Largo do Boticario finds a buyer

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Largo do Boticário will have a hostel with 70 rooms and coworking spaces
AccorHotels bought six houses in the Zona Sul for US$5.1 million

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June 2018

A business project – mixing the concepts of a hostel and a coliving center, with gastronomic and coworking areas and a swimming pool – will be implanted in Largo do Boticário, in Cosme Velho. The news was presented to Cariocas in June by AccorHotels, who bought the six houses in the square for US$5.1 million and will invest $7.6 million in equipment and restorations so that the place can receive the first Jo&Joe venture to be opened outside of Europe. With an opening scheduled for September 2020, the space will follow an open house concept, with a large bar open to the public. There will also be a cultural and artistic space. The hostel will consist of an area of 3,500 square meters and will have 70 rooms, of varying prices and sizes. Construction will be started in about four months.

According to Patrick Mendes, CEO of AccorHotels in South America, the hotel network decided to invest in Rio because it believes in the economic recovery of the state and the tourist potential of the cidade maravilhosa.

“The decision to give this gift to Rio shows our intention to bet on the city”, said Patrick Mendes, noting that construction begins at the end of the year.

The purchase of all the houses, explains Patrick, was a negotiation that lasted about a year.

“Since we managed to buy it all, we can restore the whole complex. And rehabilitate this place for Cariocas. It will have a bar, barber, coworking space, plus a hotel. For that, we have brought in a new brand, Jo&Joe, which follows a new concept, with multifunctional spaces”, adding that the hotel will not be the main attraction. “It will be a place of […], in which the hotel will be the consequence and not the main reason.”

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According to the architect responsible for the project, Ernani Freire, the restoration of the space will be the starting point for the revitalization of the entire Cosme Velho area.

– It’s a space that the city complained about the very poor state of conservation. It’s a very charming urban space protected from the traffic of the city. The fact that all six houses were purchased facilitates the restoration project. It’s the phenomenon of the “positive metastasis” by the Catalan architect Oriol Bohigas. I imagine other buildings in the area, such as the Casa dos Abacaxis, will benefit, too”, said the architect Ernani Freire.

The architectural project, says Ernani, will respect the characteristics of the houses and the volumetry of the buildings. The buildings will be interconnected internally, but the facades will be maintained. Additions will be made to areas not related to the buildings. The forest area will also be preserved.

Aimed at a younger audience, the undertaking will have collective dormitories for up to ten people, average rooms for up to four guests, and smaller housing for two people. The estimate is that the tourist rents a bed, in a collective room, for about $25.

A large bar in the middle of the Open House, with capacity for 300 people, will be one of the biggest attractions. It will remain open until 2AM. The new Largo do Boticário will also have swimming pools. – Source (PT)


A news report from the 1960s, and another from 2016 on the space being put up for sale

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The Pig’s Head – 1924

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Note: The following article from 1924 which I translated is about the tearing down of tenement housing in downtown Rio. It was said to take the homes of anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 people, who would go on to join the founding residents of Rio’s first favela. The demolition of Cabeça de Porco would also foreshadow the events a decade in the future, such as the Bota-Abaixo, as well as the city’s messy growth in the 20th century. The cartoon above shows a crying pig with a “barata” on it, referencing the then-mayor whose last name means cockroach.  

The Pig’s Head
by Hermeto Lima
Revista da Semana, 1924 [PT]

Imbedded on Rua Barão de S. Felix, up against the Cajueiros quarry, until 1893 there were cortiços (tenement houses), the last of their kind, refuge of capoeiras (hooligan ex-slaves) and murderers of all nationalities. It was the “Pig’s Head”.

A gate or, rather, an immense arch gave access to a large pigpen. From day to day it was dangerous to enter; in the darkness of the night no one dared to do so.

Along the way, hundreds of cottages lined up; rooms that were contaminated, impossible to count their number, would be open coffins, piled up on top of each other and with people inside. Along with all this, were an infinity of buildings, thrown together, with pine board walls and tin sheet roofs. Big stones on them, to keep them there and prevent the wind from carrying them off.

In front of these buildings, a non-paved street. Impossible to cross it from end to end, with such obstacles therein. Here were the tubs of laundry women; there were slings of clothes; a multitude of bamboo everywhere, with enormous twines, where shirts of all kinds and tendrils flutter. Hungry chickens cackle for a grain of corn; stray dogs full of leprosy fight for a crust; trapped enchained parrots scream and, with their paws or their beaks, seek to tear off the parasites that devour their skin; little birds of all species, beset, sprinkle themselves in the mud of their old cages; silent cats, spy frightenly through the cracks between piles of coffins and garbage cans of all kinds. A monkey with skirts, property of an Italian, a mouth-organ player, in an eternal sway, squeaks, showing its teeth. The man with a bear, makes him dance to the sound of a tambourine, whose primitive color no one even knows. A black sorcerer, from Benguela (south of Luanda), with a snake coiled around his neck, jumps and sings to the sound of a maraca.

It’s ten o’clock. The “Pig’s Head” is in its full swing. At first glance, it seems that only women work there, because a swarm of them, of all colors and nationalities – predominantly Italian, Spanish and Portuguese – is seen in a deafening “fervet opus”.

Some wash, others iron, still others in improvised kitchens, stir pots, placed on bricks and not falling only by a whim of the laws of balance.

Almost all of them sing more or less obscene songs. Some babble with the others or scold their children, who whimper there close-by.

The men, very few, work in the shoe repair shops, of which there are ten. From time to time, from one of those dens, emerges a mulatto with a pair of trousers, a belt, and a jersey, known among the hooligans, stretching and opening his huge mouth. Having just woke up.

On one side of the street is a barber shop. The owner, a giant black man who is said to be a deserter from the navy, shaves the customer’s face while telling a group about his exploits.

In front of the barber shop, a cellar draws the attention of those who go to the “Pig’s Head”. An old black man is seated at the door, which he closes as soon as someone enters or leaves. And his work must be painful, because it is a constant come-and-go of people who seem endless.

That’s where “monte” (game of luck) is played.

Naked children of all ages are everywhere; some roll around, crawling through the mud on the street; others, with their bare chest, whimper, confusing the mucus of the nostrils with the saliva and the tears they shed.

Girls, ages 12 and 13, wearing rags, carry other children in their arms or pull them along by the arm, so that they walk fast.

Boys aged 12 to 14, in groups, plan robberies, practice immoralities or tell tales, in a language capable of making a monk blush.

A den of famous criminals, when one fights there, there is no police that dare to haul him away from there.

Armed robberies or assaults are planned right there, in the open, without fear of denunciation.

Suddenly, a ghastly commotion.

There are two black women who wrestle because one wants to take the lover of another, or because she invaded the tub of the other one.

And people join in; and sides are formed, to see which of the two is the bravest. Screams, voices, trills of whistles that reach the street and the ears of the police. But they shrug and says,

“Well, it’s in the Pig’s Head.”

At other times, it is not women who fight. It is men, and then the story takes another shape. There is a hideous shooting, which, once it is over, it is not uncommon to find 2 or 3 corpses lying on the ground.

And then the news runs: – It was “Caboclo” that killed “Barba de bode”. The others had nothing to do with the fight. They were passing by at the time of the shooting.

And thus was life in the “Pig’s Head”, where about two thousand people lived.

In the monarchical regime, it was said that several authorities tried more than once to do away with this tenement, but soon higher orders appeared that neutralized that intention.

In vain, the press complained against that Babylon without assurances and without hygiene and whose property was of many, each one even more prestigious in the political world.

The Republic was made. On December 20, 1892, Mayor Dr. Candido Barata Ribeiro was appointed. One of his first acts was to do away with the “Pig’s Head” however possible.

At 8 o’clock on the morning of January 26, 1893, an infantry force of the police, commanded by Captain Marcellino and another of cavalry, were marching to Rua João Ricardo. A crowd of firefighters and about 300 workers from the Inspectorate of Public Works, the Chief of Police, Dr. Bernardino Fereira da Silva, the Mayor, Dr. Barata Ribeiro, Dr. Corrêa Dutra, second auxiliary delegate, and other authorities followed.

No one knew what that apparatus meant.

Having arriving in front of the “Pig’s Head”, it was like the barbarians entering Rome.

The infamous tenement was invaded and 300 workers with pickaxes in hand began their destructive work. When the dust from the walls was too much, the Fire Department would come to the rescue to complete the task.

The threats of the troublemakers and the lamentations of the women were worthless. Within a few hours, the “Pig’s Head” that had lasted for 53 years was reduced to a heap of debris.

Only then could one see well the many alleys, the nooks, the stores, and the corridors in which it was subdivided.

After a few months, its owners filed a lawsuit claiming compensation for damages and lost profits.

The action was evaluated at five thousand contos that the City had to pay, without a word nor a peep.

That was how much the “Pig’s Head” cost.

But it came down.

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(about 30 years after it came down)

Augusto Malta Revival

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The Rio remodeled by mayor Pereira Passos in the early twentieth century and today’s Rio meet in the montages of designer and photographer Marcello Cavalcanti. He’s the name behind the show Augusto Malta Revival, currently at the Marré de Si, in Catete. After analyzing images of Malta (1864-1957), who was a photographer for city hall for 33 years, Cavalcanti went after the perfect angle to remake them. On the computer, he fuses scenarios separated by a century, provoking compelling contrasts. – Source (PT)

Check out all 81 posts on the project Instagram here. And watch the behind the scenes on how he creates the effect below. Seems like magic.

Rio’s Messy Growth

The messy growth and limited transport links have caused problems that still exist today

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Santa Bárbara Tunnel. The controversial construction was the cause of complaints from residents and killed 18 workers

A public demonstration took over downtown. About five thousand people faced the police, broke posts, and flipped over vehicles. There were records of three deaths, but violence left other victims: countless donkeys stabbed. There was enough even for the animals, the tram-pullers that cut through the city. All this was motivated by the 20 cent increase (vintém) in the fare, a measure that, today, could be equated with the R$0.20 readjustment for buses that also drove a crowd to the streets in 2013. Workers, stimulated by growing opposition to the emperor Dom Pedro II, made the first protest against the transport structure of the city in Rio in 1880, more than 20 years before the Vaccine Revolt (1904).

“At the time, transportation occurred by trams pulled by donkeys. The lower classes and republican opposition rebelled against the monarchy, recalls historian Carlos Addor of the Fluminense Federal University.

The residents of the then-capital of the Empire didn’t know, but their grandchildren and great-grandchildren would grow up facing similar problems. Expensive fares would influence the proliferation of favelas, and the road network grew disorderly, without providing integration between modes of transport. European cities took more than a century to leave behind their rural profile, but Rio took just over 40 years to take on an urban status.

This accelerated pace, coupled with a lack of planning – two large urban projects developed in the last century didn’t leave the planning stage – and localized development aimed at the upper classes, made Rio the uneven metropolis we now know, according to historians, geographers, journalists and writers.

“The entire urbanization process in Rio was done to the exclusion of second-class citizens, says journalist and writer Zuenir Ventura, who in 1994 addressed the roots of this logic in the book “Cidade Partida.”

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Avenida Central. During urban reforms under Pereira Passos, with the intention of turning it into a true Parisian boulevard.

The Center of Everything

At the time of the so-called Vintém Revolt (mentioned at the top), Rio was a city that existed in function of the downtown region. “Suburb” was a word used for the wealthy, and defined neighborhoods such as Glória, Catete and Laranjeiras, still fairly unoccupied and very wooded. This bucolic setting is depicted in Machado de Assis’s “Dom Casmurro”: the protagonist couple, Bentinho and Capitu, lived in Glória, from where one could see the sea through the window, at a time when the Aterro did not exist. Flamengo Beach, with clear waters, was lit up like Copacabana in the first half of the 20th century, but without swimsuits on parade through the sands.

Urban Rio, however, was downtown. In the early 1900s, a quarter of the city lived in slums. At the time, the city took in many poor people: a large number of ex-slaves came here, people who worked in the coffee plantations of the interior. With poor hygiene and housing conditions, these buildings began to be protested – including the folkloric Cabeça de Porco, whose owner lived in Gávea, which was already a noble area of Rio.

To “sanitize” the capital and make it a metropolis like Paris, Mayor Pereira Passos made a series of urban interventions during his term from 1903 to 1906. He demolished about 1,700 buildings to open and widen streets, and practically rebuilt Avenida Central, currently Rio Branco.

“Rio is a city that was founded to expel French invaders and who, at some point, decided that it had to be like France” – mocks historian and Globo columnist Luiz Antônio Simas.

The “sweep” ended with community housing, and the lower classes had to look for other places to live. At the time, says historian Milton Teixeira, it was believed that bad smells transmitted diseases:

“The poor, who could not shower every day or buy French perfumes, were seen as sources of infection.”

Those who could not afford a ride went up the hill. Those who had somewhat better financial conditions were pushed into the new suburbs, now with negative connotations. They were neighborhoods that followed the route of the railroads, created to transport goods. The trolley, controlled by foreign companies, was a symbol of the separation of the city: there was a car for the middle and upper classes and one for the poor, it was the taioba – on which it was possible to read, on a panel, the specification of who was to use it: “For luggage and those with bare feet”.

The trams that took the Zona Sul route, until the Botanic Garden, had a more expensive price because of the length of the route, which ended up limiting its public. As there was no single route, the meeting between the suburbanites and the residents of the Zona Sul took place downtown.

There were times when social classes were coupled with doses of tension. At religious festivals, for example. In the book “Lucíola”, by José de Alencar, Paul meets his beloved, who he later discovers is a courtesan, while she handed out spare change in the celebrations for Nossa Senhora da Glória, on Rua da Lapa. “All the grotesque types of Brazilian society, from the arrogant nullity to vile flattery, paraded in front of me, brushing silk and cashmere with baize or cotton, mixing delicate perfumes with impure exhalations”, he notes, recently-arrived to the city. Luiz Antônio Simas tells us that the feast for Our Lady of Penha in the 1900s and 1910s attracted the Catholic elite and the poor, who formed samba and capoeira groups. At a time when African culture was criminalized, the police always put the blacks on the run.

In the 1930s, with Getulio Vargas’ Estado Novo government, the opening of roads and urbanization projects in the suburbs gained strength. The electricity-powered trains, boosted the occupation of the North and West zones, and bus lines, began to be created. It was a stepping stone for Rio to take on characteristics of a metropolis.

“In 1940, 70% of the Brazilian population lived in the countryside. In 1980, we had 70% of Brazilians in the city. The result of this is “peripheralization”, a slumification, of urban swelling and immobility – notes Marcus Dezemone, professor of History at UERJ and UFF.

Rio, however, had two urban plans drawn up by foreign experts. The first was signed by Alfred Agache in the late 1920s. He had planned the construction of gardens throughout the city – including the suburbs – and opening roads to connect the periphery to downtown, including three subway lines. The project, however, basically didn’t leave the drawing room.

In the 1930s, the suburb was already housing the lower middle class, including immigrants. According to the historian Leonardo Soares, from UFF, the nucleus of the neighborhoods was established around the train stops. The embryo of the Mercadão de Madureira came about – an initiative of Portuguese and Jewish merchants. A May 1936 issue of “Revista da Semana” featured a report about a huge gypsy camp in the region where Cachambi is today (pg 01 & 02). They said they had left Greece, and revealed plans to go to São Paulo.

The more humble people settled in the hills closer to their workplaces. The slumification had a certain complicity from the elite, who needed cheap labor nearby. According to Milton Teixeira, Rocinha, for example, which became a stronghold of Northeastern migrants, began to concentrate, in the 1930s, workers doing construction in São Conrado and Gávea, including that of the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC). Morro Dona Marta, in Botafogo, which was the first community to receive a Peacekeeping Police Unit in 2008, had its first inhabitants brought there by Father José Maria Natuzzi, then-director of the Santo Inácio College. In favelas without water and sewage, the proliferation of diseases so feared by authorities continued – but beyond the reach of Rio’s public opinion.

“Today, Rio has six thousand cases of tuberculosis per year, which occur mainly in favela areas”, says researcher Jorge Castro, from the National School of Public Health at Fiocruz, for whom the urbanization of Rio de Janeiro meant time was needed to realize the importance of basic care in vulnerable locations, which prevents and reduces the demand for more complex care. “In Europe, this vision emerged after the Second World War.”

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Rebouças Tunnel. Construction of tunnels amplified the connection between the Zonas Norte and Sul.

Still Precarious Sanitation

The Rio of the 1950s was a city of precarious services. In addition to seeing the decay of the trams and the growth of mini buses, Cariocas suffered with a lack of electricity and water. The newspapers brought daily reports on the state of the neighborhoods with dry taps. The supply system of the Rio Guandu was only inaugurated in 1965, by governor Carlos Lacerda. Today, Rio still leaves much to be desired in sanitation: only 47% of the sewage is treated, and the municipality is in 50th place among the 100 cities in the 2016 Sanitation Ranking, done by the NGO Trata Brasil. Historian Leonardo Soares points out that, until the 1980s, many residents of Gardênia Azul, in the Zona Oeste, drew water from a large well.

Between 1950 and 1960, the city underwent a new wave of transformations. The favelas, mainly in the South Zone, became a problem that had to be eradicated, and the solution was to remove its residents and accommodate them in planned and often remote farms and neighborhoods. It was in this logic behind the Vila Kennedy, Cidade Alta, Cidade de Deus and Maré – which, with wooden houses, were to be used as temporary residence for families who had been forced to wait for the construction of definitive real estate. A lot of people just stayed there.

“Some housing developments became problems. They took in people who could not sustain themselves”, says Pedro da Luz, president of the Instituto Arquitetos do Brasil (IAB) in Rio. – The Minha Casa Minha Vida program repeated this formula.

Rio invested in road transport. The mini buses were done with, and regular bus lines appeared. The tram, on the other hand, stopped circulating in 1964, and the trains went through a process of being scrapped. Tunnels were opened between the Zona Norte and Sul, which caused controversy. Santa Bárbara, which connects Catumbi and Laranjeiras, was the object of complaints from residents of the two districts, who didn’t want roads that gave access to the tunnels. Before construction was finished, 18 workers died in an explosion. The tunnel, inaugurated in 1964, would be called another name, but ended up dedicated to the saint because, inside, an altar was built in memory of the dead. Santa Bárbara is considered the patron saint of tunnel builders.

Rebouças, inaugurated in 1967, began to let vehicles through still without being totally ready. From 1976, buses began to circulate through its tunnels – it was at this time that the pejorative expression “além túnel” appeared, addressed to the residents of the Zona Norte who became frequenters of the beaches in Ipanema and Leblon.

The subway only came in 1979, almost 90 years after the first lines in the world. It began by connecting five stations, from Glória to Praça Onze.

“Our subway was one of the few on the planet planned to serve the middle class. This type of transport was launched in London, with the aim of taking the poor from the periphery to work”, says Milton Teixeira.

The city also had a second urban plan, in the 1960s, elaborated by the Greek Constantino Doxiadis. In June 1965, Globo reported that it envisaged the construction of an industrial area in the Zona Oeste, of ten thousand homes for slum dwellers and 7,500 classrooms. Only two of the six designed expressways actually left the planning stage: the Linha Vermelha, inaugurated in 1992, and the Linha Amarela, in 1997.

Unconcern with the environment marked the 20th century. The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, for example, has had several proposals for total landfilling, as revealed in the book “Lagoa”, organized by architect Augusto Ivan de Freitas Pinheiro and urban planner Eliane Pinheiro. The first was from doctor Oswaldo Cruz, in 1894, who thought that the Lagoa, being a marshy area, was a threat to the health of Cariocas. Agache, in the 1920s, wanted the area to be a place to a leisure. In the following decade, Lúcio Costa defended the construction of a university campus in the location. Rodrigo de Freitas resisted, but others did not have the same luck: Bairro Peixoto, in Copacabana, was erected where there was a large base of water.

Reported in O Globo

The Globo edition of October 4, 1967, printed on the front page news of the fire that destroyed the Praia do Pinto Favela in Lagoa, which was eventually removed in the following years. On the same day, the news about the inauguration of Rebouças – then the largest urban tunnel in the world – emphasized that the route from the Zona Norte to the Lagoon could be done in just five minutes.

PS – It seems the article has no real ending…

Source (PT)

Policing Rio beaches – 1917

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Cariocas and the Sea, Not Always a Love Affair
O Globo, 2005

The history of the evolution of habits shows that going to the beach was already an activity that could end at the police station

The sea bath in 1917 was therapy advised by doctors and restricted, by decree, to certain times. Noise and shouting were also forbidden. Bathing suits, only with “necessary decency”, that is, with the body covered up. The swimsuits were less suffocating in the 1930s, but the police took the looser bathers to jail. It was the “pro-decency campaign.” The libertarian vocation of the Carioca was reborn in the boldness of the fifties, which, even under the sandstorm of conservatives, transgressed with showy “two pieces.” The swimsuit became the bikini, and in the 80s they took off the top. Topless didn’t take root, but the limit was no longer a decree or code of conduct, but the fashion.

With a century having passed, Cariocas have killed off various laws, ordinances and rules of behavior to choose, without repression, the proper conduct for the magical scenery formed by sand, sea and bodies exposed to the sun.

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Outlaw bathers could spend five days in jail

The beaches fell into the purview of the law after a decree (1.143) from Rio Mayor Amaro Cavalcanti in May 1917. The measure, which regulated the use of Leme and Copacabana beaches, instituted: “Sea baths will only be allowed from April 1st to November 30th, from 6 to 9AM and from 4 to 6PM; From December 1st to March 31st from 5 to 8AM and from 5 to 7PM. In other words: during the day, the beach was off limits. Anyone who broke the rules, paid 20 mil reis or spent five days in prison.

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Claudia Gaspar, author of the book “Orla Carioca: história e cultura“, says that the first beaches laws had probable French origin.

“The rules must have come from manuals from that country, so much that the lifeguard stations were called places of sauvatage. Despite the restrictions, it was a step up from the previous period, when some people rented boats in Praça XV to take private baths off the coast. The beach was still more medicinal than social,” recalls Claudia.

Writers came out in defense of the one-piece. The author of “Orla Carioca” found in a 1926 edition of the newspaper “Beira Mar” an ode to freedom: “We are already angry about this false moral civilization created by our grandparents. It is frankly ridiculous that in the mid-twentieth century we want to shape our standard of living in the archaic and moldy mirrors of 1830. ”

It was not long before society reacted: on January 12, 1931, on the front page of Globo, the headline said: “The pro-modesty campaign was initiated by the police on the bathing beaches of Rio.” The photos showed bathers forced to wear long robes and others being taken to the police station. It was forbidden, among other things, to walk the access streets to the beach dressed in swimsuits. The limits continued in the years to come, as 69-year old retired UFRJ history professor Miridan Falci says:

“One would leave the beach with a large towel wrapped around one’s body, and at times it was forbidden. On the buses, a warning said: “the entry of bathers is prohibited”. But I witnessed liberation: I was on Ipanema Beach in 1971, the day that Leila Diniz appeared pregnant in a bikini!

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Topless fashion erupted in the “summer of amnesty”, in 1980, but it never became a broad, general and unrestrained fashion. Legally, it was banned and unbanned several times – the first time in 1973, when the Federal Supreme Court denied an injunction requested by a bather, who wanted to expose her body with the approval of the judges. In 2000, commercial representative Rosimeri Moura da Costa, 34, was arrested while going topless in Recreio, accused of an obscene act. Today, Cariocas are free to leave the beach and go to chic places, but they prefer tempered swimsuits, even on the beach, according to a couple of artists Lúcio Tapajós, 35, and Renata Nonô, 32. She gives her version for the return to the past:

“Even to buy a coconut at the kiosk, many girls wear a shorts or a sarong. And the bikinis look like bathing suits. But this is not a conservative wave, but an excess of body worship. People get hysterical when they have cellulite or a stretch mark.”

It is another kind of dictatorship: that of the perfect body. But at least in sports, there are those who float above the new rules. Marianne Kerr, 23, surfs every day in a bikini at Leblon. When the time is short, one leaves home ready to enter the water without fear of being misinterpreted.

“Since I live close by, when I’m in a hurry, before college or work, I go out in a bikini to the beach. Cariocas do not do much of this, but there is nothing wrong with it”, says the surfer, who studies psychology at PUC.

Marianne would not have a good time on a beach from last century. She would have a problem with her bikini until the 1950s, and in the 1970s she would have to leave the board in the sand for most of the day, as surfing also suffered under the laws. A 1976 resolution by the State Department of Public Safety established that the sport could only be practiced after 2PM on seven beaches in the state. On the rest of the coast it was forbidden. Frescobol continues to be illegal, but the most restricted sport currently is kitesurfing, allowed in Rio just between two kiosks at Barra beach. – Source (PT, PDF)


For more, listen to this 10-minute podcast (PT) from Cultura Popular Carioca, or read this article (PT) from O Globo. From Deep Rio, be sure to check out The Cabines of Copacabana. I’ll also add two articles from Revista da Semana from 1917/18 that talk about the dangers of indecency (once clicked, you can open them full size in the bottom, right-hand corner).

 

Rio Olympics, one year later

I’ve been seeing articles and videos on the topic for a few months but I was waiting for one that could hit upon the zeitgeist. I think this 19-min report by China Global TV Network does a nice job of showing just that.

It’s sad to see but it’s not like this wasn’t the expected outcome. There are so many pressing issues but I feel like if public safety could be at least under control, it’d make a world of difference. For that to happen, police presence would have to be increased by 10 times.

Rio’s 10 secrets not in guidebooks

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In these times of low spirits – in Rio, even Carnival is under threat – it’s necessary to look for alternatives, to leave behind routine and, instead of only complaining, to find solutions. That was how, thinking of solutions, I remembered the secrets of Rio. Every city has its secret points, places that are almost never on the tourist routes. Landscapes and buildings, old or new, that sometimes not even Cariocas know. Or they’ve heard of them, but have never been there.

I made a list of ten of these secrets, some very well kept, others not so much: there are those that we always pass through without realizing they are there. Others we know by name, but that’s it. They are places with charm, mystery or history. Or with all of these things combined. And landscapes too, which aren’t lacking in Rio. The secrets of Rio are so great that they were worth making a guide about – “Secret Rio” by Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Marcio Roiter and Thomas Jonglez – but I made my own list. And, I repeat, such a list may include places that are right there under our noses, but which we know little or nothing of.


São José Church
Downtown (av. Presidente Antonio Carlos, s/nº)

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This church has a secret. Those who enter its central aisle, especially on weekdays, to appreciate the rococo style interior (c. 1842), realize at once a strange ritual. In the hallway to the right, people are waiting, forming a line. One by one, people go up to the altar – while the others keep waiting – and disappear behind it. A few minutes go by. The person who disappeared reappears on the other side, on the left, and only then does the next one in the line go up to the altar, also to disappear.

What is the secret behind Saint Joseph’s altar? It’s an image of the saint, before whom people will pray. Not just any image: it shows a very old Joseph, dying, surrounded, on his deathbed, by Mary and Jesus. Life-size. It’s impressive. I heard that churches for Saint Joseph, all over the world, have an esoteric symbology, a relationship with the Templars. There are temples dedicated to the saint that carry on the walls the symbols of the zodiac, they assured me. I don’t know if there’s anything magical there. But popular wisdom says that whoever enters the Igreja de São José for the first time must go behind the altar and make a request – and their wish will be answered. It doesn’t cost to try.

Belas Artes Portal
Jardim Botânico (rua Jardim Botânico, 1.008)

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Those who enter the Botanical Garden through the main gate and go to the end the alleyway lines with imperial palms will pass through a lake and end up in a bamboo grove. There, surrounded by greenery, you will find a two-storey building, consisting of an archway on the ground floor and an upper part with columns.

It looks like the facade of a neoclassical palace, but it’s just a portal, the front part of a building that was, like so many, demolished sometime in the past. This is the portal of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, designed by the French architect Grandjean de Montigny (1776-1850). Granjean de Montigny, as well as the painter Debret, came to Rio in 1816, as part of the so-called French Mission, a team of professionals that the court of Dom João, newly installed in Rio, sent for in Europe in order to start the teaching of arts and architecture in Brazil.

Ten years later, in 1826, the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts was inaugurated in a building built from the Montigny project. Brazil’s wrath of demolishments reached it in 1938, so that in its place the Ministry of Finance could be built (which ended up somewhere else). It was a miracle that the architect and urbanist Lúcio Costa (1902-1998), who was then the director of the National School of Fine Arts, had the idea of ​​saving at least the portal of the palace, transporting it, stone by stone, for later reconstruction amid the plants of the Botanical Garden.

Royal Portuguese Reading Room
Downtown (rua Luís de Camões, 30)

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See my post

Ladeira da Misericórdia
Downtown (Largo da Misericórdia)

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See my post

Nossa Senhora da Cabeça Chapel
Jardim Botânico (rua Faro, 80)

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This is actually a secret. There are people who live a lifetime in the Botanical Garden and don’t know that it exists. The Nossa Senhora da Cabeça Chapel is hidden at the top part of this little cross street in the neighborhood and you must ask for permission to enter.

The chapel, built in 1603, sits inside the grounds of a school (and convent) of the Carmelite sisters, the Mello Mattos Maternal House, and is one of the oldest buildings in Rio.

According to the book mentioned at the top, the little church was the private chapel of the Engenho de El Rey, a sugar cane mill that belonged to the governor Martim Correia (1575-1632). It was his family who had brought the image of Nossa Senhora da Cabeça, which gave name to the chapel, from Portugal.

The name of the saint originates from Cerro del Cabezo, in Spain, where an image of the Virgin Mary was hidden during the Muslim occupation. In principle, the nuns allow visitation on weekdays, between 9am and 4pm. But there are exceptions. There have been those who got there and weren’t allowed to enter or photograph the chapel from outside. But if it weren’t like this, it wouldn’t be a secret…

European Institute of Design
Urca (av. João Luis Alves, 13)

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See my post (second half)

Bossa Nova Mall
Downtown (av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha, 365)

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The Bossa Nova Mall is the obvious and evident thing of which Nelson Rodrigues spoke: like that story about Otto Lara Resende always passing by Sugarloaf, but never noticing it – because it was too obvious. Facing Sugarloaf, on the other side of Botafogo bay, there is now another obvious and evident thing: the Bossa Nova Mall, which for the moment few people, even among Cariocas, know.

Right beside Santos Dumont airport, this space – I would not call it a mall – comprised of hotels, restaurants, food trucks and several stores, occupies what was formerly the headquarters of Varig.

With the end of the airline, the building was closed for years, until it was entirely reformed (retrofit, with the structure maintained). Now it’s open to everyone. The easy way up to the terrace, where the Hotel Prodigy’s restaurant operates, is worth a visit. The view is indescribable. The Bossa Nova Mall is the kind of place that leads us to the question: how come no one has thought of this before?

Joatinga
Joá (rua Paschoal Segreto)

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Rio has this unique characteristic: to be a city with millions of inhabitants where, in a few minutes, it’s possible to be in the middle of a forest. Or a secret beach – like Joatinga’s. Among the most hidden beaches in Rio, Joatinga is the most, let’s say, affordable.

Just go down a stepladder. Once down there, you have that feeling of vacationing in some remote place. It’s in Joá, in the west zone (between São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca), in a closed condominium. But anyone can enter.

Once inside the condominium, just look for Rua Sargento José da Silva and on it go down the stairs that leads to the beach. Joatinga is small, it’s about 300 meters long, but, as it’s embedded in the rock wall, it gives one an exclusive, even secret, beach feeling, – that’s its charm. There’s only one problem: at certain times of the year, the wall casts a shadow on the sand and, soon, the sun no longer reaches it. What’s more, during a very high tide, the sea swallows the entire strip of sand and the beach disappears. But these vicissitudes only make Joatinga a rarer place.

Catacumba Lookout
Lagoa (Avenida Epitácio Pessoa, 3,000)

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In the 1990s, photographer and psychoanalyst Hugo Denizart (1946 – 2014) took a series of photographs of Catacumba Park, in Lagoa. The photos showed fragments of the recent past, where the Catacomba favela, removed in 1970, had existed. Denizart photographed steps, pieces of cement, remnants of tiles. Testimonies, in his words, of the human life that had existed there.

To this day, climbing the trail that leads to the Sacopã lookout point, you can find these fragments. Some stone steps are still the same ones that had been placed there by the community. Catacumba Park is an ecological reserve, with a beautiful forest (the hillside has been reforested since 1988). It’s also a place for expositions and adventure tourism. But the Sacopã lookout point is still a less sought after place than it should be, although it’s part of the Transcarioca Trail.

The walk is very quiet and can be done in half an hour at most. And the reward up there is total: one of the most beautiful views of Rio, which includes not only the Lagoa but also Pedra da Gávea, Morro Dois Irmãos, Ipanema beach, Corcovado, everything – and from a less traveled angle.

And returning on the way up to the viewpoint: it is curious to imagine that those stones, that tell so many stories, were also trodden more than 50 years ago by a teenager who was always going up the hill, in search of a party or musical partners. A boy who crossed the Lagoa by a little boat to go to Catacumba. His name was Tom Jobim.

Also see my post and this one on its history

Madureira Park
Madureira (Parque Madureira street, s / nº)

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This virtually everyone knows – but usually only by name. Tourists, as well as locals from the Zona Sul, are somewhat lazy to go to the north of the city, which includes Madureira.

Madureira is one of the most traditional and most Carioca neighborhoods in Rio. If it had no other quality, it would already be sensational for its two bonafide samba schools: Portela and Império Serrano (both were champions in the last Carnival, in their respective groups, to the happiness of crowds).

But Madureira has much more. And, five years ago, the neighborhood got a space for leisure and culture called Parque Madureira.

Madureira Park was built on an immense terrain above which electric transmission lines passed. It was public space, but it was invaded, and families had to be removed. With a 2015 expansion, today it’s the third largest park in the city (at 450K sq. meters long), only losing out to Aterro do Flamengo and Quinta da Boa Vista.

In addition to kiosks, picnic lawns, sports courts, bike paths, waterfalls and ponds, the park has one of the most modern skate tracks in Brazil, where parts of the world championship are held. It also houses the Nave de Conhecimento, a public cyber cafe, and a very well-equipped theater, the Fernando Torres Arena. – Source (PT)

Explore old Rio with this app

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The port of Rio de Janeiro has a rich past, full of stories that go beyond what’s in school books. This is the focus of the first app from Agência Pública for mobile devices, the Museu do Ontem.

The app is yet another launch product from LABs – Laboratories of Innovation in Journalism, by Casa Pública in Rio de Janeiro. It mixes journalism, art, technology and a dash of “Pokemon Go” to bring to the public new insight into the area where Porto Maravilha, one of the symbols of the Rio Olympics, was installed.

With the app, you can be the investigator of its secret past, from the arrival of Dom Joao VI to the recent corruption scandals of Lava Jato. Surely no one is going to see Porto Maravilha in the same way!

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It was there that the Portuguese Royal family landed in 1808; that Princess Isabel signed the Golden Law in 1888, ending slavery; and where the Republic was proclaimed in 1889. But it was also there that the largest slave port of the Americas operated, which received more than 700,000 enslaved blacks, and where President João Goulart held the rally at Central station, used as an excuse for the military coup of 1964.

These and other facts can be discovered by exploring the port area on foot with the app, guided by the current-day map and also by a map from 1830. But watch out! To experience the Museu do Ontem app you must be in Rio’s port area.

And for those outside Rio, stay tuned, because in the coming weeks Agência will launch a remote game, where you can take virtual tours, allowing more people to have access to the content.

Unlike other apps, Museu do Ontem does not allow you to zoom in, zoom out, or move the map. The app shows only what is really close to you. To find out the secrets of the port area, you should go to the nearest location marked on the map. The more you walk, the more parts of the map will be conquered. The app was created by the agency’s journalists in partnership with Dutch developer Babak Fakhazadeh and features illustrations by artist Juliana Russo and narrations by singer Anelis Assumpção. – Source (PT)

Download the app on Google Play. Or on the App Store.


Related: Last year I posted about another Rio history-based app. Now there’s two!

Rio – 1922 vs 1928

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From Revista da Semana, December 1928. Click to enlarge

The Transformation of Rio’s Birthplace

The pictures on this page show two panoramic aspects of a part of Rio, taken from the same viewpoint, with a long interval, one in 1922 and another in 1928. Its publication aims to put the City’s Birthplace in focus. In the upper picture, one sees Morro do Castelo, already threatened by removal, but still almost intact, covering up Sugarloaf and Gloria, Santa Casa da Misericórdia and the Santa Luzia church. In this picture one of the palaces of the Centenarian Expo is under construction, today the Ministry of Agriculture.

One can also see the old historical mansion of the Old Jail, substituted today by the Assembly House, and the empty spot where the Palace of Justice was built. Of the Morro do Castelo, outlined by a broken white line, what remains is what one sees in the lower picture. And it is within that large area that Mr. Agache wants to do his urbanism projects, presented in Revista da Semana in 1921.

The picture below (bottom half) attests to the large transformation that took place in this area. From the historical hill, there are just two knolls, marked by two arrows. The view covers points that were then invisible, which we’ve already mentioned. The following places are marked: 1 – Niteroi. 2 – Ferry station. 3 – Ministry of Transport. 4 – The landfill of the Ponto de Calabouço at the cost of the removal of Morro do Castelo. 5 – The Mercado. 6 – The Department of Telegraphs, a historical home of governors and once the Imperial Palace. 7 – Tiradentes Palace (Chamber of Deputies). 8 – Palace of Justice. 9 – Ministry of Agriculture. 10 – Villegaignon Island. 11 – Santa Casa. 12 – São José Church. 13 – The leveled area of Morro do Castelo. 14 – Santa Luzia Church. 15 – Sugarloaf. 16 – YMCA, the first building built in the removal area. 17 – Glória knoll. 18 – The “skyscrapers” of Avenida Rio Branco.


If you like this, see Rio Panorama and Builders of the City.

Road to Rio’s birthplace

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The Ladeira da Misericórdia was the first public street in Rio de Janeiro, and it led up to Morro do Castelo where the city was ultimately established in 1567. That’s when the then-governor general Mem de Sá transferred the city center there from Urca, along with about 120 Portuguese soldiers, as a strategic security measure to protect the city from invasion. The Ladeira was just a dirt path for the first 50 years until it was paved in 1617.

Morro do Castelo was demolished in 1922 to landfill other parts of Rio, but next to the existing Church of Nossa Senhora do Bonsucesso one can find a small, 40 meter initial stretch of the oldest Carioca street. Despite ending abruptly after the curve, it still features its original cobblestones (in a format known as “pé de moleque”), a job done by two slaves and a mule.

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In September 2017, IPHAN will vote on whether the Ladeira da Misericórdia receives protection as a piece of Rio’s cultural heritage, since it has already given such status to important historical elements in the immediate vicinity. The obvious answer is that it should have had protected status a long, long time ago. At least it no longer looks abandoned as it did in the 1960s

Below are a few historical images of the Ladeira, followed by a short educational video (in PT) on the street.