Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Welcome to The 'New' Bronx

Welcome to the New Bronx
 It was called a 'living hell,' with drug addicts of all ages, child prostitutes, torture chambers and illicit cemeteries, located just a few blocks from City Hall and the Presidential Palace, until in May 2016 the city sent in thousands of police and cleared it out, scattering the criminals and addicts all over the city.

Since then, that living hell has been a dead zone: Devastated buildings and vacant streets.

However, the city of Bogotá has big plans for the one-time Bronx (also known as La Ele): It aims to turn the neighborhood into an arts and clothing design district, altho it's also talked about education and housing facilities.

Artists show off work in the military
recruitment complex alongside
the Bronx.
Until Friday, they're holding an odd festival in the ex-Bronx and the neighboring military recruitment center, with art, music and theatre, as well as photos portraying the Bronx's horrific past.

But plans here have a way of not becoming reality, and so far the signs of revitalization in the Bronx are hard to spot. However, the city is making improvements nearby. The historic but notorious Los Martyrs Plaza has been cleaned up, and the adjoining Iglesia del Voto Nacional is being renovated.

Nevertheless, just a few blocks away, addicts who might have once live in El Bronx smoke crack against walls and seated in piles of garbage.

But the old Bronx is still there, just empty.
Visitors to the old, vacant Bronx with its photo exhibit recalling worse times.

No entrance to the old Bronx, even tho there's nothing there.

Empty streets and vacant, bombed-out buildings.

A homeless drug addict sits beside Los Martires Plaza.

The Iglesia del Voto Nacional is under renovation.
Used things, perhaps stolen, for sale on Martires Plaza. This used to go on inside El Bronx.

In the Los Martires you see grand homes of what was once a wealthy neighborhood.

Drug addicts now hang out on the nearby Plaza España.

Smoking dope against a nearby wall.

A few blocks from El Bronx, smoking crack in piles of garbage. 

Welcome to the New Bronx.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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