Alameda facelift

For nearly all of 2012, the Alameda Central was closed for renovation. I was worried about what might happen to Mexico City’s oldest park, which goes back about 400 years. Things don’t tend to get better when they are supposedly “fixed” by governments.

It took me a few months to get there — it was reopened at the end of last year. But I think they did a terrific job. The passageways were repaved with white marble.

The fountains and the statuary were all given a shine and a polish, and there is more greenery than ever, including these lavender bushes, which I understand are easy to maintain.

I went on a Sunday. Before the renovation, las muchachas — young women who work as housemaids, most of whom come to the city from the provinces — would dress up and congregate en masse at the Alameda on Sundays, their day off. They would be courted by their male counterparts — construction workers, shoe shine boys, grease monkeys — similarly spiffed up for the day.

None of these people were there on the Sunday I visited. It was all middle class families. Ever since I have been haunted by the question: What happened to the muchachas?


6 thoughts on “Alameda facelift

  1. Randy Bolander - September 3, 2013

    Yeah, good question. Seems likely they moved on to another park. Chapultepec Park?

  2. Richard Grabman - September 3, 2013

    A return to the Porfiriate, when police were assigned to keep out “undesirables”… meaning anyone not of the bourgeois.

  3. Paul Coleman - September 3, 2013

    I remember in the early 1990s when Alameda was a scary place, populated at night by hustlers, thieves, drug dealers, and danger seekers. It was patrolled at that time, as was Parque Mexico, by gray uniformed federal police. What a difference now, and actually almost all of renovated el centro.

  4. Judy - September 4, 2013

    Mexicans have been known to desperately search for available muchachas on facebook. I’ve seen the cries for help.

  5. Cardie - September 5, 2013

    I was pleasantly surprised when there in April and discovered the rehab of this park. I never lingered there before because of the possible danger. The plantings were great and I hope they thrive in all the shade. Much better to have a park where everyone can go…not just the underbelly. Marble walks no less!

  6. C.M. Mayo - September 9, 2013

    ¡Muy 2013!

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