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IMG_7953The Millennial Generation (born between 1980 – 2000) believes in beauty in design and architecture. They skirt the windswept modern plazas to seek out cities with secret courtyards and rooms, such as this 12th century university centre in the walkable neighbourhood of Hauz Khas, New Delhi, India.

IMG_7934One of the cafes (actually it’s a tea salon) preferred by the Millennial Gen in Hauz Khas, New Delhi.

IMG_8644It’s possible to spot Milly-Gen neighbourhoods in cities around the world.  Watch for cultural fusion and art that’s part of streetlife, not sequestered to institutions.  In Istanbul, eclectic vintage stores are layered next to antique jewellers next to architecture studios in Tophane district across the river from the ancient Hagia Sophia. Even the heaps of garbage on the sidewalk are artful.

IMG_8677The Milly-Gen tends to be well-travelled and well-educated.  They’re foodies with a love of eclectic, locally-grown dishes that pull on old traditions.  This fresh Istanbul breakfast served in a neighbourhood transitioning from strict Muslim…

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In Toronto at the Stop Market anti-poverty fundraiser – a crowd of Milly-Gens contemplates life in the big city, naturally, in a parking lot.  Values of the Millennial Generation in Big City Canada: EQUALITY OF THE SEXES; PERSONAL CREATIVITY; NEED FOR ESCAPE; CULTURAL FUSION; FLEXIBILITY OF GENDER IDENTITY; CONTROL OF DESTINY; ECOLOGICAL LIFESTYLE; INTROSPECTION AND EMPATHY; EQUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUTH;  GLOBAL ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS; DISCRIMINATING CONSUMERISM; PURSUIT OF ORIGINALITY; SOCIAL LEARNING.
(Environics Analytics)

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IMG_8777Istanbul is like an open book, an ancient tome, still waiting to be cracked open.  And the flourishing design culture is standing up even to the Hagia Sophia.  From the star-spangled runners to the fake eyelashes, an Istanbul hipster at the design cafe next to the 14th-century Galata Tower in Istanbul.

IMG_8768Anti-mall…the Grand Bazaar is a vast covered-market that encompasses more than 50 streets. Worth visiting for the leather, the excellent knock-off leather and piles of antiquities, like these.

IMG_8790Salt Galata, an exquisite research centre and archive dedicated to design and art… recently opened in a magisterial building that once housed the Ottoman Bank. This is how you enter.

IMG_8799Street food, Istanbul style.  Fresh cilantro, egg, tomato, cheese and salt on warm buns.  Served on a simple fold-up wooden table on a cobblestone street. Toronto has so much to learn.

IMG_8677Country breakfast at a sweet spot, Pell’s Cafe, owned by a financial young whiz turned cafe stylista. Located on the steep street of Bogazkesen Cad. No:68 in Beyoğlu, İstanbul.  A neighbourhood changing, slowly, from conservative ethos to one allowing designer chic boutiques and even the occasional liquor license.

IMG_8644Like many of the indie neighbourhoods in places like San Francisco, New York or Vancouver, Beyoglu is rich with eclectic artist houses, jewellery antiquities and family-run eateries.

IMG_8641and golden textures hanging in the air

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somebody’s version of garbage in Istanbul, and total treasure in my mind – even the cat is an aesthetic object.  Santa, if you’re listening, I’ll take one of each!

Mr. Nescafé, we loved your voice, but not your watery instant coffee.  Zap ahead a few decades to the real pours.  One of my all-time favourite coffee zones is the unfussy, slightly grungy Mercury Espresso Bar in Leslieville, Toronto.   The baristas are wizards and the wooden shelves are filled with freshly harvested coffee beans from across Latin America.  There’s usually lyrical art up on the walls.   I also like the no-cellphone-policy-while ordering. Respect for respect.

After beach volleyball and paddleboarding, the long weekend at Lake Huron was spent luxuriating with Tim Horton’s stored in a big tin and pulled out of a cedar cupboard.  Savoured in blue willow cups with vintage hand-stitched flag from Ontario.

Lining up last week for some fresh brew at the coffee cart on the elevated High Line park in NYC’s Meatpacking District. Perfect pours by unhurried baristas, despite the million or so visitors walking the High Line each year.

Manual drip has its charms.  Like music, which sounds infinitely better with record players.

Nice to wake up to: Very buttoned down hotel coffee, like this classic scenario at Pavilion de la Reine next to Place des Vosges, Paris.