In these 2004 photos newly recovered from the Monkey’s vault, el Mono visits the atmospheric area of La Boca and admires the splendor of the Aguas Argentinas building. Yet more evidence that Buenos Aires is one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
For a relatively short street, Caminito (little street) is rather world-renowned. The street’s colorful buildings provide a frame for the equally colorful cast of characters that prowl Caminito, from artists and street performers to pickpockets and bemused locals. Caminito is the heart of one of Buenos Aires’ most non-pareil barrios, La Boca.
Here, the Monkey rests in a lovely red window, watching a sleepy moment on Caminito.
If Caminito is La Boca’s most famous street, La Bombonera is the barrio’s best known building. The stadium dates from the 1930s and is home to Argentina’s most famous football club, Boca Juniors. It is said that Boca’s fan base constitutes “la mitad más uno”—half the population plus one—and the Monkey isn’t going to argue. How many sides can boast a footballing deity like Diego Maradona in their club lore?
The stadium’s name translates to the “chocolate box” —a reference to the vertiginous stands that pack the club faithful in every other weekend. Here, the Monkey enters the blue and gold zone around La Bombonera, unfortunately not on match day.
La Boca is intrinsically tied to the narrow Riachuelo waterway which connects the district to the River Plate and the open waters of the Atlantic. The pair of bridges behind the Monkey here span the Riachuelo, connecting La Boca and the other central districts with the southeastern municipality of Avellaneda. That district and these bridges all share the name of one of Argentina’s former presidents, Nicolás Avellaneda. The bridge in the foreground dates from 1908, and is no longer in use, although it may be preserved as a historic monument. The span in the background was opened in 1940, and is very much a busy thoroughfare connecting the city with its conurbations and areas further afield. This is one of the classic views of La Boca.
This photo isn’t from La Boca, but it is one of the Monkey’s very favorite buildings in Buenos Aires. Built in the late 19th Century following a series of cholera and yellow fever outbreaks, the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes served as a water-holding facility for the national water company. This photo barely shows the scale of the structure, which takes up the area of an entire Buenos Aires block and exudes a certain semi-tropical charm.
The building’s architecture is eclectic and difficult to describe: part Italianate and part Second French Empire, this public utility palace also features intricate ceramic tilework and exterior bands that resemble leather. That a utilitarian structure received such lavish decorative attention does provide insights into the aspirations of Argentina’s late 19th and early 20th Century leaders. Shortly after the national water company, Obras Sanitarios de la Nación, was privatized in the 1990s, the structure was converted to a museum. It is also a protected historic monument.
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