The skyline of Mexico City from our apartment:
Many imagine Mexico City as simply another overcrowded, chaotic and polluted megacity of the sort unique to the developing world. And sure, part of the city does look like those typical scenes of a developing country:
But there is more to Mexico City than that. And there is more to Mexico City than its historic center and countless museums. Mexico City is also a twenty-first century financial capital of glass-fronted high-rises…
…and luxury shopping malls:
The traditional financial district in Mexico City is found in the Paseo de la Reforma area. Paseo de la Reforma is a monumental avenue that runs for two miles from El Centro to Chapultepec Park.
Scenes from along Paseo de la Reforma:
Dozens of statues, busts and other artwork (some permanent and some temporary) line the avenue:
The statue below is the Angel de la Independencia – a popular symbol of Mexican autonomy and one of the last sculptures to be inaugurated by Porfirio Diaz. If one can make it across the street (run like hell), it is possible to enter the monument and to view the remains of twelve revolutionaries, including the skull of Miguel Hidalgo:
I’ve already shown you El Centro and, as mentioned above, at the other end of Paseo de la Reforma one can find Chapultepec Park… Sprawling across 1,655 acres, Chapultepec Park is a welcome refuge for many seeking to escape Mexico City’s noise and traffic. On the weekends, the park is full of people walking, picnicking, rowing a boat on the park’s large lake (Lago de Chapultepec) or visiting one of the many museums within the park.
This is the entrance to Chapultepec Park off of the Paseo de la Reforma… In the background is Castillo de Chapultepec, the former military academy and residence to many Mexican emperors, dictators and presidents:
Off of Chapultepec Park, one may find the neighborhood of Polanco. Polanco is one of Mexico City’s most expensive neighborhoods. It is known for its designer boutiques and many posh bars and restaurants:
One site I must mention, that is just off of the Paseo de la Reforma is the Monumento a la Revolución… Originally intended to house a new parliament building for Porfirio Diaz, that plan was put on hold following the dictator’s fall from power in the 1910 revolution. It wasn’t until 1933 that it was decided that parts of the iron structure and the cupola should be incorporated into a monument to the uprising. Completed in 1938, the remains of revolutionaries such as Pancho Villa and Venustiano Carranza are interred in its columns. In our experience, it was always best to visit at night as that was when the most life and energy was present.
That is the Monumento a la Revolución in the background and a Mexican motorcycle gang in the foreground:
Another night we were there, a small crowd released hundreds of giant Chinese lanterns into the sky. Watching them rise and fan out over the city looked amazing, but I’m afraid the pictures didn’t do it justice.
On another night we visited, what appeared to be a marching band comprised of every facet of society, was standing in perfect formation (and in the pitch dark) hammering out martial-sounding music for the duration of our time there. It appeared they were just there for fun. They were not wearing uniforms, they had no audience and there were no events going on.
On yet another night, a group of skaters was playing in the fountains – fountains that run random patterns and incorporate light and sound into their streams:
Mexico City is a city I could live in for a while…