buenos aires: barracas revisited, odds & ends

A neighborhood as large & complex as Barracas has a number of elements that don’t fit into any of the previous categories. Rail networks divide the neighborhood, but the stations themselves are pretty fantastic. Named after its plaza, the grand Estación Constitución (Brasil 1128) is usually overlooked thanks to its hectic & messy surroundings. But go on a Sunday morning, weave through the drag queens walking home from nearby bars & take a close look at the station… both inside & out. The Art Deco extension on the east side is just as attractive as the main façade:

Buenos Aires, Barracas, Estación Constitución

Buenos Aires, Barracas, Estación Constitución

Leaving Constitución, train tracks cut through a bit of an excavated area before leveling out, then are elevated on approaching the Riachuelo. An small bridge (Ituzaingó, 1200 block) imported from the Liverpool firm Francis Morton & Co., Ltd. is unique & gives great views of passing trains:

Buenos Aires, Barracas, Ferrocarril del Sud

Buenos Aires, Barracas, bridge, Francis Morton & Co., Ltd.

Buenos Aires, Barracas, bridge, Francis Morton & Co., Ltd.

Francis Morton & Co., Ltd. advertisement

Just before leaving Buenos Aires, the train stops at Estación Hipólito Yrigoyen (Juan Darquier, 900 block)… an unexpected bit of Art Nouveau with wide open surroundings often used in film productions:

Buenos Aires, Barracas, Estación Hipólito Yrigoyen

Buenos Aires, Barracas, Estación Hipólito Yrigoyen

Buenos Aires, Barracas, Estación Hipólito Yrigoyen

Barracas is home to several substations formerly belong to the Compañía Italo-Argentino de Electricidad. Regular readers already know of my particular fascination with these Italianate brick structures. For exact locations, consult my Google Map archive. Some examples are below:

Buenos Aires, Barracas, CIAE subestación

Buenos Aires, Barracas, CIAE subestación

Buenos Aires, Barracas, CIAE subestación

Everyone seems to love a Masonic lodge, & the local “Hijos del Trabajo” (San Antonio 814) has been standing since 1884. Recently renovated, tours are occasionally given but I’ve yet to make it inside:

Buenos Aires, Barracas, logia masónica, Hijos del Trabajo

Buenos Aires, Barracas, logia masónica, Hijos del Trabajo

With lots of Masonic symbolism but fulfilling a different purpose was the Casa del Pueblo, former branch office for the Partido Socialista (Alvarado 1963). When I walked by in 2008, the building had been acquired by a community-run day care center. The woman I talked to said they planned to maintain the original façade. That’s a relief. But I don’t think any maintenance has been done to the exterior since these photos were taken (apologies about the quality… was a crappy day to take pics):

Buenos Aires, Barracas, Casa del Pueblo, Partido Socialista

Buenos Aires, Barracas, Casa del Pueblo, Partido Socialista

Probably the most remarkable find during my entire exploration of Barracas was a billboard from Perón’s second term (opposite Guanahani 120). Uncovered by decades of erosion, large letters urge readers: Apoye el 2º Plan Quinquenal… Support the 2nd Five-Year Plan. When anti-Peronistas went to such great lengths to erase all traces of Perón, it’s amazing that this could resurface in the 21st century:

Buenos Aires, Barracas, billboard, Perón

Unfortunately, the billboard has since been painted over… ironically by Kirchner supporters, no doubt celebrating a new wave of Peronism. But the lesson I learned from covering the entire barrio is that Barracas is full of surprises. Go see for yourself & discover a very different Buenos Aires.

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Barracas series: Divisions  Industrial • Residential  Services  Odds & Ends

3 thoughts on “buenos aires: barracas revisited, odds & ends”

  1. Wow Richard, I use to read your blog (I’m a porteño) but I comment for first time here because… I can’t believe you managed to reach the iron bridge over Roca railway and take some photos. It’s a really dark and dangerous place. Thank you!

  2. Agustín – Soy Robert no Richard… pero te perdono :-) The area around the bridge isn’t that bad. Ok, I’ve never been at night but it’s a really interesting spot. Saludos!

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