Monday, January 20, 2020

Along Reforma

Every time I am in Mexico City, I have to take at least one walk along Mexico City's most iconic boulevard, the skyscraper-lined, monument-studded Paseo de la Reforma.



The broad, tree-lined pedestrian walkways on either side of the boulevard are perfect for a leisurely stroll.



On Saturday I spent a couple hours walking along one section of Reforma from the intersection with Insurgentes Avenue to the entrance to Chapultepec Park and back. 

The first thing that I came upon was a photographic exhibit from the Chinese Culture Center.  It was there in anticipation of Chinese New Year, which, according to the sign, begins this Friday.  I must remember to go to Mexico City's Chinatown that day to see the celebrations.  This will be the Year of the Rat.  That doesn't sound very auspicious, but according to the sign the astuteness of the rat brings new energy and positive changes.





The poinsettias which had decorated the median strip of the boulevard for the Christmas season are now gone.  Workers were busy planting a plethora of gerbera daisies.








At one time Reforma went by the name of the Boulevard of Illustrious Men, because it is lined with statues of men from Mexican history.  In spite of my interest in history, I have never heard of most of them.  They include people who were insurgents fighting for Mexico's independence, men who drafted the nation's Constitution, and those who fought against the foreign invasions by the United States and France.






The pedestals of these statues have long been defaced with graffiti.  They now appear to have been scrubbed clean.  We will see how long that lasts.







For some time I have been watching this high-rise tower being built.  It is a luxury hotel of the Sofitel chain, and it is now open.




At one time Reforma was lined with elegant mansions.  Very few of them remain, and I suppose that the few that still exist now have protected historic status.  Thus, when Sofitel built on this property, they had to incorporate the old mansion's façade into its design.




Next door to the Sofitel is the U.S. Embassy.  An ugly barricade stands in front of it, and the green space behind it is an overgrown jungle.  It's an eyesore that does not speak well of the U.S.





Work continues on a restoration project of the city's most beloved monument, the Independence Monument (usually referred to as "El Angel").



As I mentioned on my last trip, during a women's march last year, some radical protesters defaced the monument with graffiti.  So it was decided to proceed ahead of schedule with a project to spruce up the landmark.


This old mansion is standing abandoned.  It would not surprise me if in the future a new skyscraper is built on this property incorporating the house as its ground floor.

  

Nearby, this elegant residence is now a restaurant with a sidewalk café.









This movie theater, Cine Diana, has been around for as long as I can remember (and I have been coming to Mexico since the 70s).  It is now a part of the Cinépolis chain.


There are a number of movies listed on the marquee that I would like to see... "Un Buen Día en el Vecindario" (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), "Una Guerra Brillante" (The Current War), and, coming soon, "Mujercitas" (Little Women).   The large banner advertises the 17th International Festival of Jewish Cinema.  In the background the Torre Diana glistens in the sun.

Coming to where Reforma passes the entrance to Chapultepec Park, the new skyscraper, Chapultepec Uno, is very close to completion but still not open.  I saw a number of construction workers in hardhats at the entrance.


The building is 58 stories high and is Mexico City's third highest skyscraper.  Part of the structure will house a Ritz Carlton Hotel.

On another day I will have to take a walk along a different section of Reforma.



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