São Paulo in Pictures: The Street Where I Live, Part 1

Avenida São João – aka Saint Johns Ave, baby – in the ‘new’ half of ‘old’ downtown São Paulo. For a few decades, The Ave was the place to see and be seen, with the sidewalk cafés, movie houses, bijou apartment blocks (like mine – the Palacete Ibis, built in the 30s), and an efficient trolley whisking the aspiring elite and their maids and doormen to and fro. Now, there are crackheads, sex workers, retirees, Bolivians, Nigerians, bohemian artists, foreign pseudo-intellectuals, surprised out-of-towners staying at one of the many faded business-oriented hotels, all buzzing on the streets and in-and-out of bedraggled and salacious commercial businesses all hours of the day and night, anchored by the 35-floor, Empire State Building-inspired Banespão. Damn, I love this street!

The famous street corner from Caetano Veloso's urban hymn, "Sampa."

At the turn of the 20th Century.

1929

1949 (Credit: Carlheinz Hahmann)

1940s

1950s

1960s

Bem Nova Iorque, hein? 1960s

1970

2008 (Credit: Paulino Tarraf)

2009

Dayum! Oh, and that's my building; the cream-colored one in the middle. (Credit: José Patrício/Agência Estado)

Avenida São João from the Banespão, 1986 (Credit: Cristiano Mascaro)


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