When the first private businesses started opening in Havana a few years back there were few bars in the city. I remember that two or three opened alongside the more popular private restaurants, or “paladares,” as we call them in Cuba. At first most people stayed away, waiting to see if there was some catch […]
There is something special about Havana, and I’m not just saying that because I am a “Habanera.” I have never travelled outside of the island to visit foreign lands, but those that have feel the same way about Havana. The furthest that I have travelled from what some in Cuba’s capital call “that majestic lady in gray,” due to the condition of our once majestic city, is the distance from Havana to Santiago de Cuba.
There is no other city like Havana, it even has its own odor, if you’ve been here you know it to be so. The sea has a different color, it looks endless and beautiful, in spite of the contamination of the bay and the waters off the “malecon.” And the sky! My goodness, what a beautiful blue! I believe the color of the uniforms of the Industriales, Havana’s baseball team, is a reflection of the Havana sky. But what I find most beautiful about Havana are its streets, even though most of them are full of pot holes. Whoever is planning a visit to Havana should make their own list of streets to walk and enjoy.
My favorites are Fifth Avenue, Prado and of course Twenty-third Street. Each is in a different neighborhood of the city, just like three stories about my friends.
Located in a residential neighborhood, Havana’s Fifth Avenue, we call it “5ta Avenida,” is popular with early morning and late afternoon runners, joggers, dog walkers, skate boarders, and all those who like being in the outdoors, but are wise enough to stay out of the mid-day sun. My friend Hulk appears to thoroughly enjoy our walks here, actually I run and she strolls. This Justice League member loves architecture, and so as we walk along Fifth Avenue block after block she analyzes the houses and mansions along the road, and even critiques the color choices of their owners.
It is possibly Havana’s busiest street, and it is definitely the one my friend Elastic Woman transit the most, especially from G Street to the Rampa, where it ends at the “malecon.” Along this route you can see reproductions of paintings by Cuba’s most important painters, like Wilfredo Lam, Amelia Pelaez, and more. Most do not realize, either because they are in a hurry or because the reproductions are so deteriorated, that they are stepping on sidewalks with mosaics that represent a beautiful outdoor art gallery.
Last, but not least is Prado. The grand avenue and recent stage for a Channel fashion show, is a wonder. Thanks to the Invisible Woman, after the Channel show I had a religious awakening, as singer Enrique Iglesias would say. You see, because of the fashion show the pavement of Prado Street was polished, and after a night of partying my friend insisted that I remove my shoes, and walk barefoot, and I realized why I feel so alive when I walk in Havana!
By Clao York