Victory Street In Autumn

The Bucharest people have the right, in the beautiful autumn days – especially on Sundays – to populate Victory Street, so that between 11 and 12 the carriage traffic becomes impossible.From Capsa and up to Palace Square, especially on the pavement, there is a true itinerant exhibition of…everything you like. The ladies' outfits in the first place. Then, the ties, the American boots…and, here and there, even the worn-out elbows and the twisted heels of the capital's outskirts citizen or of the 90 lei per month clerk, who couldn't refrain from tasting the fascination of the triteness of a beautiful autumn day on Victory Street. *However, it would be unfair if I didn't acknowledge that certain Bucharest people – from those that dread triteness – do not follow the example of the crowd and instead of walking around Victory Street, take their stand at the corner of Continental Hotel, where they simply watch the passersby. Still, the inventor of this pastime, although he must have disappeared long ago, without the well-deserved halo, found so many imitators, that today, watching the crowd from around the corner of Continental Hotel is as banal as if you started from Capsa to Palace Square. Nevertheless, what a great thing is to stay motionless, without any other occupation than to watch the passersby! Known or unknown people, it's all the same. Those that pass, although they are hardly ever in a hurry, they almost always give the impression that they are, and consequently, they don't have time to shake hands – this is for escaping the banality of the Sunday walks on Victory Street.And, here you are, rid of the worry of the distressing conventional reply exchange, which can amuse you, of the remarks that you intended to make in the short while from 10 to 12. The foreigner that would see for the first time the customary people from the corner of Continental Hotel would get an idea of Bucharest as well as of the sciences study to which the psychology of the crowd belongs. Seen for the first time, the entrepreneurs of the pavement in front of the National Theatre give the impression of passionate observers, young or old teachers who compete for the solidity of the results they can obtain after two hours of voluntary stand-still. Their observations, finally coordinated, will definitely become known and those who had neither the time nor the necessary training to observe the crowd will learn, from the newly printed pages, the inexplicable mystery according to which gravitates this endless and useless passing of people, who especially are unable to find any use. The foreigner who would see them for the first time would think, I believe, the same way I was once mistaken to think. Our Bucharest people are however more pragmatic. They do not take notes. Notes are taken only by the stenographers and we must admit that the stenographers are just as banal as the illiterates. The notes would distract them from their observations. Without notes though, the observations fade away…and that's why every Sunday the same customary people from the pavement repeat the scene with adorable, cinematographic precision…


by Ion Minulescu (1881-1944)