Reykjavík to Erect a Ferris Wheel

Ferris wheel on Miðbakki

Reykjavík authorities are looking for a partner to operate a Ferris wheel at the Miðbakki wharf in the capital city’s downtown area. The partner will carry the costs of erecting and running the Ferris wheel business, while the city provides the plot of land for a set period of time, according to Reykjavík city’s ad post.

A summertime activity

The Ferris wheel would be operated over the summertime, from May through September, and would be “an exciting addition to the diverse city life” as stated in the post. The wheel can at most be 30 metres in height, due to its proposed location being in the vicinity of Reykjavík airport. The land available for the project is 725 square metres and should accommodate a 20 metre long carriage for the Ferris wheel.

Miðbakki developments

The area has seen major renovations over the last decades, with Harpa concert hall as the most notable addition, along with new commercial and residential properties. Aspiring Ferris wheel operators have until March 22 to submit their proposals, which must include specifications on the wheel’s ability to withstand Icelandic conditions, including necessary wind and earthquake resistance.

Power Outage in Downtown Reykjavík

power outage downtown reykjavík

Parts of downtown Reykjavík were without power this morning due to a high-voltage failure.

According to utility company Veitur, work began on the power outage around 9:10 this morning. The outage is reported to have occurred around 8:00.

Some downtown businesses were affected, needing to open later because of the outages.

Veitur states that as of 10:05, power has been restored in all areas of downtown Reykjavík.

10-11 Sign Too Big, Rules City Planning Office

10-11 reykjavík

The City Planning Office of Reykjavík has ruled against the new sign at the 10-11 convenience store’s location at Austurstræti 17.

The new sign in question was deemed to be larger than guidelines allow, in addition to not taking its surroundings into consideration and being a “nuisance” to neighbouring establishments. Several complaints are also stated to have been lodged against the sign.

10-11 reykjavík
The previous sign on Austurstræti – Facebook

The convenience store had a large sign for some years, but it came out in a report on the matter that 10-11 had never applied for the appropriate permit at the time. Now, in the matter of the new LED sign, 10-11 was found to also have neglected the proper application channels.

According to the City Planning Office, signs in downtown Reykjavík should generally consist of single letters, their size limited to four square metres. The new sign, at 32 square metres, far exceeds these regulations.

Guidelines also recommend that signs in this area of downtown “take into account the proportions, look, and feel of the area.”

The City Planning Office of Reykjavík’s decision on the matter can be read here.

 

Masked Man Carrying Fake Firearm Raises Alarm Downtown

Reykjavík pond downtown

Police were dispatched to the Vesturbær neighborhood on the west side of Reykjavík in the early hours of Sunday morning after receiving reports of a masked man carrying a firearm, RÚV reports. Thankfully, the matter was resolved quickly and the weapon in question turned out to be an imitation.

According to police reports, officers, including members of the police’s armed division, were sent to the area to locate the man and ensure public safety at the time the report was made. Eye witnesses reported the presence of six police cars, including two special forces vehicles, blocking routes into the city centre.

See Also: Heightened Police Presence in Reykjavík This Weekend

Just after 1:00 am, a car was stopped in Vesturbær, and a fake firearm was confiscated from its occupant, who was taken into custody.

At time of writing, police were unable to confirm if the man was intending to present the fake firearm as a real weapon. The case will be reviewed over the weekend and state prosecutors will decide how to proceed.

Twenty-Four People Connected to Downtown Knife Attack Released from Custody

police station Hlemmur

Police have released twenty-four people who were being held in connection with the knife attack in downtown Reykjavík last weekend, RÚV reports. Six individuals remain in custody.

A knife attack at the Bankastræti Club nightclub in Reykjavík last weekend left three young men hospitalised, following which, there was a spate of retaliatory crime against the suspects’ families. Petrol bombs were thrown into family members’ homes, windows were broken, and the suspects’ families were also subjected to harassment. Three people have now been arrested for throwing the petrol and smoke bombs.

See Also: Heightened Police Presence in Reykjavík This Weekend

DS Margeir Sveinsson noted that despite the fact that police have released two dozen people connected with the incident, these individuals are still legally considered defendants in the case. “But there’s no need or reason to keep them in custody any longer,” he said. “We’ve managed to determine what happened there and what everyone’s part was. Next step is to process all the data we have, that is, phone data etc. to get a handle on the lead-up [to the event]. But we don’t need to keep people in jail to do that.”

There was initially some fear that the wave of retaliatory crimes would continue, but there was no additional incident on Thursday night, which Margeir said he hoped was a good sign.

“Let’s hope that people will come to their senses and quit this nonsense and that things will calm down a bit.”

Heightened Police Presence in Reykjavík This Weekend

police lögreglan

Partygoers in downtown Reykjavík this weekend can expect an increased presence among police authorities. The Capital Area’s Assistant Chief of Police has told RÚV that the police will “be ready” in the event of retaliatory violence following last weekend’s knife attack.

Spate of violence

Following mass arrests in wake of a knife attack at the Bankastræti Club nightclub in Reykjavík last weekend, which left three young men hospitalised, petrol bombs were thrown into houses, windows broken, and the suspects’ families were subjected to harassment. There were also posts on social media, encouraging retaliation for the attacks. The American and British embassies in Iceland subsequently issued travel advisories to tourists, warning them to avoid large crowds downtown this weekend.

Addressing these issues on the radio programme Morgunútvarpið this morning, Ásgeir Þór Ásgeirsson, Assistant Chief of Police for the Capital Area Police, stated that the police would command a much greater presence in downtown Reykjavík this weekend, in the event that further acts of violence were to be perpetrated.

“As far as we’ve gathered, there were, and are, threats of violence this weekend – and the operations of certain Reykjavík restaurants are expected to be disturbed,” Ásgeir stated. “We’re going to protect our city this weekend – as we’ve always done.”

When asked if individuals connected to the gang violence last weekend were expected to perpetrate further violence, Ásgeir replied that he hoped not. “But law enforcement isn’t predicated on hope. We have to be ready when we say that we’ll be ready and we’ll be ready this weekend.”

Ásgeir was unwilling to offer details on the exact meaning of “an increased presence” among police authorities but stated that they would mobilise more equipment and more officers capable of handling “difficult assignments.” This heightened police presence would not be lost on anyone.

“It’s absolutely clear that the people will feel our presence. We hope that the people involved in these altercations have come to their senses and won’t be dragging their disputes to downtown Reykjavík. I think that that’s something all of us, collectively, have been aiming towards,” Ásgeir stated.

Reykjavík City Announces Expansion of Paid Parking Zones

architecture downtown Reykjavík houses square

Changes will soon be made to paid parking zones in Reykjavík, the City announced yesterday. A recent tally indicates that parking spaces just outside paid-parking zones are heavily used.

Heavy use of spaces just outside paid parking zones

Yesterday, the City announced that it will be expanding paid parking zones in Reykjavík. According to a press release, a recent tally has indicated that spaces just beyond paid parking zones are heavily used. This gives “occasion to expand paid-parking zones in specific areas” and in accordance with regulations. The expansion will mainly apply to Zone 2 parking spaces but also to Zone 1 and 3.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the City’s Environment and Planning Branch (Umhverfis- og skipulagsráð) approved a proposal, which has subsequently been referred to City Council. The proposal has also been put to the capital area police where it met with approval. The proposal will, however, not come into effect prior to approval and publication by City Council. Appropriate signage and metres must also be installed within new paid-parking zones.

The following parking zones will be expanded:

  • Parking Zone 1
    • Grettisgata between Rauðarárstígur and Snorrabraut
  • Parking Zone 2
    • Hrannarstígur
    • Öldugata, Bárugata, Ránargata, and Vesturgata (between Ægisgata and Stýrimannastígur
    • Stýrimannastígur
    • Blómvallagata
    • Ásvallagata and Sólvallagata (east of Hofsvallagata)
    • Hávallagata (between Hofsvallagata and Blómvallagata)
    • Tjarnargata (from no. 33 to Hringbraut)
    • Bjarkargata
    • Baldursgata (between Freyjugata and Skólavörðustígur)
    • Lokastígur and Þórsgata up to Skólavörðustígur
    • The area between Laugavegur, Rauðarárstígur and Bríetartún
  • Parking Zone 3
    • Baldursgata and Bragagata (from Nönnugata to Freyjugata)
    • Freyjugata (from Baldursgata to Njarðargata)

As noted by the press release, residents within paid parking zones can apply for residential cards. Conditions being met, holders of residential cards are allowed to park within applicable parking zones for free.

New Designer Shopping and Dining Centre Hafnartorg Gallery to Open Downtown

Downtown is about to get another designer facelift. Vísir reports that 11 new shops and restaurants, all of which will be housed in the newly anointed Hafnartorg Gallery, are expected to open in the next five weeks. The gallery is located between Arnarhóll and the Kolapórtið flea market and its opening signals the long-awaited conclusion to more than decade’s worth of development between the Harpa Concert Hall and Lækjartorg.

See Also: Sizeable Hotel Rises Beside Harpa

Downtown Reykjavík has been under near-constant construction since ground was first broken on Harpa in 2007. (After the Icelandic economy collapsed in 2008, construction halted on Harpa—and in Iceland in general—until the government decided to step in and fund the building’s completion, making it the only active construction project in Iceland for several years following the crash.) In recent years, this harbourside district has added high-end apartment buildings, a luxury hotel, a pedestrian mall, and a variety of shops. And the end is finally in sight: after Hafnartorg Gallery opens, Landsbankinn’s new building is the area’s last major construction project. It’s set to be completed by the end of the year. 

See Also: Iceland University of the Arts to Receive Permanent Home

Finnur Bogi Hannesson, who works for the real estate firm Reginn and acts as Hafnartorg’s development manager, says the all-indoor gallery will be easily accessible in inclement weather from the 1,100-car underground garage, and will also have entrances on several surrounding streets. He says that most of the restaurants are on pace to open slightly ahead of the stores, but the goal is for everything to open by early July.

The gallery will house the largest 66° North in Iceland, as well as the country’s first North Face location, the lifestyle store Casa, an 80-seat fine dining restaurant focused on contemporary Franco-Italian cooking, and seven smaller restaurants catering to a range of tastes. In the end, Hafartorg will be home to a total of 30 shops and restaurants.

“The story continues:” Historic Iðnó Reopens Tomorrow

Iðnó Iceland Airwaves 2019

One of Reykjavík’s most historic buildings, theatre and event space Iðnó, will reopen tomorrow, putting an end to a closure that lasted nearly one and a half years. The venue’s new managers promise it will stay open from morning till night and welcome locals and visitors of all ages. The venue was forced to close in May 2020, around two months after the COVID-19 pandemic reached Iceland.

Iðnó reopens with a bang tomorrow, September 18, offering a full program of children’s events during the afternoon and live music in the evening. Iðnó (or Iðnaðarmannahúsið as it is rarely called), was built in 1896 and was first home to the Reykjavík Theatre Company, one of the country’s oldest cultural organisations still in operation. The building has been a hub of cultural activities for decades and has housed many a historic event, including a party for Christian X, King of Denmark, when he visited Iceland in 1921.

The venue’s new management has freshened up the building, including removing carpets to reveal original flooring and putting on a fresh coat of paint. Guðfinnur Karlsson of Prikið, Iðnó’s head manager, told Vísir the venue’s doors will be open to all. “It’s not just for members of Parliament. This is the house of the people, and never more so than now.”

Northern Lights Run in Downtown Reykjavík Tonight

The Northern Lights ‘fun run’ (or walk) will take place in Reykjavík tonight, Saturday, February 8. Starting at 7pm, brightly clad participants will set out from the Reykjavík Art Museum on a 5 km trot through downtown, which will be illuminated for the occasion. Runners will all get their very own light-up gear as well, making them “part of the entire show from start to finish.”

The Northern Lights Run is part of the Reykjavík Winter Lights Festival, which has been part of the city’s event calendar for the last 18 years. Billed as an event dedicated to “feeling healthy, having fun, and spending an amazing night out with friends and/or family,” the run isn’t timed but is expected to take anywhere between 20 and 70 minutes.

The course runs past Harpa, through Hallgrímskirkja, past Hljómskálinn by Tjörnin pond, through City Hall, and ends back at the Reykjavík Art Museum on Tryggvagata. DJs will be set up at “fun stations” along the route and there will be a dance party at the art museum at the end of the event. The route will be closed to traffic throughout the event.

All participants must register for the event and are reminded to dress for the weather in bright, reflective colours so that they can easily be seen in the dark. Runners and walkers may not bring their dogs, but prams and strollers are acceptable, as long as they are fitted with reflectors or lights. Walkers are asked to stay to the right so that people moving faster can pass on the left.

Find more information on the Northern Lights Run website, here.