São Paulo Diary: “The Villa Madá Will Be the Place Pigalle of Sampa!”

The image “https://i0.wp.com/www.hartz.com.br/upload/press/vm_beco_2A_jul2006.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The famous “graffiti alley” (beco), Villa Madá.

Augusta, graças a deus,
Graças a deus,
Entre você e a Angélica
Eu encontrei a Consolação
Que veio olhar por mim
E me deu a mão.
Augusta, que saudade,
Você era vaidosa,
Que saudade,
E gastava o meu dinheiro,
Que saudade,
Com roupas importadas
E outras bobagens.
Angélica, que maldade,
Você sempre me deu bolo,
Que maldade,
E até andava com a roupa,
Que maldade,
Cheirando a consultório médico,
Angêlica …

— Tom Zê

The departure of the workmen ought to be a relief for the area. At least that is what a report from the merchants association and the city government suggests: “Instead of working men, well-dressed men and woman who are elegant in all aspects of their appearance.”

I guess that leaves me out.

Ruas da Vila Madalena vão virar bulevares: “Streets of the Vila Madalena to become boulevards!” G1/Globo reports, regarding our own neighborhood here in São Paulo.
It may sound cynical to suggest that projects like this have an odd way of coming during mayoral election season, but the cynicism is not mine.

It is cynicism overheard from neighboring tables at our favorite Vila Madalena boteco, and really almost a folkloric theory of neighborhood improvement: When the incumbent mayor needs your vote, your street gets a quick repave, along with a cheerful “Vote Quimby!”

By the time the potholes reappear, after the next stiff rain, the election is already over. Plus ça change, plus ça la meme chose.

The Garotinhos of Rio de Janeiro recently had their political rights suspended for several years over an alleged scheme to peg street paving to the production of a specified number of “votes for Quimby.”

Governor Cabral recently said he had put an end to a similar scheme in which high scorers on police promotion exams must deliver similar quotas — deliver the votes — for political patrons in order to secure the promotion.

But see also

And see also

Not that one is implying that this is such a case, but it is something we plan to keep a close eye on.

The city government has a gentrification program going that brings to mind the pharaonic works of Robert Moses in New York City, while the state government is working mightily to complete the Rodoanel — a pharaonic traffic overpass project commenced in the Maluf era that has remained “half-sunk, a shatter’d visage” for well over a decade.

It was astonishing, by the way, to see the political ad for Maluf the other day claiming credit for the recent discovery of oil in the Tupi Basin. As the Folha noted, the ad claimed:

Em 1980, baseado em estudos geológicos, o governador Paulo Maluf criou a Paulipetro. Ao invés de apoio, a iniciativa recebeu calúnias e incompreensões. Vinte e sete anos depois, o projeto de Maluf se confirma. Graças ao petróleo da bacia de Santos, o Brasil vai fazer parte da Opep. PP: visão de futuro”, afirma a inserção.

“In 1980, based on geological studies, Gov. Maluf created Paulipetro, but instead of public support, the project was the object of slander and incomprehension. Twenty-seven years later, Maluf’s project is vindicated. Thanks to the oil in the Santos basin, Brazil will join OPEC. PP: Vision for the future,” the ad stated.

Criada pelo então governador Paulo Maluf em 1979, a Paulipetro tentou encontrar petróleo e gás -mas na bacia do Paraná, no interior do Estado. Em 1981 a empresa descobriu pequenos depósitos de gás em Cuiabá Paulista, sem viabilidade comercial. A empresa foi extinta pelo governador Franco Montoro (PMDB), deixando dívidas de US$ 500 milhões.

Created by then Governor Maluf in 1979, Paulipetro tried to find oil and gas — but in the Paraná Basin, in the interior of the state. In 1981 it discovered small gas deposits in Cuiabá, but they had no commercial value. The company was dissolved by Governor Montoro, leaving debts of US$ 500 million.

Contemporary Brooklynites, meanwhile, contemplating the exercise of eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards project with horror, might consider the plans for the Santa Ifigênia district here and count their blessings. See

The Vila Mada, with its proximity to the University of São Paulo, is, by reputation, a stronghold of petismo — that is, support for the Worker’s Party.

But our state assembly representative, the former MTV Brasil veejay Soninha — proportionally, not directly elected; there is no one you can go directly to to complain about the lack of a stoplight at the crossroads of death here nearby, unlike Brooklyn, where Major Owens has an office right around the corner from where we live, and Tish James is just a short bus ride away — recently jumped ship from the PT to the PPS and is rumored as a potential mayoral candidate.

Students of history, and of Tammany Hall in particular, would have no trouble recognizing the “Vote Quimby free-beer BBQ” tactics frequently reported on here in Brazil, with what can look, at times, to a Martian anthropologist, a bit like highly selective, or least exquisitely casuistic, enforcement of the ambiguous laws against it.

A Vila Madalena vai ganhar no próximo semestre o primeiro projeto criado especificamente para amenizar os problemas entre os bares e a vizinhança. Calçadas serão refeitas e mudanças urbanísticas se espalharão por dez vias dentro do quadrilátero formado pelas Ruas Wisard, Harmonia, Aspicuelta e Mourato Coelho. Orçado em R$ 1,2 milhão, o banho de loja deverá ser financiado em parte pela Subprefeitura de Pinheiros, que tocou o projeto em conjunto com empresários do bairro e moradores, e por uma grande fabricante de cerveja.

Next quarter, the Vila Madalena will get the first project specifically designed to ease the problems of its bars and the neighborhood. Sidewalks will be renovated and urban planning changes will take place along ten streets in the rectangle former by Wisard, Harmonia, Aspicuelta and Mourato Coelho Streets. With a budget of R$1.2 million, this “makeover” is due to be financed in part by the Subprefecture of Pinheiros, which put the project together with area residents and business owners and a major beer manufacturer.

Funny, we did not get the flyer inviting us to the extensive series of public meetings on the project. We live pretty close to Mourato Coelho ourselves.

A idéia é copiar a repaginação da Oscar Freire, nos Jardins, e da Avanhandava, no centro. Ambas tiveram as calçadas alargadas e contam agora com um novo paisagismo, bancado por empresas privadas. Em troca, os empresários da Vila Madalena envolvidos no projeto já entraram com pedido na Câmara Municipal para conseguir, durante o verão e feriados prolongados, um ‘alívio’ nas leis que limitam o funcionamento dos bares na madrugada.

The idea is to copy the makeover provided to Oscar Freire St. in Jardins, and Avanhandava St. downtown.

On the Oscar Freire project, from Terra News, December 2006:

A obra custou cerca de R$ 7 milhões e foi bancada pela Prefeitura, pela associação de lojistas local, e por uma operadora de cartão de crédito. A Oscar Freire ocupa oito quarteirões entre a alameda Casa Branca e a avenida Doutor Arnaldo.

The project cost nearly R$7 million and was bankrolled by the city government, the local merchants association, and by a credit card company. Oscar Freire occupies eight blocks between the Casa Branca Drive and Doctor Arnaldo Avenue.

Know it well.

Vários paulistanos foram conferir a nova rua ao lado da família. Muitos mostraram preocupação com o fato de a obra não estar terminada.

A number of local residents went to look at the newly inaugurated street with their families. Many said they were concerned with the fact that the work was not yet complete.

“Está tudo muito bonito, mas falta acabar. Não podemos ser assim. Precisamos acabar com os maus costumes de deixar as coisas sem fim”, afirmou a esteticista Jorgete Abdo, 60 anos. “Ainda não dá para sentir a mudança. Parece que a obra ainda não terminou”, disse a aposentada Gilde Dourado, 60.

“It’s all very nice, but it needs to be finished. We cannot live with it this way. We need to put an end to the bad habit of leaving things unfinished,” said beauty salon operator Jorgete Abdo, 60. “The changes do not make any sense yet. It seems like the project is not yet complete,” said retiree Gilde Dourado, 60.

Um trecho curto da Oscar Freire ainda não recebeu o calçamento devido. Segundo Rosângela Lyra, presidente da Associação dos Lojistas da Oscar Freire, a obra vai ser finalizada em uma semana.

A short stretch of Oscar Freire has not yet received the sidewalk reforms. According to Rosângela Lyra, president of the merchants association, it should be completed within the week.

Was it?

The Folha said it cost R$8.5 million, by the way. Which was it?

A reforma da Oscar Freire custou R$ 8,5 milhões, dos quais R$ 4,5 milhões pagos pela prefeitura, R$ 3 milhões pela operadora de cartões American Express e R$ 1 milhão dividido entre os lojistas. O próximo passo é ampliar a reforma para outras trechos da rua, para além da Padre João Manoel –um protocolo de intenções será assinado amanhã. “A idéia é que seja 70% dos proprietários e 30% da prefeitura”, afirma Andrea Matarazzo, secretário de Coordenação das Subprefeituras.

The reforms cost $R8.5 million, of which R$4.5 million was paid by the city government, R$3 million by American Express, and a R$1 million by local merchants. The next step is to widen other sections of the street, beyond Padre João Manoel St. — an agreement to that effect is to be signed tomorrow. “The idea is that 70% will be paid by property owners and 30% by the city government,” said Andrea Matarazzo, Secretary of Subprefecture Coordination.

More comments, this from a workingman laboring on the project:

O potiguar Antonio Bezerra da Silva, 48, morador de Guarulhos (Grande SP), disse não folgar há mais de 40 dias. “A última foi no dia da eleição [31 de outubro]”, disse. Após o fim das obras, Silva, salário de R$ 700 não deve passar tão cedo pelo local –a oitava rua comercial mais luxuosa do mundo, diz pesquisa da Excellence Mystery Shopping International.

Rio Grande do Norte native Antonio Bezerra da Silva, 48, who lives in Guarulhos, said he has not had a day off in 40 days. “The last day we had off was election day [October 31],” he said. Once the project is over, Silva, who earns R$700 a month, will probably not be back in the neighborhood anytime soon — it is the eighth most luxurious shopping street in theworld, according to a survey by Excellence Mystery Shopping International.

“Compro o que preciso em Guarulhos. Quando venho a São Paulo, vou à 25 de Março.” O prefeito Gilberto Kassab (PFL) e a representante da Dior no Brasil, Rosângela Lyra, presidente da associação dos lojistas, comandarão a cerimônia amanhã.

“I buy what I need in Guarulhos. When I come to the city, I go to the 25 de Março,” he said. Mayor Kassab (PFL) and Dior’s representative in Brazil, Rosângela Lyra, president of the merchants association, will preside over the ceremony tomorrow.

On the current city administration and the 25 de Março — where Windows Vista, Paraguayan Edition, for example, was for sale a week before its official release — see

On the fate of a bingo parlor named in Matarazzo’s honor, see

A reputed mob lawyer was arrested earlier this year with a spreadsheet in his possession indicating payoffs to nearly every police precinct in the area to leave bingo (gambling joints) alone.

São Paulo: Deputy mayor Matarazzo evangelizes a plastic surgery-enhanced local Oprah.

Another case involves the subprefect of Butantã. Eager to know the outcome of such cases? Be patient. Be very, very patient.

As in, wait until the statute of limitations has run — or at least, until the elections are over — and then facts might be forthcoming.

What ever happened to Operatio Themis, for example?

A saída dos operários deve ser um alívio para a região. Ao menos é o que indica informe da associação de lojistas e da prefeitura: “No lugar dos operários, homens e mulheres bem vestidos e com a aparência favorecida em todos os aspectos”.

The departure of the workmen ought to be a relief for the area. At least that is what a report from the merchants association and the city government suggests: “Instead of working men, well-dressed men and woman who are elegant in all aspects of their appearance.”

“Nessa área, queremos ter horários diferenciados e mesas nas calçadas até 3, 4 horas”, diz Flávio Pires, dono de três casas na região e presidente da Associação de Gastronomia, Entretenimento, Arte e Cultura. “O paulistano está acostumado a sair de casa tarde, só que a lei não deixa a gente colocar mesas na calçada depois da meia-noite e temos de fechar as portas para não vazar barulho. Isso mata a noite de São Paulo. Queremos retomar a boemia.”

“In this area, we want permission to operate during different hours, and for tables on the sidewalks until 3 or 4 am, ” said Flávio Pires, owner of three nightclubs in the area and president of the Gastronomy, Entertainment, Art and Culture Association. “São Paulo residents are just to going out late, but the law does not let us put tables on the sidewalk after midnight, and we have to close the doors to avoid making noise. This is killing the night life. We want to bring back the bohemia.”

We were passing through the area the other evening looking for a good place to eat and were astonished at how absolutely jam-packed it was.

We wound up finding safe haven at the venerable Martin Fierro.

Interestingly, the enredo of last year’s presentation by the local carnival society, Pérola Negra [saravá] had to do with ethical, sustainable development for the region.

And was co-sponsored by the BOVESPA, highlighting its Novo Mercado governance-based, tiered listing system. See

“What is the greatest pride of the São Paulo native today?” Top answer: “Stick a fork in it, this sucker is done.” Second: “Cultural ferment and bohemia.” Third: “The power of money.” Fourth: “The Mayor’s Clean City law.” Source: the late, lamented
No Mínimo.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s