For 80 years Bæjarins Beztu–probably the world’s most famous hot dog stand–has stood in the same spot on the corner of Tryggvagata and Póstshússtræti in the Reykjavík city centre, but now for the first time in its history it has been moved.
It had kept its location through WWII, the Cold War, the 2008 financial crisis, prog rock and the cancellation of the Austrian police dog drama Kommissar Rex (seriously someone bring back “Lögregluhundurinn Rex”). But it was no match for the most destructive force of all–gentrification. The construction of a massive hotel/apartment/retail complex across the street has meant that a new power relay station needs to be constructed next to the stand.
The city centre has rapidly been changing from the charming, low-cost slum it used to be, into a tourist oriented theme park. Less locals on ice, more dancing on ice. The good news though, are that this is only temporary and the stand was just moved across the street.
“We hope to be back at our normal location before Christmas,” Guðrún Kristmundsdóttir, the daughter of the owner, told mbl.is.
But this just doesn’t feel right. The Bæjarins Beztu stand predates Hallgrímskirkja by eight years and is one of the last landmarks of a society that no longer exists– the old, isolated Iceland where beer was illegal, people thought Oslo was exotic and everyone was always bored. These things aren’t great–they are nostalgia–but isn’t there value to some things staying the same?