Monday, February 3, 2020

More Along Reforma

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a stroll I took down the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City's most famous boulevard.  I walked from the intersection of Reforma and Insurgentes Avenue southwest toward the entrance to Chapultepec Park.  On Friday I took another walk along Reforma, starting once again by Insurgentes but heading in the opposite direction to the northeast.

Near the intersection is one of the many monuments that stud the boulevard.  The Monument to Cuauhtémoc, the last of the Aztec emperors, has long been covered with political graffiti.  Recently the monument was scrubbed clean, and only the slightest trace of the spray-painted slogans can be detected.

For the time being at least the graffiti sloganeers have been content with spray-painting their messages on the sidewalk around the monument.

Standing on the steps of the monument I could look down the boulevard toward Chapultepec Park.

There was a brisk breeze blowing that day, and the air was clear of pollution.  Can you see the golden winged figure of the Independence Monument far down the boulevard (just above the tall palm tree)?  And can you see the outline of the mountain far in the distance? 

Looking from the monument in the opposite direction, the direction in which I am headed.
Notice the double-decker buses of the Metrobus route that runs down Reforma.

Across the street from the Cuauhtémoc Monument are the relatively new headquarters of the Senate of Mexico.

In front of the Senate building is this statue of Louis Pasteur.  It was given to the city as a gift from the French community in 1910 on the centennial of Mexico's independence.

Heading up Reforma we can see ahead a traffic circle with another monument.  This one is the Monument to Christopher Columbus.

The Columbus Monument was also marred with graffiti, but it has also been scrubbed clean... scrubbed so hard that it looks as if the stone pedestal has been eroded.

Near the monument is a construction site where the Torre Reforma Colón will be built.  It will be 70 stories tall and will be the tallest building in Mexico and in all of Spanish America.
Peeking through a gap in the barrier around the site, I don't think that they are going to make the projected completion date of 2020.

The Hotel Imperial is an example of the elegant architecture that lined the boulevard in the early part of the 20th century.

It stands in contrast with the modern architecture all around it.

Not everything along Reforma is elegant or modern.  There are a number of buildings that were damaged in the 2017 earthquake and which are standing abandoned and covered with graffiti.

Someone wrote on the sidewalk "Se va a caer" (it's going to fall), and I thought when I saw that, "Just so it doesn't fall on me."

Now we come to a busy area where several avenues, including Juárez, Bucareli and the Avenue of the Republic intersect Reforma.  In the middle of this intersection the equestrian statue of King Carlos IV of Spain (commonly referred to as "El Caballito" - "the Little Horse") use to stand.  In 1979 the statue was moved to the Plaza Tolsá in the Historic Center.

The fountain is where the statue used to be.  The office building in the background is called the Torre Prisma.

On another corner of this intersection is a federal office building named "Torre Caballito" and an abstract statue recalling the equestrian statue that use to stand nearby for many years.

On another corner stands one of Mexico City's oldest skyscrapers and one of its finest examples of art deco architecture, the National Lottery Building,

This building was inaugurated in 1946 and was, for a short time, the tallest building in the city.  The drawings for the national lottery are held here.

Over the entrance is a metal globe representing the hopper from which the winning numbers are drawn.

To the side of the building is a statue of the Roman goddess Fortuna with coins spilling out from her cornucopia.

To the other side of the building is a contemporary statue by Rodrigo de la Sierra honoring the "niños gritones"... the uniformed children who call out the winning lottery numbers.

The building suffered some minor damage which is still evident in the 2017 earthquake.

In front of the Lottery Building there are a couple of stands selling (what else?) lottery tickets.

From the Lottery Building I could look down Avenida de la República to the Revolution Monument.

Heading further up Reforma, the next major landmark is the 18th century Church of San Hipólito.  Although the church is dedicated to St. Hipólito, it is the center for the veneration of St. Judás Tadeo (St. Jude, the patron of lost causes).  St. Jude is a favorite not only among the poor, but also among criminals and narcos.  

By the church there are stalls selling religious objects related to St. Jude, including large statues of the saint which I have seen people carrying to the church to be blessed.

Beyond the church the neighborhood along Reforma changes character very quickly.  No longer lined with modern skyscrapers, the boulevard now passes through a seedy neighborhood.  

I had never walked along this portion of Reforma.  I continued a little way, but not very far because I knew that the boulevard eventually goes through the notorious neighborhood of Tepito.

I reached another monument set in a traffic circle in the middle of the street.  This one honors the South American independence hero, Simón Bolívar.  The monument is not well maintained, and, like the neighborhood in which is situated, looks rather sad.

I decided that it was time to head back toward the "nice" section of Reforma.

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