Back in August, 2017, the Reporter published an article which attempted to gauge opinion regarding subway construction along Avenida Alcalde, which has been ongoing since 2011.
The prevailing position, extracted predominantly from forlorn shopkeepers along either Alcalde or the pedestrian-only calle Pedro Loza one block to the west, was that it had killed business in this, the already beleaguered centro historico, and that it was dragging on for far too long. Closures of streets jutting off Alcalde on either side, resulting in limited parking options and the re-routing of bus lines, had steered potential clientele away to more hospitable and convenient climes in which to shop, eat and stroll.
It seemed that subway construction was snuffing out the life of the very area it had come to re-animate.
But a walk around the area west of Alcalde reveals possible signs of renewed confidence in the area’s economic prospects. Near the corner of calles Santa Monica and San Felipe, a pool hall has opened in the shaded colonial inner courtyard of a typically romantic, crumbling but beautifully molded centuries-old building. On pedestrian-friendly Pedro Loza, a gregarious young couple has opened El Deleite, whose various breakfast and lunch offerings are charmingly scribbled in chalk on a massive board hanging above the tiny kitchen giving out onto the sidewalk. And a few blocks south, three utterly incongruous-looking, upscale European-style cafes have opened up right next to each other at the base of the giant and ungainly — and unapologetically downscale — Mercado Corona.
A couple of other signs of life: a handful of freshly painted — and presumably renovated — properties with “For Rent” notices dangling from their window sills, and several frontages along Pedro Loza decorated with fresh works of art, each with a theme relating to whatever the shop it adorns is peddling.