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Category: Operation

301. new sidewalks

New sidewalks, Recoleta Cemetery

Back in Buenos Aires after living 7 months in Sydney, the biggest change on my first return visit to the cemetery was obvious before I even walked inside. New sidewalks are being installed around the perimeter, & it’s about time. When I left BA in July 2008, mayor Mauricio Macri had begun peppering the streets with big, yellow signs for public works… probably because he had little visible evidence of his administration after 7 months in office.

Although I never posted about it, one thing that upset me most about the city government was the neglect of access to the cemetery. Damaged, purplish cement—often stained & reeking from garbage deposited by the strip of restaurants across the street—was the first impression millions of tourists had of Recoleta Cemetery. Good riddance:

New sidewalks, Recoleta Cemetery

According to signage, the project will take 8 months & has a budget of almost 9 million pesos. Currently that’s about U$S 2.5 million—a huge investment. The company responsible for sidewalk installation (Cunumi) is the same one currently used for the restoration of plazas & parks. What a huge contract that must have been. At least they use the same tiles chosen by previous administrations & help give Buenos Aires a more uniform look:

New sidewalks, Recoleta Cemetery

New sidewalks, Recoleta Cemetery

I was also glad to see that the gingko trees planted during ex-mayor Telerman’s attempt to green BA were still alive & being protected. Gingkos are rarely seen in BA & will add a nice touch to the cemetery in a few years.

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285. map development 6

Neglected by ADACRE & in the process of moving temporarily to Australia, I removed my map for sale from the internet. If they didn’t need the assistance, so be it. Their less than lukewarm response did little to encourage further correspondence. But I still wanted to get the word out about the highlights of Recoleta Cemetery. So in the midst of packing, I began making a master map which I could use for any future project that came to mind.

It involved returning to the cemetery… a lot. During the first half of 2008 I went through 10,000+ photos, matched corresponding tombs to their locations & documented everything possible. I also wanted to maintain this blog while in Australia & had to plan for that. My apartment looked like a map explosion for several weeks:

Master map, Recoleta Cemetery

Master map, Recoleta Cemetery

Most visits involved correcting info & fine-tuning the previous map. Counting pavement tiles, confirming angles & filming videos to mark exact locations may not be fun, but the end result was worth it:

Mapmaking, Recoleta Cemetery

Mapmaking, Recoleta Cemetery

Stay tuned for the next release: a 20-page PDF handbook with information about the cemetery’s history, the most interesting family vaults (approximately 70 in an easy-to-follow route), symbolism, & the complete story of Eva Perón’s post-mortem travels.

With an expected release of March 2009, the handbook will be the most complete guide to Recoleta Cemetery available to date. I can’t wait to put the finishing touches on it. Purchasing the PDF will be like taking this blog along with you or having a guided visit with zero time constraints. Not focusing as much on Argentine history, but the best experience short of hiring me personally 🙂

Read the complete story in the following posts titled “map development”: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 & Part 7. Good news! The PDF guidebook is now available.

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237. storage sheds

Storage shed, Recoleta Cemetery

With space at a premium in the four city blocks allocated to the cemetery, storage sheds can often be found filling the gaps between family vaults. Caretakers like David Alleno need space for the tools of their trade. Not much effort is put into making the sheds look attractive or having them blend in with neighboring structures… they are purely utilitarian:

Storage shed, Recoleta Cemetery

When no space can be found to insert a shed, caretakers have appropriated tombs which families no longer maintain. Older vaults are usually subject to this secondary use, & caskets often remain inside. Kind of a creepy thing to have in an office:

Storage shed, Recoleta Cemetery

Storage shed, Recoleta Cemetery

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