path to walk along - you just have to walk on the road, and avoid the cars.
Donaustadt is not so focused on walkers, but we want to explore it anyway. Why is the street called that way? Why does the city spell the name of the street two different ways? Why is one quarter of our city just in one Bezirk? Who lives here? Why do so many Viennese not come to the north side of the Donau?
After our previous single street tours along Westgürtel (starting at midnight, ending 5.30am), along Gumpendorferstrasse for Wien Museum/Kulturkonzepte/Jane's Walk, and last summer through Zirkusgasse, Maik Novotny (architecture critic for Standard and Falter) suggested we discover Telefonweg, as a kind of lost place. It is not so easy to get to, and few people come here, but that is why we want to be there. It is not far from Seestadt, and ends in Niederoesterreich, but has many stories to tell. Eugene and his friend Nick researched the tour on 21 December, in the snow, and in fact Eugene hich-hiked along the street, to get to our meeting place. After, he went to the charming Christmas celebration from the Gartenamt der Stadt Wien, at Blumengaerten Hirschstetten, which is easily the best Christmas market and display, if you have children. Also nearby are the dramatic social housing blocks of Hirschstaetten, which Eugene recommends you discover. He first visited Essling in 2019, to meet up with the inspirational founder of Tresor culture centre there, as part of the research for #kommraus: Forum Öffentlicher Raum.
Vienna is the most productive agricultural region of Austria, and that is very visible beside Telefonweg. Should our city produce so much food, when there is a rental crisis? Shouldn't we prioritise places to live, instead of places to grow? There is a lot of sky in this part of Vienna, but also many lakes, deer, phoneboxes, grey architecture, and big house numbers (they reach up to Telefonweg 401!). Nearby streets include Biber-, Spargel-, Schaf- and even Agrarweg.
North Donaustadt has been in the news recently because of scandals involving district mayor Ernst Nevrivy, including the 'Stadtstrasse' and Kleingartenaffaere, and local celebrities like David Alaba, Yung Hurn and Nino aus Wien.
Even though the Grätzl has a village feel, neighbours have big fences to hide from each other, or protect themselves. Why is that? We could also call this tour Wien Unbekannt, or a Zen tour of nothingness. But this part of the city is just as much Vienna as the cliches of Ringstrasse or Mariahilferstrasse. This will be Eugene's 13th new tour in Donaustadt, after walks exploring Seestadt places to hide for young children, a bus tour for 60 French urbanists, all 21km of Alte Donau, Kagran street poetry, every district in one day, Donauinsel end-to-end, Seestadt critical tour for Wien zu Fuss, 7 crazy Vienna churches, gender mainstreaming for Swiss architects in Seestadt, Tall Towers tour, Donauplatte for Maria Vassilakou's Vienna Solutions - 23 Saudi urbanists, and a swim walk for Eugene's son Josef's school class of 9-year-olds.