Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mystery Photo XII - Milk Bar

Anyone had a chocolate milkshake here lately ?

Not in Newtown any more Toto - Surry Hills 1992

After I recently published some extracts from the 1992 Student's Guide to Sydney Pubs (with content suspiciously similar to the 1992 Sydney Pub Guide) there was a request from Twitter's @Surry_Hills to share the reviews for Surry Hills.

Whereas the Newtown described in 1992 is instantly recogniseable to today's Newtonians, (with the notable exception of affordable accomodation) the same can't be said for Surry Hills. A haunt for black-leather wearing musicians, noted for the smoke and a 'nostalgic sense of desperation'. Back then you could 'walk into Surry Hills pubs and receive unwelcome and sometimes bizarre looks'; these days anything vaguely dangerous has been priced out of town and the only risk you have is not being hip enough for the staff.
To make you really sad, here's the review of the Hopetoun in the days of $2.50 schooners and no cover charge. R.I.P the Hoey.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Newtown in 1992 Student Pub Guide - Part II

In my last post I shared an introduction from the 1992 Student Guide to Sydney Pubs, describing the 'disproportionate number of Thai restaurants' and Newtown as an 'affordable place to live'. At least one of those is still true.

This time I'll share some of the actual reviews; my OCR is rubbish so you're going to have to make do with page scans which look deceptively old. 1992 wasn't that long ago - was it !? Click on the images for more legible versions.

The Sando reads much as a review would today - apart from the band names and the beer prices. Interesting how beer prices were a feature of this Pub Guide - I guess it reflects the target audience !

The Bank Hotel review seems to confuse Sleepers and the front bar; the loss of Sleepers as a bar to drink in rather than walk through is the greatest tragedy of the recent long-running renovations of the Bank.

Nothing too exciting in the Marly review - except the fake Duck Pond ! The Royal on Abercrombie also gets a half review as the beer garden out the back is being built.

Finally - RIP the faux tudor (Germanic style wooden walls apparently) of the Student Prince on Parramatta Rd - drinking bar of choice of the Mayor's soccer team back in the day. The last day of the season coincided with the last night of the Prince and we were unfortunately obliged to drink the pub dry - free of charge.

Lastly, The Shakespeare (Coopers old name) was so gnarly back in the day it didn't even rate a mention. How times change !

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Newtown in 1992 Student Pub Guide

The 1992 Student Guide to Sydney Pubs, written in those long forgotten days before the internet, features a section on Newtown, including reviews of The Marlborough, The Bank, The Newtown, The Sando, as well as long forgotten neighbouring bars such as the Student Prince and Sydney Saloon.

The relevant page is below (click on the article to embiggen):
The disproportionate number of Thai restaurants are still there, but sadly the fruit shops don't stay open late any more, and you're more likely to be visiting Crispy Inn to satisfy late night cravings. Nearly 20 years on, the Landsdowne, Annandale and Sando are still your best bet for pub rock in the area, though thankfully no-one refers to Newtown as the 'Paddington of the South' any more; you can understand why the author didn't go on to an illustrious journalistic career !

I'll try and scan post some of the individual reviews if there's any interest.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hatches Batches and Dispatches VI

So it's time for another edition of the semi-regular round up of some of the comings and goings on and around King St Newtown in the last month or so. Hoardings have gone up at Newtown Station, there are rumours of movement at Newtown Hotel, whose proposed renovations were recently approved - with 98 conditions ! As well, Newtown was in the news when local sculptor painted an anti-Burqa mural on his wall, challenging the usual local support for free speech and tolerance, and unsurprisingly pleasing Daily Telegraph readers.

The most read link shared by the mayor in the last couple of months though related to the $3.2M Newtown house sale. Not sure what that says !

See below for more:

New Openings

  • Sabbaba is close to opening up next door to Max Brenner
  • The Imperial Hotel re-opened after 3 years and many false re-openings
  • The Watershed started a bike-hire scheme that got wide publicity
  • @Newtown re-launched as Shush
Going ...
  • Much loved Funky Cafe closed for nearly a week - not looking good. It's been on the market for a while now
  • The much loved but short lived Newtown Gazebo finally fell foul of council safety regs
  • Dresser to the mayor, Crazy Horse, is on the market:

Development Applications
  • Dendy applied to add 10 screens to their Newtown mega-plex; including a tacky mural facing Camperdown Park
  • Nothing else too exciting this month - click here for all current Newtown DAs from Sydney Council website.

  • The Inner-West focussed Sydney Fringe Festival opened and closed to mixed reviews
  • Changing Lanes in Eliza Street was a sell-out success
  • Plans for the renovation of Marrickville Metro are attracting much criticism
  • Corridor gets a gushing review in the Gold Coast's local rag

  • There's not much life on King Street, Newtown in Queensland
  • A For Sale sign appeared and quickly disappeared outside the old Erskineville PYCC

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mystery Photo XI - Pet Procession

It's been a while - but finally it's time for Mystery Photo XI - and the first guest Mystery Photo - thanks to @VerityChambers. Where in town would you find this pet procession ?

BTW Don't ask me - I don't know either !

Hatches Batches and Dispatches V

It's been a while since the last round up of some of the comings and goings on and around King St Newtown. It's getting harder to keep track of the goings on but thankfully I have all of your tips from last month's update and Twitter. The most reported Newtown related news in the last month or so is the possible resumption of houses in Leamington Avenue for RailCorp's proposed Western Express line. The story got a second wind once some discovered the linkage to the famous 'Three Proud People' mural; now unfortunately blocked from view from Macdonaldtown Station by the sound barrier.

New Openings
  • Cucina Sopranos on the site of the old Wedgetail
  • The Polish restauarant in the old Choclate Dog has a name - New in Town - and gets the mayoral thumbs up - tasty and generous portions.
  • A new Vietnamese noodle place called "Pho Sure" opened in the old service station on the corner of Stamore Rd and Liberty St Enmore (nice break from the terrible Thai/Tie puns)
  • Dolce and Gelato has had a name change, now called gelato blue. Apart from that all looks the same. 
  • Moo Gourmet burgers the latest to take on the site of Mickey's
  • King St deli has moved to south king, where there used to be a business centre
  • The Bank Hotel has re-opened after the fire 
  • A new design shop (cute !) called Lillypad Designs hidden at the back of the newsagent near the Dendy
  • Not so new now but not yet mentioned is the nursery next to the controversial car-wash on South King Street;

Development Applications

  • The proposed bottlo shop in Newtown Central has a name - Cellarbrations. A chain, of course.
  • Speaking of chains, Dominos Pizza coming to (far north) Newtown. Signage looks really garish
  • Mostly residential otherwise.

  • Funky Cafe gets a mention in an SMH article about live music
  • Not quite a review, but both Pentimento and Newtown resident and ex-Mr Varga Bar Ben Soutter got quoted in an article about Cafe mobile phone etiquette.

  • Most visited story the mayor shared in the last month was about ATM skimming on skim street; while Fairfax were too scared to name the bank involved, they did point out that NAB, CBA and ANZ denied it was them and the Pac declined to comment. Go figure.
  • A broader inner city story getting too much airtime is the bike lane backlash, led by such likables as former Newtownian (sadly) Alan Jones and the Tele. Sad to say even a Wilson Street local is complaining about the lanes
  • Once again, The Imperial is 'opening soon'. Sadly the plans of Sydney Fringe to use the Hub as a venue have come to nothing
  • A filtered water fountain has been installed outside the Town Hall (real one, not the pub)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hatches Batches and Dispatches IV


The fourth round up of some of the comings and goings on and around King St Newtown in the last month or so. Thanks to reader Alison for some of the observations, and those who commented on Hatches III.

New Openings
  • Famous Surry Hills Thai Prasits has taken over the not very succesful Thai restaurant next to the high school
  • New Asian restaurant – and it’s not Thai! - Asian King, on the site of old Shaiza’s Curry House
  • A Coffee and a Yarn at 413 King St - hugely popular knitting and mini-cafe
  • The Granny Square – looks like a cute crafts store, site of old Champion Textiles – 47 King St (a theme here)
  • Chocolate Dog is now a Polish restaurant, according to Twitter !

Prasits arrives in Newtown

Development Applications

  • Yet another bottle shop proposed for Newtown Central (next to Townie)
  • Check out the excellent Planning Alerts site to track D.A.s near you
  • Moose in the SMH (Facebook link)
  • Darley St Bistro in the Botany View Hotel makes the Tele's Top 10 Pub Bistros
  • Street Food blog has a few Newtown reviews
  • Blog review of A Coffee and a Yarn

  • Pretty Dog has moved down the road in Brown Street; it's great to see some action off King Street.
  • Popular cafe Anise has closed due to renovations upstairs
  • Funky Cafe is on the market. Whoever buys it must maintain the music ! And death to the nimby who raised a noise complaint; on King St FFS.
  • A new Festival proposed for Eliza St in September

Pretty Dog slides down Brown St

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Newtown Station Latest

After a long period of silence, the revised Newtown Station renovations were launched this month by local member and Deputy Premier, Carmel Tebbutt and Transport Minister, Davd Campbell. The accompanying press release (pdf) was light on detail, although did contain an intruiging reference to 'including archaeological testing and demolition of the old kebab shop'. The renovations are supposed to cost an extraordinary $31M dollars, you really think we'd be getting more for that than a tarted up old station building, covered walkway and a couple of elevators.


The main change from the previous proposal (read more here and here) is that the gaudy canopy (on the right below) :

has been replaced by a simpler cleaner look, which is an improvement. Interesting though that the revised plan was not provided to the public for comment, and indeed is not online anywhere. The Mayor's requests to Carmel Tebbutt's office for any further information have not been responded to.

Probably because this was about the 17th launch of station renovation plans (a NSW Labor specialty) there wasn't a lot of press, apart from this very brief article in the Inner West Courier. The comments on that article reflect the general cynicism that this will actually go ahead.

However a D.A. has already been lodged with the council, although intruigingly only for soil quality testing (those kebabs again) rather than any demolition or construction work. I've got to say it's the most detailed documentation I've ever seen, given the limited scope of the works. Maybe that's where some the $31M is going. According to the press release a tender has been called for the demolition of the kebabery as well; still, I'll only be assured this is real when I see signs of some construction rather than destruction.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cycling to and from Newtown II - The City and North

The latest in a series of cycling posts, this post focuses on how to get from Newtown to the City and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The accepted route from Newtown to the city starts on the Wilson Street contra-flow. However very quickly opinion divides (and there are no signs; unlike the Marrickville side) on how best to get to the city. Going to the southern half of the CBD is best done following Wilson Street to the very end, through Little Eveleigh, around Redfern Station, down George Street, through Prince Alfred Park (when it's open) and then take your chances on Chalmers Street.

View Larger Map

To get to the Northern half of the CBD, or the bridge (which is the Mayor's commute) turn left off Wilson St at Shepherd St and follow it all the way past Sydney Uni Engineering, across Cleveland Street, 2nd right at Daniels, left at Buckland; then either straight down to Broadway and take the footpath up to the Jones St lights, or take a right at Blackfriars, take your chances across Abercrombie to the far lane, then cross Broadway and first right up Thomas Street to join Jones Street.

Follow Jones street almsot to the end, then right turn at Fig St. At the intersection with Harris St, either follow it down Murray St and up to Pyrmont Bridge, or turn left at Harris and take it down to Pyrmont Bridge Road. Turn right and you'll eventually join all the commuters coming off Anzac Bridge, and follow the soon to be completed Union Street cyclepath to Pyrmont Bridge.

According to their press release, the Central Park project on the old Carlton Brewery will contain a cycle way connecting Barbour Street to Jones St and the UTS precinct. While this is great news, it's still not clear to be how this will best connect to Wilson St. From the Sydney Uni / Sydney Council cycle map, it seems the best option will be still to take Shepherd Street, veer right at Boundary Street, cross Cleveland at the lights into Beaumont Street, then follow Myrtle Street across Abercrombie into Meagher Street, before turning left at Balfour.

If you're interested in cycling around the region, I recommend signing up for Sydney Cyclist, in particular the Inner West group. The state govenrnment is also taking feedback on cycling in Sydney until May 28th; I encourage you to have your say.

Hatches Batches and Dispatches III

The third round up of some of the comings and goings on and around King St Newtown in the last month or so ...

New Openings
  • Wine and Dine, which opened only a month ago where Mickey's was, has already closed. 
  • A new book shop Plato opened this weekend just down the road from Newtown institution Goulds.
  • Inner West Live launches. Check it out !
  • Mayor of Newtown turned one (148 in the real world, only two years until the sesquicentenary)
Development Applications


  • Midnight Thai, behind the 7-11, is closed until problems with their exhaust fan are fixed to the satisfaction of council. Their neighbours at the coffee shop are still going strong
  • Some publicity for the excellent Newtown history site
  • Popular newcomer Luxe Bakery gets named for dodgy soy milk
  • Stay tuned for some news regarding the Hub ...

Monday, April 19, 2010

One Year of the Mayor of Newtown

One year ago on April 19th the Mayor of Newtown announced his arrival in the on-line world with this post. It seems just a few weeks ago that I was marking the 6 month anniversary of the blog; indeed in terms of output the second 6 months have been a lot quieter than the first 6 months; roughly half the number of posts. That can be attributed to some pent up stories prior to launch, as well as the distractions of a Sydney summer !

The Top 5 all time posts has just one new entry since October, a post which discussed the popular proposed renovation of Newtown Hotel, hopefully bringing back the verandahs. The top 5 posts for the first year of Mayor of Newtown were:
It shows that readers share the Mayor's two main interests - urban renewal and drinking venues ! In terms of absolutes, Google Analytics tells me that the Newtown station had a total of ~ 500 unique views; and that the site overall has had 5000 'unique visitors' for a total of around 16,000 pageviews; and that a quarter of my visitors now arrive from Google (in the early days it was almost all Twitter).

A recent popular addition has been the Hatches Batches and Dispatches series; an occasional round up of new openings, closures, Development Applications and random news from Newtown. The first edition is the third most visited post of this year; happily there are two Mystery posts (one bar, one photo) in this year's top 5, and the Mystery Photos continue to be popular.

Six months ago I also kicked off the Mayor on Posterous and Facebook, to accompany the Mayor's Twitter presence that was launched simultaneously with this site. They've proved less popular - I've more or less given up on Posterous, as the gap I thought it filled possibly doesn't really exist. I might give it another go; maybe for three line reviews of new bars, restaurants and cafes. The Facebook presence has also drawn little interest - under 200 'fans' compared to the 800 Twitter followers and 6000 members of Facebook's much older I Love Newtown group.

To celebrate my birthday I got myself a present - some mini-cards from There are 5 varieties in all, all with the same obverse. I've started leaving them around the town, so keep your eyes open and let me know if you find them.

What's next ? More of the same I'd say - although, as always, I welcome your suggestions. In terms of the main interests of my readers Newtown Station, The Hub and the Tram Sheds all remain unresolved, although it looks like The Hive will become a supermarket development still hasn't started. The last year has finally seen some bars joining Madame Fling Flongs in providing an alternative to Newtown's pubs; and hopefully that trend will continue.

Thanks for your support and Happy Birthday to me !

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mystery Bar II Revealed - Bloodwood

The mystery bar series kicked off the other week with Corridor, which lasted a respectable amount of time before being identified. Mystery Bar II continued the 'door' theme of the recent mystery photos (red and farm) and asked in which fine Newtown drinking establishment the above yellow door was.

It wasn't so hard given there are still too few bars in Newtown to really challenge you, but whether it was shyness or something else, it was 10 days until LolaSkate put their name to a (correct) guess of Bloodwood - and scored the bonus point for identifying that it leads absolutely nowhere ! To be fair ShaBlair had pointed this out earlier, but only on Twitter.

Bloodwood has been the subject of a very un-Newtown like buzz since it opened a couple of months ago in the old Planetarium (fancy word for a nursery) in the up and coming South King St (SoKi) area. It has been reviewed postively in Barzine, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Restaurant Review, Time Out, and several blogs amongst others.

In my mind Bloodwood is more of a restaurant than a bar - the food is bloody good as you'd expect from ex-Claudes chefs (I'll leave reviews to the experts) and much has been made of the great design. The bar area is really just the reception at the entrance - the physical bar given to protecting the chefs and anyway the corridor is too narrow for bar stools - but at least there is the option to drink and or dine in this much welcome addition to the Newtown scene.

Out the back

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mystery Bar II - Follow the Yellow Door

The mystery bar series kicked off the other week with Corridor, which lasted a respectable amount of time before being identified. To continue in the 'door' theme of the recent mystery photos (red and farm); and certainly a little easier than they have proved to be; I present (without further ado) the second Newtown Mystery Bar - "Yellow Door".

In which fine Newtown drinking establishment is this door to be found ? And for a bonus point - where does it lead ?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hatches Batches and Dispatches II

The second round up of some of the comings and goings on and around King St Newtown in the last month or so ...

New Openings
  • Kick Lounge has opened on Erskineville Road near the still closed Imperial Hotel
  • Metrobus 30 - Newtown to Enmore, started March 28, garnering surpising support from the Mayor's followers ;)
  • Red Cross vintage boutique opened at 359 King St
  • Old Aboriginal art gallery on Mary Street is for lease

Development Applications
  • Newtown RSL to be replaced by 63 room boutique hotel
  • The Sando applies to maintain extended trading hours
God drinks here

  • Bloodwood in the SMH
  • Iiza in the Tele
  • Corridor in the SMH (cliche alert) and TimeOut
  • Soffrito in the SMH (5.4 on the Mossop cliche scale)

  • Rumour has it that Funky cafe is on the market
  • The Vanguard is for sale; with current owner John Cass looking for a new owner who will maintain the vibe
  • Mickeys (next to Daniel Motsyn) has closed and has been replaced by Wine and Dine, a slightly sterile looking cafe/bar (but welcome nevertheless !)
  • The old Allan's Cakes in Erko will re-open as a dessert bar (pending licence approval)
  • The same owner has plans for a shared plates style bar next door. Finger's crossed ! Take time to do his Erko survery

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mystery Photo X - Red Door

From the Farm Door of Mystery Photo IX, we move to a slightly scarred red door, lurking in the back streets of Newtown. Where exactly ?
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mystery Photo IX Revealed - Farm Door

Mystery Photo IX
asked where in Newtown the above 'farm door' could be found. It was a sinch for DarkStarDeity, who very quickly posted:
That's the boarded-up back door to the old stable in Crooks Lane (just off Church St), generally referred to as "The Shed" (since corrected to Shack). I was actually going to send you a photo of this building myself for one of the mystery photos as I live near it

Given that I was hoping this was a more challenging Mystery Photo I removed the comment to give others a chance at guessing the location, which no-one managed for three weeks or so until Smacky-wolf chipped in with the correct location.

Crook's Lane doesn't get mentioned in Google Maps, though from this street view you can just see the shed at the end of the lane. In the standard Newtown view, it's the elbow shaped lane in the pocket bounded by Church Street, King Street, Mechanic's Lane and Hordern Street.

Consenus is now that the Shed is actually known by its inhabitants as The Shack, but other than that, there's precious little to tell about this unusual-for-Newtown building - unless readers can provide more information

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hatches Batches and Dispatches

The Mayor's collection of comings (mostly) and goings in Newtown. The first in a possible regular series ...

New Openings
  • An Asian supermarket called Qmart across the road from the Marly
  • A highly regarded and well reviewed bar/restaurant called Bloodwood at 416 King St
  • Another highly regarded bar called Corridor, on the site of the old Sabor de Espana
  • A deli/cafe/bar called 2042 Cafe and Deli, reviewed in the SMH
  • A fancy looking Izakaya Japanese restaurant Iiza on site of the much lamented Lucky's Pizza and a less lamented Indian restaurant.
  • A fancy and tasty Mexican restaurant Izote at the far far end of Newtown (6 King St)
Upstairs at Corridor

Development Applications
  • Popular sort-of Irish pub Kelly's has applied to expand with a lounge over Janet's pies
  • Trinity Church on Erskineville Rd has applied for some internal reconfiguration and a carpark upgrade
  • Wilson Street cafe Ism (opposite Hollis Park) has applied for outdoor seating (Nimby opposition alert)

  • Rumour has it that Satellite is about to change hands, and the new owner maybe contemplating night openings
  • Popular Flower shop The Flower Room is up for sale
  • Random Thai joint (and former purveyor of Duck) Midnight Thai appears to have closed, although the coffee bar and pastry shop attached is still going strong (behind the 7-11 on Brown St)
  • Vinnies and the 7-11 are rebuilding their awnings
  • The much-loved and sadly vandalised steeple sculpture in Camperdown Park has gone AWOL
Gone ...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mystery Bar I Revealed - Corridor

The first Mystery Bar asked you to identify the bar where this cosy lounge was to be found. It was relatively quickly indentified by justiceotb as Corridor; although happily not until after a few near misses, which has encouraged me to perservere with the Mystery Bar series ! It might have been easier to pick with some wider angle pictures ...

Corridor is the second attempt at making a success of the former site of Sabor de Espana, Newtown's short lived tapas bar. Early indications are that it will be a success. A fair bit of effort has gone into the renovation, although the basic form of the site has been maintained, with a limited bar area downstairs and more seating (indoors and outdoors) upstairs.

The night the mayor visited the outside area was full while the insides remained mostly empty, but I can see the front room upstairs becoming popular as the weather cools, even if the fireplace sadly doesn't look functional.

All in all, a welcome addition to the Newtown bar scene.

Corridor, 153a King St Newtown.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mystery Photo IX - Farm Door

Hot on the heels of the revelation of the last Mystery Photo; uncovering the Festival balloon - and a new community garden - in Oxford Street, Newtown; comes this week's challenge.

Where, in very urban Newtown, is this distinctly rural looking door ?

Cycling to and from Newtown I - Going West

In the previous post; I made some general observations about the state of cycle paths in Sydney and some of the issues with the current approach to planning and building cycleways. In the next few posts I'm going to focus on current and planned cycleways in and around Newtown, starting with the route from Newtown to Stanmore and further west.

View Larger Map

The route from Newtown to Stanmore is at least fairly well marked; known as L2 in the Marrickville council labelling scheme; this path flows up Mary Street, through the park then down Albermarle Street before turning at Baltic Street, past the Scientology School then down to the Liberty Road roundabout.

Sign on the return leg at the entry to the park

The Albermarle Street leg of this route is particularly problematic; a theoretically two way road not wide enough for even a car and bike to pass; it's also crossed with stop signs every second block; with limited visibility at intersections this is not conducive to smooth or safe cycling.

The alternative Bedford Street route is more spacious and has fewer stops; however it is more trafficked; and getting to it involves negotiating King Street at the dangerous Newtown Bridge. The solution for me is to make Albermarle Street one way with contra-flows and remove parking from one side of the road. To avoid it turning into a car rat-run; the one way system should change direction half way (say at Chelmsford Street) i.e. one way west from Australia Street to Chelmsford Street then one way West from Bedford Street.

Going further west (with an ultimate destination of Homebush for example) is another story. The marked 'L2' cycle path peters out after the railway line hugging laneway parallel to Douglas St - and for good reason, as the options are not much chop. Some guides recommend a complicated set of zig-zags all the way back to Parramatta Road; twice. This would also appear to be what the OpenStreetMap path is recommending; although it's noteworthy that L5 apparently just disappears somewhere in the vicinity of the Cockatoo Hotel.

View Larger Map

More seasoned riders (such as the Mayor) bite the bullet and take their chances on the narrow and busy Trafalgar Street and Railway Parade rather than the 10 minute detour, but it's not for everyone. The Sydney University guide, reproducing the Bike It map, suggests a split between that way going east; and a slight detour via Brighton Street cycling west.

This gap in the network really needs to be addressed if the government are serious in their commuting targets; if you agree please take the time to comment on the 'Missing Links' link below !

The next post will address cycling north towards the city; in the mean time here are a few more links for you:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mystery Photo VIII Revealed - Lost Balloon

The most recent Mystery Photo asked you to identify the location of the Sydney Festival yellow balloon. It wasn't too long until 'anonymous' (please leave a name; even a made up on - it's much more fun !) picked it as the empty block of land next to the Scientology School on Oxford St Newtown.

View Larger Map

Since the photo was taken last year, the long abandoned site has undergone quite a change, and it looks like some sort of community garden is coming to life here; a quick google check reveals that's the case (via an Athena newsletter). Does anyone have any more information ?

Although the area where the ball was is still looking pretty crappy.