Paint By Numbers 4

2006.Apr.14 Friday · 0 comments

in Life

Buenos Aires – It’s been awhile since I worked on my Paint By Numbers project – exploring the different date numbered streets of Buenos Aires as a way of seeing new neighborhoods (search on Paint By Numbers for the others). I was headed out towards the Villa Urquiza neighborhood to check out a restaurant I’d heard about – more later – and enroute stopped off in the barrio of Chacarita. That resulted in two posts, this and a soon to be written one on the Chacarita cemetery. The street that got the honors yesterday, 14 de Julio. Now, for me, the first thing that date brings to mind is Bastille Day, but I’m guessing that’s not the reason it’s being honored with an 18 block long street here – off the beaten path as it is. In 1999, Argentina and the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands ended a 17 year stand off and resumed air travel, but that seems to recent. In 1947 Eva Peron appeared on the cover of Time magazine, that doesn’t seem worthy of a street. In 1863 the first major train line, Ferrocarril del Norte, was inaugurated through the city, but why note that with a street? Quite simply, I have no idea. Maybe it is indeed one of the four dates above.

The angled street basically forms the southern and eastern borders of barrio Villa Ortuzar with, successively, Chacarita, Collegiales, and finally Belgrano. All in about 18 blocks. The first six blocks of 14 de Julio are relatively uninteresting for the wanderer. They run along the train tracks that run along one side of the Chacarita cemetery. So to one side all that is visible are train tracks with a high concrete wall – to the other a six block stretch of mostly small warehouses, auto repair garages, and a few small homes. It’s a tree-lined street, relatively well maintained. But truly, the most interesting thing I spotted other than the occasional person out walking, was the pedestrian crossing over the tracks.

300 block of 14 de Julio - pedestrian crossing600 block of 14 de julio

Once you cross the main avenue of Triunvarato, the entire character of the street changes. Small, charming, single family homes, both row house type and a few detached type, are well kept, painted in a variety of pastel colors – green, pink, blue, yellow. There’s not a lot of older architecture evident, either this neighborhood is relatively new, i.e., within the last 50 years or so, or it’s just been renovated and a lot of the old architectural flourishes were removed. As the street goes on, and you reach the part that borders on Belgrano, the homes become larger and larger, and quite elegant. This western stretch of Belgrano has some of the nicest streets and homes in all of Buenos Aires, and is worth a wander in and of itself.

1200 block of 14 de Julio - small 1 family homeThe last home at the end of 14 de Julio

Plaza 25 de AgostoOne plus, shortly after starting down this stretch, I discovered this small park – Plaza 25 de Agosto – so although it wasn’t on my list to check out, I got to add another date to my list of those explored. I’m guessing that it’s in commemoration of the day that the Argentinian legislature created what are known as the Laws of August 25th – consisting of three parts, the Ley de Unión which turned the loosely knit provinces of Argentina into an official union; the Ley de Independecia which annulled an agreement with Portugal and Brasil for some sort of incorporation; and the Ley de Pabellón which created the official flag of Argentina as it exists now.

Plaza Antonio MalaviaAlong the way I took a couple of side wanders to look at the neighborhood. In doing so, I stumbled across Plaza Antonio Malavia – a sort of basic neighborhood park, interesting in that one whole side of it forms the back end of a strip of row houses – so a look at the back side of homes that usually one can only see the facade of. Once again, I have no idea whom Antonio Malavia was, and an internet search revealed nothing. Perhaps one of my regular readers can help out?

Chorroarin 1002I also came across this completely incongruous blue curved glass modern structure. No signs on any of its four sides indicated what it was. That address comes back to the new offices of Vital supermarkets. Much nicer than their supermarkets. Maybe they should spend some of that money on fixing up the places where people shop…

My wander complete, at least for the moment, I headed off to a bit of lunch… to be continued.


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