Archive for June, 2011

Of horticulture and Hyatt

Monday, June 27th, 2011 | 5 Comments »

The majestic palm tree on the left, known simply as “La Palma,” is on Paseo de la Reforma. If you are standing in this direction, calle Rio Rhín in Colonia Cuauhtémoc is on the left, and calle Niza in the Zona Rosa on the right. Unfortunately, the stately tree — planted in 1862 — has been dwarfed by the skeleton of an ambitious project that was to be a combined hotel and condominium. Sometime after the economic crash of 2008, the Hyatt people seemed to have stopped work on the project. It has been more or less in this state for the past couple of years.

Labels: Mexico City

Do you have plans this coming Wednesday?

Sunday, June 19th, 2011 | 4 Comments »

If not, you might want to come to the Museo de la Ciudad de México (Calle Pino Suárez #30, Centro Histórico, near both the Zocalo and Pino Suárez metro stations) at 6:30 pm. First, they will screen Los ladrones viejos, an extraordinary documentary by Everardo González, which is more or less a Mexican version of Good Fellas, only it’s all too real. Afterwards, González and I will present J.M. Servín’s book D.F. confidencial, a tragicomic series of crónicas about some of the more desperate sides of Mexico City. For those who stick it out, mezcal will be served after the proceedings. That is this Wednesday, the 22nd, at 6:30 pm.

Labels: Mexico City

Garbo drank here, sort of

Monday, June 13th, 2011 | 12 Comments »

When it opened its doors in 1936, Ciro’s, the nightclub on the top floor of the luxurious Hotel Reforma, became the most fashionable spot in Mexico City. Diego Rivera painted the murals on its walls. According to a book by Armando Jiménez, one night in 1944, management received a telephone call, putatively from the Swedish Embassy, that Greta Garbo was on her way, landing in Mexico City from an Acapulco holiday, and wished to remain incognito. “Garbo” — in fact, a French model — arrived with an entourage, rented the hotel’s Presidential Suite, consumed various bottles of champagne and cognac, signed for them and disappeared without paying.

Tragedy as well as comedy occurred at the Reforma. Three years earlier, in 1941, W.J. Cash, a U.S. writer in Mexico City on a Guggenheim Fellowship, was found hanging from his necktie in the bathroom of his hotel suite. Although deemed a suicide, there is some controversy over whether or not his death was actually a murder. Cash was an active anti-Nazi — he’d written dozens of newspaper editorials against them — and at the time Mexico City was alleged to be a hotbed of Nazi spies.

The greatest tragedy is perhaps the demise of the hotel itself. Having been eclipsed by other luxury hotels along the Paseo de la Reforma, it has remained empty for decades.


Labels: Mexico City

Head’s up

Monday, June 6th, 2011 | 6 Comments »

Does this display whet your appetite? I realize the photo is small and out of focus but that’s a  chorizo lodged in the maw of the pig. The image almost makes me come around to Moses and Mohammed’s point of view. Almost.

Labels: Mexico City