Sunday, May 11, 2014

promises kept -- part ii

This is not really a promise kept.

Well, it was a promise I made to myself -- after I read about Brenda and Roy's road trip to Arivechi.  The prime reason for their stop in the village was to see a kiosk that is a copy of one in Mexico City.

Knowing I would be back in Mexico City, I promised Brenda right then I would visit the original for her.  Of course, she knew nothing of the promise.  Until now.

After I finished my reflections on the murders at Tlateloco, I hoofed it over to colonia Santa Maria la Ribera to track down the wily Morisco Kiosk -- the Moorish kiosk.

And there it was, just as I was told it would be.  But, considering its history, it was nice to see that it had not moved again.

It was originally designed to serve as the Mexico Pavilion in New Orleans at the 1886 World's Fair.  And, because it was built and designed by a Mexican (José Ramón Ibarrola), it was recycled.  Again as the Mexican pavilion.  This time at the 1902 Saint Louis Exposition -- the one where Judy Garland promised to meet us.

Because it was destined to be peripatetic, Ibarrola designed the wrought iron panels to be easily disassembled -- and topped with a glass dome.  And that is what happened.

Because it is a beautiful structure, the French-inspired designers in Porfiriato Mexico, gave it a starring role on the edge of the park (Alameda Central) that would help join the new capitol building with central Mexico City.  But it did not remain stationary for long.

In honor of the centennial of Mexican Independence, a monument of a somewhat befuddled-looking Juárez, surrounded by a bevy of overly-attentive young women, displaced the kiosk again.  Juárez, of course, needed to be recognized by the liberal Porfirio Diaz.  But the monument looks almost as appropriate as dressing Gandhi in top hat and tails.

So, off the kiosk went to its current home -- in the midst of a French-garden park.  As it turns out, the site is perfect for setting off this architectural jewel.

The pre-fabricated provenance is almost unnoticeable.  It sits in the park as if it was always meant to sit there.  You can almost hear the residents of New Orleans muttering under their breath: "Golly!  Would you look at that?"

When I visited, the floor was filled with waves of families, who children would run through the kiosk as if they were on stage.  There was even a ballerina teaching her daughter the necessary positions.  It is always nice to see beautiful architecture being put to practical.

You may have noticed in the first photograph, the kisok was undergoing a particular use while I was there.  Trailers dedicated to neutering dogs and cats.  There was a parade of pooches through the park.  Whether they had visited the clinic, I have no idea.

There is more in the neighborhood to see than just the kiosk -- even though the kiosk is the star.  There are several Mexican art deco homes -- any of which I would gladly own.  They are the remnants of what was once a very trendy neighborhood.

And then there are seedier places.  Apparently, the 1985 earthquake left a number of the residences beyond repair, but not beyond occupancy.

So, there you are Brenda.  I hope you find the original to be as satisfactory as the copy in Arivechi.

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