When repeatedly reminded there are certain things that cannot be done, the more I desire it. It is human nature, the feeling of constraints, the inability to be free-spirited… feeling trapped.
Under “normal” circumstances I was to be in NYC now. My town, my people. It has not turned out that way, for the obvious, precautionary reasons.
“Hot Foot Juju” is anxious for an adventure, the soles of my new trekking boots are unworn.
In New York, I would put one foot in front of the other and take on Manhattan on early mornings or cold rainy days, aimlessly walking the streets and talking to strangers was my pastime. I would always look up or stare down at something, New York City streets always had some mystery for me leading towards discoveries. I never looked ahead to where I was going- not knowing was the thrill of the adventure for the day.
If it has always worked for me in my hometown town or whatever city I was contracted to work in, how can it not be as adventurous here? IT WAS!
In my mind I travelled to 72nd Street and Broadway Junction, I visited the 79th street boat basin, saw the Ansonia and the Dakota. Walked over stoned cobbled streets of the meat packing district, I listened to celestial hymns at Saint John the Divine, got my hair done on 5th Avenue, went gallery hopping in Soho, attended an art opening in Chelsea and purchased art supplies on Canal Street and lastly, saw Jersey from Bennet Park. I felt New York, while a bit homesick all week in 106 square kilometers, in Ribadeo.
I fell in love with Ribadeo in 2010, it seemed reminiscent of the small New England fishing towns that line the North American coast. Cottages, stately homes, remnants of history with every pace. The salty sea mist on the skin when Northern winds blow.
I live a little over 7km from center village and unlike New England, the recorded history here goes way back to the Iron Age, Gallaeci Celtic tribes. I live in a place where a Gallacci settlement from 300 B.C. can be seen from the top floor of my house. I can travel into the the lost world to a waterfall and a lake in a forest, untouched since its creation with ferns that span four feet wide, tree trunks and branches on the birch trees covered in thick heavy moss, a 5 minute walk from my home. I can find petroglyphs on the banks of the river that surround my property and walk on the fields where Napoleonic troops were defeated at the battle of Arante, through the woods from my house, that marked the liberation of Galicia from the French in 1809.
Lately I need buzz, I need city noise, need to see unfamiliar faces and faces whose names I have forgotten or confuse with another. I needed to see and talk to the real people who have been virtual internet company since March. I needed my center Villa, a place I often avoid and only visit when absolutely necessary since moving into the woods.
La Casa Rosa:My Ansonia
I have walked Broadway from the southern tip to the northern end in Manhattan many times since my teens. The thoroughfare fascinated me, the noticeable changes crossing a walk way from one corner street to another; it became a different world when crossing the invisible border into a neighbourhood. My favourite will always be the 72nd Street and Broadway junction. Always looking up when I walked past the building, the admiration I have for the Ansonia will, since a child, remain intact, not to be confused with the love I hold for the Chrysler Building.
In Ribadeo, La Rua de San Roque became my Broadway for a day. It is a street where all the stately homes were built after the repatriation of all the emigrants who sought their fortune in the Americas during the mid to late 1800s. It is a small street where time has abruptly stopped and you can easily imagine horse drawn carriages coming down the cobbled street.
The one building that towers over San Roque is an eye-catching shade of pink referred to as La Casa Rosa, The Pink House. A modernist structure quite plain if compared to the overly ornate Ansonia, it bears a sense of mystery. What ever happened behind closed doors during its glory on the grandest street of Ribadeo?
The round windows, the domes crowning the building, the lone curved balcony on the second floor and the decorative plaster on the curved corner of scrolled vines and floral motifs are representative of the romanticism of the Belle Epoque.
Now private apartments, many with very little signs of life, the large foreboding entry way with dark chestnut doors is my limit until I gain access- it is my Ansonia here.
Torre de Los Morenos:My Dakota
When most mention the Dakota on West 72nd Street, what comes to mind is
Polanski´s film, Rosemary´s Baby and the assassination of John Lennon. In Ribadeo, I have La Torre de los Morenos, although, for what I know, it does not have a history of satanic practices nor a murder, it does have its tragic history. La Torre de los Morenos is the tower that made me take a U-turn after a bridge crossing when I saw the shimmering red tiles driving over El Puente de los Santos 10 years ago.
A symbol and the identity of the villa, yet it is the forgotten tower. It was built by two ambitious brothers, Pedro and Juan Moreno Ulloa, who like many, made their fortune in Argentina and returned to their homeland, were philanthropic and wanted progress towards a modern age.
La Torre de los Morenos is opulent; stained glass, fretwork, red glazed ceramic, domes with Greek Caryatids, cast iron galleries overlooking Plaza de España, arches, polychrome glass- eclectic. Many at the time said modernist while the brothers vision was of a fairy tale tower similar to those in eastern europe.
Every architectural style of the time was incorporated into the structure and it is a tragic beauty with forbidden access.
Construction began in 1911, the site was the old Medieval Tower of the fortress surrounding the villa.
Like many, the Moreno Brothers believed invention was progress towards the modern age. Although the building is beautiful in its faded splendour, the foundation of the building poorly set with a mixture of the new construction material of the time, cement, La Torre de Los Morenos once completed was never inhabited. The brothers dream of a modern building where everyone will be granted access to no matter rich or poor failed. The modern apartments of the early 1900s with electricity, central heating, running water, a lift, eight interior courtyards, a bathroom to every flat rental all flooded with natural light and proper ventilation never had a tenant. The future of La Torre de los Morenos as of today continues to be uncertain. With every passing year tiles fall, vandals destroy and a meshed barrier is slowly hiding its deterioration making it disappear.
Although different view, the difference 10 years make. I snapped the photos above in summer of 2010, The one to the right was taken on 02 October 2020.
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