A quiet retreat in downtown Recife

Interestingly, a week ago, Diario did a piece (PT) on how high walls hide the stories of Recife’s old houses.

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(Photos: Bobby Fabisak)

“Who would imagine that on Rua do Riachuelo, between the problematic streets Gervásio Pires and Hospício, crowded by cars and shops, there is a quiet retreat, surrounded by greenery? The Santo Antônio residential village is a little piece of the 1940s that endured time and the increasingly evident verticalization process in Recife. The ten houses diverge completely from the scenario offered by the commercial area of the Boa Vista neighborhood. All of them with low walls, gates, plants and flowers. A true dream for locals who were lucky enough to get a space in this island located in the middle of downtown.

The space goes unnoticed by those who drive down Rua do Riachuelo. The alley numbered 485 gives access to another street where the village was built, behind the sporting court of a school and an eight-story building. Before, it was a mansion, built in 1900. All ten houses were built in the backyard of the mansion and belong to the Lobo Silva family. Eight are rented and two other are occupied by the heirs of Maria do Carmo and Lindolfo Alves da Silva, who created the place.

“They were made around 1947, at the request of my grandmother who wanted to rent the houses. My grandfather obliged and everything looks the same as it did then. Only in two of them live members of the family,” said Ana Cristina Lobo Silva, 47 years old. She is the daughter of the couple’s only living heir, Mary Pompeii, 87, who was also born in the mansion. “I have the option to leave, but I like it here, where I’ve lived since I was born. It’s close to everything and very quiet. It doesn’t feel like downtown Recife. I don’t hear the buzzing,” said Ana. She also said there’s a huge demand to live there. “Many people, of all ages, want to live in one of these houses. Currently, many elderly and children live here, but also middle-aged people, looking for peace and tranquility.”

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The family of nursing student João Araujo, 19, has been living in house number 11 for a decade. Before, they had their own house, which they rented out to get the money to pay for the house where they live now. “We live off the rent we get now. It’s like a different world that exists outside. It’s another planet. When one speaks of downtown, everyone thinks about gray colors, rushing and buzzing. But no. This here is the proof that it’s possible to live in a good, safe place,” said João.

Ana Cristina celebrates the fact the location provides security for the local residents. Although access to the homes is unguarded, without gates or bars, no crime was ever recorded there. “We never had problems. The only annoyance is that sometimes, strangers want to use the parking spaces. Suddenly, we’ll come home and cars are parked here, because it’s open. But other than that, no stress,” she explained.

Just a huge iron grid, with chains and padlocks, make up part of bucolic scenery of the village. It keeps part of the original house safe, whose front faces Gervásio Pires street. It’s a treasure that also wasn’t given up to the giant construction companies who are always looking to build even taller buildings. The ten houses and the mansion, which depend on the owners, will long protect the histories and families in search of days that differ from the well-known and exhaustive routine of Recife.” – Source (PT)

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One response to “A quiet retreat in downtown Recife

  1. Pingback: April Round Up | Eyes On Recife·

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