Genteel Kings Cross

KingsXSydney’s Kings Cross has long had a reputation as a sleazy, crime-ridden hotspot where sex, drugs and violence readily mix.

It is true that Kings Cross has more than its fair share of strip clubs, girlie bars, touts, hookers and drug dealers, but I’ve never actually felt that way about it.

I used to work in and very near the Cross for several years back in the 1970s, and, yes, there always has been a criminal element about the place.

“I’ve always thought of Kings Cross as being more bohemian than evil.”

Sure, there are some people who venture to the Cross looking for trouble; just as there are others who go simply for a good time and trouble befalls them, but, generally speaking, if you go to Kings Cross and mind your own business, no matter what that business is, you’ll be perfectly fine.

Because I used to work some odd shifts I used to wander around the Cross at all times of day and night, and I never encountered trouble. Then again, I was usually going up there either to work or to eat, so I wasn’t getting I to a situation I might have regretted later.

I recently returned to Kings Cross after an absence of a couple of decades and what really surprised by what I found there.

Sure, you still have the sex shops, girlie bars, etc along Darlinghurst Road, but duck down a side street, and you find an entirely different environment.

Most of the secondary streets are now residential, and the streets themselves are tree lined and almost glamorous.

The Wayside Chapel, a church that has always provided excellent social support for those in need, is still helping people, but I also discovered a couple of old, attractive sandstone churches hidden away which also do a good job of aiding the socially disenfranchised.

“So, with all that sin around the Cross, there are places where people in need can get both spiritual and practical help.”

Tucked away on a dead end street I discovered one of the best farmer’s markets that I have encountered anywhere. Although Kings Cross has had reputations as the purveyor of many vices it whad never, to the best of my knowledge, had a reputation for providing excellent, fresh and reasonably priced produce. Plus, I discovered two artisan butcher shops, and a fantastic fresh seafood market. What’s more, the farmer’s market was brimming with customers!

In nearby Rushcutters Bay Park health nuts were jogging, exercising, attending boot camps. This is the sort of behaviour one doesn’t expect in or near Kings Cross!

The Cross has become gentrified! Gone are the cretins to be replaced with people who have pride in the area.

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