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09.04.2009

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Zona Rosa
Zones of Mexico City

First class financial and commercial district in Mexico City, the Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) is a place in which the tradition has always been modernity.

Zona Rosa is located within Colonia Juárez, its limits are Paseo de la Reforma, Florencia, Chapultepec Avenue and Insurgentes Avenue. Like the rest of Colonia Juárez, it was originated at the end of the 19th Century, and started out as a residential area characterized by large houses and small eclectic mansions that belonged to distinguished personalities of Porfirian society. 

In its first years, Colonia Juárez wasnt built up a lot and its location at the time, outside of the Historical Centre, originated a sort of isolation from the city, accentuated by the social characteristics of its inhabitants and their residences, constructed in European style along streets named after the Old Continents cities. This isolation within the city led Zona Rosa to be declared a neutral area during the coup détat of 1913, also known as Decena Trágica, and to shelter the ambassadors and diplomatic representatives of Mexico within the walls of its Geneve Hotel.

Decades later, in the midst of the countrys economical development after the Second World War in the late 1940s, a lot of big hotels were built around Paseo de la Reforma, like the María Isabel and the Reforma Hotels, among others. As a result, the avenue and surrounding area became  attractive to foreign tourists, a situation that motivated changes in the areas land use regulations. Because of this, the owners of the elegant houses started renting out their garages to people who requested space for their boutiques and businesses and, after recognizing the demand for space, ended up selling the houses which were rapidly turned into luxurious restaurants and exclusive night clubs. This phenomenon was documented in Carlos Fuentes novel La Región más transparente (The most transparent region).

Colonia Juárez was thus invested in by several businessmen, mainly focused on tourism, who opened elegant hotels like the Presidente, as well as modern and sophisticated commercial centres like the Jacarandas Mall, with its coffee shops, fashion boutiques, art galleries and exotic personalities from artistic and literary spheres who used to meet there, like José Luis Cuevas, Vicente Rojo, Manuel Felguérez and Vicente Leñero, the latter being attributed with having named the area as Zona Rosa. Leñero thought the area was too shy to be red, too daring to be white. The streets of Zona Rosa became a fashionable place and its coffee houses a place to see and be seen, the citys meeting place. 

In the 1980s Zona Rosa began a period of decay, allowing other areas, such as Polanco, to outshine it. With a low demand in the area, other social groups saw an opportunity to settle themselves there, such as the Korean community and specially the gay community, which has since established a great number of businesses ranging from sex shops and boutiques, to famous night clubs, all of which has led the Zona Rosa to become, without being a gay neighbourhood, one of the first places of open respect for the rights of this community, chiefly manifested every year with the Gay Pride Parade on Paseo de la Reforma, each last Saturday of June. These groups, as well as strong investments in housing, hotels and shops around Paseo de la Reforma, are injecting new life into its streets with innovative projects like Reforma 222, one of the most successful buildings in the city in recent years, as well as the Park Hyatt, St. Regis and Ritz Carlton hotels which are to be inaugurated in coming years and which promise to bring life back to the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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