On a recent visit back to Buenos Aires – the city home of Alvear Palace,Alvear Art, and now, the new Alvear Icon – I was reminded how much I love the vibrant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Colorful. Regal. Leafy. Gritty. And on a cool, almost-winter (June) day, with effervescent guide, Fernanda, pointing the way, we made stops in a few of my favorite Buenos Aires neighborhoods:
Recoleta – home to Alvear Palace, tree-lined, and majestic with its French-inspired architecture. Once the summer and weekend houses of the elite, Recoleta is now a neighborhood of embassies, dignitaries, seemingly endless array of dog walkers. And the resting place of Argentina’s beloved “Evita.”
San Telmo – with its courtyards, cobblestone streets and wrought-iron gates, is one of Buenos Aires’ most traditional districts. The birthplace of tango – residents still dance openly and spontaneously in the streets. Here, find the city’s most famous cookies, alfajores. And on Sundays, watch the streets close to cars, tranforming into an open-air market – of vendors selling handcrafts, artwork, street foods and beautiful pink Argentine Inca rose (gem) stones.
LaBoca – colorful, bold, vibrant. Houses here are painted in happy blues, greens, reds and pinks – a tradition left over from its ship port days, when immigrant workers, largely from Italy and Spain, pieced houses together from sheet metal, painting them with cast-away ship paint (never quite enough to cover an entire house). In the 1950s, artist Quinquela Martínwas, determined to revive the area, painted the houses in bright paint. And in time, the area was declared an ‘open-air museum’ and major tourist attraction. Worthwhile to see, I loved the street art.
And finally, Puerto Madero – on the waterfront, is now Buenos Aires’ ‘It’ place to live. Lively, young, up-and-coming, the neighborhood is also home to Alvear’s newest hotel: Alvear Icon Hotel and Residences.This now-hip section of the city, which looks more cosmopolitan than Buenos Aires’ traditional areas, sat vacant for 70 years, before slowly beginning its rebirth in 2003.