Monday, November 28, 2005

Driving Reforma

Reforma is a like Mexico Cities' answer to the Champs Elisee. That may not mean much to you if you've never been to France or Paris for that matter, but lets just say it's one of those big, grand, wide, boulevards lined with trees and statues and fountains. It is one of the focal points of DF and besides being lined with trees, it is lined with the tall and imposing towers of Mexico's banking, government, and business centers. The names are pretty well known: Citibank, Scotia Bank, Sears, Bancomer, Bankity Bank-etrade-dot Bank. I wish at times that there were some more interesting businesses on Reforma, but, well that's how it is. The street itself is pretty impressive though. There are some nice statues and it's pleasant to walk down at times as there are free art exhibitions quite often and you can always buy some chips drenched in Valentina sauce or something and there are lots of beautiful old stone benches to sit on. On either side of this street are nice neighborhoods with tree lined streets and fountains of their own, but nothing in DF compares to the grandness of Reforma. Oh, and usually it's totally clogged with cars from 5am to 11pm.

These pics were snapped while moving down a surprisingly sparse Reforma on a particularly dark and bronze-skied day. I'm not sure if it was because of air quality but the light was a little surreal so these turned out dark. That building is the largest in Latin America and called the Torre Mayor which can usually be seen from most areas in Mexico City.

Far behind the ever-present paper vendor is the famous Angel of Independence which is a nice sculpture sitting atop an unmodest tower and ringed with one of the most confusing traffic glorietas that I have ever navigated; in that the traffic moves alternately in both directions. Anyway, it's beautiful and well, old too; ancient even. I'm told that Reforma was one of the main thoroughfares or promenades in existence when the Spanish arrived in Mexico City for the first time, and knowing a little about the way the Aztecs built cities in those days, it was probably pretty "grand" then too. I'm just going to say the word, "grand" one more time. "grand". There. I said it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

clay,the paseo de la reforma was one of my haunts as the companies that brought me to the city often put me up at the sheraton maria isabela and, as you note, notwithstanding the bankityblank bancs etc, there is sculpture and history everywhere.

I am told that it became the 'champes elysee' (i have never been to paris and no not know how to spell it) be at the time of the french occupation there was some spoiled queen or princess that missed paris and so demanded that the paseo become such for the new world...she wanted to see it extend from the palace so that she could parade with society (such as it was).

there was also a great story about the statue of Dianna...apparently sculpture of the mistress of the president of the oil company that paid for the statue.

I was also told that the reason for all of the steps that lead up to the base of the statue of Maria is that in the building there were good modern footings put in place and that the pedestal was originally at nearly ground level but that the ground has slowly sunk away and additional steps have been added from time to time.