Play of the day

Oh dearest readers (dwindling in number though you may be, just as the time I have remaining in this fine city), I have for you a set of photos from both outside and within my favorite building in Buenos Aires. It is an old Art Nouveau structure on Avenida Rivadavia. A friend of mine used to work on the second floor and offered me a little tour yesterday before he gives up his keys to the joint for good.

He claims the place is haunted (not to worry, he also says the ghosts are quite friendly). Ghost stories abound in this city. Myths and legends of all sorts, really. And you can see why in buildings like this. These incredible structures, built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (often, as with this office, modeled after the European architecture that was popular at the time) are more concentrated in San Telmo, Recoleta and Barrio Norte, but they pepper the streets of all the central neighborhoods. This building is in Congreso, just a few blocks down from the plaza.

These buildings are set apart from their European counterparts both by their relative disrepair–with a series of political and economic crises following their construction many suffered stretches with no one to care for them–and by their context within the surrounding architecture. Often they sit next to brutal, barren high rises, or share walls with cheaply-constructed apartment buildings.

They have been among my favorite things the city offers to those who traverse it. Little sparkling treasures that pop up in the oddest of places to stop you in your pedestrian tracks.

If I were a ghost, I’d haunt these places too.

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