Buenos Aires – January 2020 – Palacio Barolo

The Palacio Barolo is actually a misnomer, it is not a palace in the sense of the others in the city, it is an office building.

Not just any office building, the structure was built in reference to the Divine Comedy by Dante. The building is 100 meters high, one for each canto.




Our tour guide Isabella was helpful in provided many of the design details of the building.




The building’s 22 floors are divided into three sections. The basement and ground floor are ‘hell’, floors 1-14 are ‘purgatory’, and finally 15-22 are ‘heaven’.





It is truly a unique design throughout.





















In addition there is a plethora of representation throughout the building, such as the letter A in the Ascensor (elevator) being the Mason’s symbol.

































There are great views of Buenos Aires from the upper floors.

























The Palacio Barolo – one unique building.











Colonia, Uruguay – January 2020 – A Historic Town

The town of Colonia del Sacramento was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese in what was then a southern territory of Brazil. Over the next 140 years it changed hands numerous times between the Portuguese and the Spanish, always remaining an important port.










The historic district is designated by UNESCO as a World Site. Many of the cobblestone streets date from the 17th an 18th century.

The buildings, while not as old, are still very historic.




















The Basilica dates from the early 1800s.





Nearby are the foundations of the buildings from the 1600s.





After visiting the church we continued our tour of the old town.













The lighthouse is situated next to a 17th century convent remains.











































Portions of the original city wall remain, having been restored.





We ended our walk around town crossing through the gate that lead originally to a drawbridge.






Buenos Aires – December 2019 – Barracas Barrio

While we had a fail on Saturday with a tour of San Telmo, our day Sunday turned out much better with a tour along with Silvia from Buenos Aires Eclectic of the Barracas Barrio.




We started out at La Casa De Los Leones, the House of the Lions. Home to Eustoquio Diaz Velez, who was a rich land owner in the 1800s. Legend has it that Diaz Velez kept lions on the property, and one night one escaped and killed a boyfriend of one of his daughters.




Across the street is the historic house Ingles Montes.




Many of the buildings along the street have great detail.







Dating from the late 1800s the Santa Lucia Church graces the street amongst the 15 floor apartment buildings.




The area has gone through some gentrification, with these 30 floor apartment buildings standing along side 1800s buildings.




A Buenos Aires staple, the Aguila Chocolate factory was a major neighborhood employer. The company still exists, but the iconic factory is now a grocery store.




As with most Buenos Aires neighborhoods, there is some interesting graffiti.




Lanin Street is so cool I have dedicated an entire posting to it – following this posting.




Plaza Colombia has this great sculpture and flagpole.




While nearby is the spectacular Santa Felicitas Church. Built in German Gothic style it is one of, if not the only, example of this style in the world.




The courtyards are elegant.







The basement has what is known as the Tunnel Museum, with the history of the church and the neighborhood.




They had a collection of nun wardrobes!







Much of the museum was dedicated to the immigrant community.







A local cooking legend, Dona Petrona, was also featured.




The upper level had a nave, but is no longer used as a church – it now serves as a community center.




Many thanks to Silvia for an informative and entertaining tour.






Buenos Aires – November 2019 – Open House goes South

Out of sheer good luck we happen to be in Buenos Aires for their Open House. Their motto is 1 City, 2 Days, 140 Buildings and 760 Volunteers.




Without much notice I missed the sign up period for many of the more popular buildings, but we were still able to see some interesting examples of BsAs architecture.

Our first stop was the Casal de Catalunya. Built in the Barcelona style, the building dates from 1886. It has been home of the Catalan community in Buenos Aires for 130+ years.













Another building from the 1880s is Casa Bolivar. It is designed in a ‘Casa Chorizo (Sausage) style, so named as there are numerous small wings connected through a common hallway, much like links of sausage hanging in the butcher shop.

Casa Bolivar is in San Telmo, which was the main immigrant neighborhood for 100 years. These type of houses served as the first home for hundreds of thousands of immigrants – now it has been refurbished into an art studio and AirBnB.












The Instituto Superior Octobre is located amongst a number of 100 year old buildings, and from the outside fits in perfectly.

Inside is a completely different look – With the openness of the center court, and the steel and glass throughout, it is thoroughly modern.










The Teatro (Theater) Gran Rex is located along the main theater street in the city – Corrientes. It is modeled after Radio City Music Hall. I am unable to identify the statue in the lobby but for now we will call him the Argentina Dean Martin.




As noted previously it was designed to be similar to Radio City Music Hall with the shell roof, and lack of ornate decorations.

With over 3000 seats, it is one of the larger venues in town. On this day the roadies were setting up for a concert.










Our final stop was the Palacio Municipal, or City Hall. It is connected to the Edificio Del Diario La Prensa (a newspaper). Together they make up the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture).

They are very impressive, ornate buildings.






























Brooklyn – September 2019 – A Day at the Beach

A sunny Sunday in the city – a perfect time to go to Coney Island.



Even though it was warm the beach was almost vacant.



As was the boardwalk.




A perfect time to stop for some Nathan’s Hot Dogs.



Back on the boardwalk we met a zombie baseball team.



There is currently a large collection of very unique murals on walls placed around a common space. The artists came from all over the world.













It was time to get back on the train to Manhattan….




But not before stopping at the Brighton Beach station where the MTA museum was running a number of vintage trains.







A great way to spend a few hours at the beach – Brooklyn style.






Buenos Aires – August 2019 – Retiro Train Station Tour

A quiet Saturday morning was a great time to take a guided tour of Retiro Station – in Spanish!



The station actually is comprised of 3 separate terminus’. The largest and most grand is Retiro Mitre, named for the line that terminates there.



The center concourse has an excellent vaulted ceiling.



Nearly all of the trains departing from here are commuter rail, so they come and go frequently. It is easily one of the busiest in South America (but not so much on a Saturday morning).







Why are we outside a Burger King?



And why is our tour all looking up?



At this amazing skylight in the middle of Burger King. Obviously it used to be a much more grand restaurant than Burger King, but at least they have retained it.



The second, much smaller terminal is Retiro Belgrano.





The final is Retiro San Martin – graced by a statue of the father of Argentina, General San Martin.



They have kept a great old schedule board.



But it is time to kiss this place goodbye.





Boston – August 2019 – Diverse Architecture for a Historic City

As one of the oldest major American cities, Boston’s architecture represents a diverse collection of styles. You can find Gothic architecture framed by a post modern glass and steel skyscraper.




A quiet Sunday morning is the perfect time to explore a city for the architecture as the streets are empty, and parking is plentiful.



Once we arrived in the financial district the contrasts between old and new became even more apparent.


















Our primary objective however was to find Art Deco buildings, and Boston did not disappoint.