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have been raised, most of which, although originally destined for other purposes, have been claimed by the increasing demands of business.
The part of the city occupied by private residences surrounds the business part, and the farther one gets from the business center, the greater number of modern houses are found. New thoroughfares spring up every day, and grounds which not long ago were used to raise lucerne, are now covered with fashionable dwellings. Everywhere, new buildings are seen entirely different from the antique style of architecture. Many rich families have set the example by building beautiful homes, in which they display a luxury unknown before.
These residences are designed from the Parisian private hotels, the chalets of Norway, the Moorish alcazars, the Italian palaces, the great seignorial castles of France, while some are modeled after Spanish castles. From Paris, principally, comes the furniture for these residences, splendid tapisseries, paintings of the best masters, and objects of art, dernières nouveautés, etc.
Several Parisian houses have sent their own men to superintend the furnishing of these dwellings, which the most gorgeous private hotels of Paris can not rival.
Vain would be the attempt to distinguish among the new and old-fashioned houses those which are occupied by the high officials of the Government, the President himself, or the foreign diplomatic ministers. The difference of fortune only, and not of official rank, marks the difference of dwellings. The State does not provide residences for officials. A man occupying a high position in the Government is not required to have a grand establishment. The President and his ministers go every day to the Government House to transact the business of the day; but they all live in their own houses, more or less elegant according to their private means, their salary not being sufficient to allow them to live with greater luxury.
The principal driving park of Buenos Aires is Palermo, where over 3,000 carriages are to be seen on Sundays and Thursdays, on which days, Palermo is better patronized by the wealthy classes.
Says an English writer:
Successive mayors have done their best to add to the embellishment of this beautiful park, but it was left to an Englishman to give it the crowning beauty by establishing arches of electric lights, by which the gayety of the day might be prolonged into the night. Coming suddenly by train out of the darkness into the broad belt of brilliant light crossing the avenue of palms, catching a rapid glimpse as you rush by of the endless string of carriages and figures on horseback, is like taking a momentary peep into fairyland. When one is among the gay throng, however, the weird shadows of the trees, the dazzling electric
light throwing over everything a glamour as of moonlight, leave an impression on the mind like the first reading of “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”
While all the carriage people, however, and equestrians go on to Palermo, a favorite resort for a saunter on foot is the Recoleta, with its grotto and rockwork, its artificial waterfall, subtropical plants, shrubs, and flowers, its well-kept paths and shady seats. Here, on any fine “feast day,” between the hours of 2 and 5 in the afternoon, may be seen a crowd, which, for variety, has not its equal. Groups of laughter-loving girls, clad in costumes of all the prismatic colors; knots of happy, careless youths, smart as tailors' models; types of every race and color, white, tawny, red, yellow, black, active and infirm, young and old, rich and poor, all mingling together, promenading, gossiping, flirting, ogling, and over all a sky as deeply blue, a sun as bright, as anything of which Italy can boast. But, bright and animated as is the Recoleta at the time and hours named, its greatest charms are revealed a few hours later, when the throng has dispersed and evening has set in with its balmy breezes. The magnolia, the cape jasmine, and other flowers of the season load the air with their sweetness; the chicharras sing in the trees; the tree frogs chirp their peculiar, piercing note, while myriads of fireflies, like tiny stars, dance and flicker among the shrubs. There is an especially prominent knoll overlooking the whole of the grounds, and commanding a wide view of the river and roofs of the houses, extending even beyond the forest of masts in the Boca. Here, on a summer evening, it is delightful to sit and enjoy the cool air and watch the broad, shimmering track of the moon over the wide and tranquil Rio de la Plata.
There are several pretty suburbs : Belgrano, almost contiguous to Palermo, and the adjoining pueblos of San Martin, San Isidro, San Fernando, and the Tigré, while in the south, there are Lomas, Adragué, and Temperly, and in the west, the Caballito, Flores, and Moron.
Flores, Temperly, and Belgrano, are the districts mostly patronized by the better class of English families, and many of their quintas or villas have quite a homelike appearance.
From Lomas to Santa Catalina, where the Government maintains a very fine agricultural college, and from San Martin or Belgrano to the Tigré, there are very pretty bits of scenery, reminding one, at times, of some parts of Cambridgeshire.
Adragué is an aspiring suburb, which already has the electric light and boasts of one of the pleasantest hotels in the country, called “Las Delicias.” It is surrounded by extensive grounds, and is the favorite resort of young couples during their honeymoon. During the hot months, it is a delightfully cool place to live
at, and has lately considerably advanced in fashion since the President of the Republic, Dr. Pelligrini, has here established his private summer residence. The most pretentious and fashionable suburb, however, is the Tigré, at the
confluence of the rivers Paraná and Lujan, about an hour's run from the city, and formerly the terminus of the old Northern Railway. It is here that the English rowing clubs of Buenos Aires and Montevideo hold their regattas, and hither, during the season, come the picnic, riding, and driving parties from
There are over sixty hotels in Buenos Aires, besides innumerable boarding houses. Of the restaurants, the writer quoted above adds the following:
Whatever may be the shortcomings of some of the hotels of Buenos Aires, they are more than balanced by the excellence and magnificence of the restaurants. There are several that may be called first clas
Says the same writer:
No city in the world of equal size and population can compare with Buenos Aires for the number and extent of its tramways. Not only do the urban tram lines stretch beyond the city boundaries to the outlying districts, north, south, and west for distances of 10, 12, and 15 miles, but from the very heart of the city, spring tracks which, when completed, will extend for hundreds of miles into the province, connecting many of its most important colonies and, in a great measure, superseding railways.
There are seven tramway companies in Buenos Aires, and the combined length of their roads amounts to no less than 179 miles. (In London there are only 116 miles.)
The number of passengers carried in 1890 was over 55,000,000, or an average of 152,000 per diem.
The relative importance of the various companies may be seen from the subjoined statistics for the eleven months from January to November, 1890: