September 23rd, 2012

COB on Calle Florida

Posted in Latin America by Christopher Szabla

It may share a name with a certain sedated, semitropical retirement home of a state to its north, but nowhere is the raw verve of Buenos Aires more palpable than on Calle Florida. In a city of Brobdingnagian boulevards, it’s as claustrophobic as an Istanbul alley. Whereas most of Argentina’s capital is a blend of French and Spanish architectural influences, buildings in the Microcentro, the dense commercial district that the street burrows through, seem to display more than a dash of Manhattan. And then there’s the frenetic foot traffic, as close as anywhere in South America comes to Tokyo.

The pedestrian mall is thronged for most of the day by window-shoppers, street performers, and cube farmers hunting for lunch, striding past and stepping over street vendors — at least, until many were removed by the city, earlier this year — crouched on the ground, where their wares, mostly native handicrafts, are spread out, rare connections to the continent in which Buenos Aires has often been accused of acting as if it’s accidentally gone astray.

On Calle Florida, especially — in so many other ways like so many other places bundled into one — it can seem that being anywhere other than caught in the crosswinds of global commerce is just a detail to be ignored. A harried commuter, rushing home at the end of the day, might have never paused to glanced at all the unsold necklaces still laid out on the blankets that rolled, almost continuously, down the center of the street — and she might have never noticed when they were gone.


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One comment

  1. Isai Arteaga Maza says:

    Es tan desesperante cuando nos vemos obligados a circular por espacios aglomerados con sin numero de personas, que tienen como objetivo de conseguir dinero para sus necesidades mediante sus negocios, pero no solamente negocios formales si no que también informales que por ende los lleva a ocupar espacios del peatón (como se muestra en la imagen superior), sin embargo los espacios urbanos que están pensados, diseñados con una cierta intención de actividad se cambian, Por quienes? por las personas, que por consecuencia nos lleva a espacios de claustrofobias; no estoy seguro si aquellas imágenes que muestran espacios angostos con demasiadas personas y comercios sean espacios elaborados para dicho objetivo, y si es así hubiesen tenido tal perspectiva de lo que podría acontecer en el futuro.

    November 24th, 2012 at 11:19 am

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