Archive for the ‘San Telmo Translated (English)’ Category

San Telmo Translated: Integrating the old and the new to preserve a neighborhood’s identity

junio 10, 2009


A comparison between San Telmo and the community of Portobello in London

I grew up in an old market community in West London called Portobello that dates back to the early nineteenth century. On Saturdays, the market becomes a visual feast: hunks of hanging meat, boxes of fruit, piles of spices, herbs and teas, stacks of books and magazines, rails of furs, pictures and furniture, and more. On the weekends, tourists come in hordes for antiques, vintage clothes and to sample the food from the stalls. They also come for the character and the eccentricity of the place; that small town atmosphere so rare in the big city. (more…)


San Telmo Translated: Who Cares for San Telmo’s Aesthetics?

julio 17, 2008

First, let’s describe the San Telmo that existed: beautiful, intense, rich with creativity, home to hundreds of designers and artists. Even though it seems unbelievable, only three years ago San Telmo hardly resembled the Sunday anthill of people today for those who know that the neighborhood exists beyond Plaza Dorrego.
During these three years, “San Telmo ¿qué hay de nuevo?” was born, a festival of art, music and design in the Historic District, though the national media was hesitant to admit that something like this could be born in this “dangerous and dark” neighborhood.
Those were days when a few daring businesses moved in: antique shops, timid boutiques and design stores that were heckled to stay off the most exclusive street: Defensa. There were some six art galleries and 40 bars and restaurants, a few already serving the “fusion” cuisine where portions of rice were renamed “timbales.” But these initial ripples became waves. (more…)

Education and participation: An outsider’s view of the trash problem and its possible solutions

marzo 9, 2008

As the historic district becomes increasingly one of the most visible and popular areas of Buenos Aires, its equally visible garbage and deplorable public hygiene becomes a more urgent problem. Both residents and visitors alike complain about the sprawling trash piles on certain street corners and the never-ending obstacle course of excrement (human and animal) on the sidewalks, and everybody seems to agree that something needs to be done, but no one can agree on what.


The thin line: does tourism create a neighborhood or a stage set?

diciembre 3, 2007


San Telmo and the city’s historic district have their protected areas. Some are more protected than others, But protected from what? Not everyone knows, and not everything occurs in the open. There are beautiful houses, stately properties, which are secretly falling to pieces and are ripe for replacement by the next hotel or apartment complex. The new building might clash with its surroundings, and sometimes will turn out to be as distasteful as café con leche with onion.

There’s the case of the classic tenements, the conventillos, from which residents are evicted in order to transform them into tourist attractions. For a high admission, tourists, in good faith, can hear the story of what the place used to be like … “before” Many years ago? No. Perhaps only two months before, but that part of the story isn’t shared with the tourists, who look at the exhibited photographs with travelers’ smiles and leave feeling impressed. What they don’t know is that not long before, tear gas filled the same hallways with the excuse of cleaning up the neighborhood. Then again, the neighborhood looks dirtier than ever these days. (more…)

Mystic San Telmo: a brand or a neighborhood?

diciembre 3, 2007


San Telmo always amazes. One might examine the reasons for this: are they tied only to the perception of the observer or visitor, or is it a characteristic of the place itself that instills it with its particular mystique.

How is San Telmo usually described? The neighborhood is always called just that, on its own, as if it were a brand: San Telmo. But in this label an element is missing. San Telmo is the name of a space in the city that we consider a neighborhood, so it should always be referred to as the neighborhood of San Telmo. (more…)

The Fading Away of a Neighborhood: In our bilingual column, the author asks what is lost when a traditional building is demolished

noviembre 12, 2007


Circumstances, the availability of an apartment, led me to live in San Telmo. My prior Buenos Aires home was a small apartment on the edge of Once. San Telmo, specifically the edge bordering Barracas and Constitución, has been my home for more than two years. Every time that I take the bus down Bolívar, through that narrow street, I marvel at the opportunity I have to know this neighborhood, to make it part of my life. (more…)

Foreigners, locals—we must communicate!

octubre 1, 2007

I moved to San Telmo in 2005, when Argentina was still recovering from the economic crisis. At the time, San Telmo seemed like an affordable, somewhat unsafe but charming neighborhood. Now it is one of the most sought-after areas of the city for both tourists and porteños, and residents are experiencing the shocks of a major tourism boom and its quiet shadow—gentrification.

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