Monday, July 03, 2017

A Neighborhood Dressed in Blue

A Neighborhood Dressed in Blue / Rebeca Monzo

At the time of the "accident" in 1959, Nuevo Vedado was the latest
Havana neighborhood to be developed. Its residents included
professionals and famous artists from radio and television. It was an
elegant neighborhood, with any number of homes — primarily one or
two-story single-family residences — noted for their striking
architectural designs, many of which had garnered national and
international awards.

Its principal artery, 26th Avenue, was lined with red and yellow acacias
(now almost non-existent) and beds of pink and white oleanders, which
gave the neighborhood an indescribable beauty. The properties there, now
encircled by high fences and imposing ramparts, were demarcated only by
perimeter walls not much higher than a foot and a half or borders of
small shrubs.

These days the neighborhood is festooned in blue, the color of signs
advertising hard currency rental properties. The houses' current owners,
mostly university professors who cannot live on their poverty-level
wages and retirees, have resorted to renting out rooms in their homes
and apartments.

Nuevo Vedado is home to one of the tourist market's main transit hubs:
Viazul station, whose buses leave daily for Viñales, Varadero, Trinidad,
Sancti Spiritus and Cienfuegos. Due to limited parking available for
buses in the area, the station cannot meet the high demand, so it is
surrounded by private taxis, which offer the same ride for only 5.00 CUC
more than the buses with the added advantage that tourists can be picked
up at their respective lodgings.

Among the other big tourist attractions are the city's zoo, Metropolitan
Park (Bosque de la Havana), Civic Plaza (now Revolution Plaza), the
National Theater, the Colón Cemetery and the newly famous Art Factory
(formerly El Cocinero cooking oil factory), the "coolest" place in the
city, where famous figures from the worlds of art and culture can
regularly be seen.

In addition to all these attractions, we are surrounded by wonderful
restaurants, bars and cafes with various options and prices points for
every wallet. The result is a better quality of life for the area's
residents thanks to the increased and ongoing influx of tourists.

Rebeca Monzo, 31 March 2017

Source: A Neighborhood Dressed in Blue / Rebeca Monzo – Translating Cuba

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