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"coolest" streets in the world: number 7 in São Paulo

Sao Paulo, SP
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"coolest" streets in the world: number 7 in São Paulo

in the very subjective world of "best" lists, Time Out has published one about the "coolest streets"...


Rua Três Rios in São Paulo listed as #7... amongst places mentioned is traditional, basic (but not dirt cheap; actually more expensve than an average meal) Greek restaurant Acrópoles... traditionally there is no menu; you go see what they made that day and choose from that (something not to the taste of everyone):


And a small, also basic Korean restaurant. Hwang To Gil:


and a Korean bakery and coffee shop:


this is the Bom Retiro area (known for its apparel stores - some of them only sell a minimum number of pieces, no fitting rooms etc as they are more geared to resellers)... Bom Retiro was originally a mostly Jewish neighborhood, then it turned Korean and more and more Bolivian nowadays, reflecting different immigration waves:


[Smith Street in Melbourne is #1 in ranking]

1 reply
Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
10 988 posts
2 reviews
2 helpful votes
1. Re: "coolest" streets in the world: number 7 in São Paulo

a local paper picked up and followed up on story... rough google translation:

"About a week ago, British magazine "TimeOut", a publication known for being a travel guide around the world, placed Três Rios on its list of the "coolest streets in the world" — in the ranking, it occupies 7th place. Among the justifications, the "diversified and constantly evolving" identity and some of the tourist attractions that surround the place stand out, such as the Pinacoteca, for example. But what makes the street in downtown São Paulo, more specifically in the neighborhood of Bom Retiro, so cool? To understand, Nossa went there looking for answers.

Those arriving at the address find one of the traditional streets in the region. The modern skyscrapers that take over the city of São Paulo, on Três Rios, are non-existent. The buildings, in their majority, do not exceed ten floors and add the historical architecture of other buildings that are also part of the rest of the surrounding neighborhoods, such as República and Santa Cecília. The movement is constant. It can be seen from everywhere: Korean young people, adults and seniors; Jews with their traditional kippahs; Colombians speaking to each other in Spanish; and, of course, many Brazilians mingling among all these — as is our habit...

A Casa do Povo

At the heart of Três Rios is the Casa do Povo, a cultural center built right after World War II, in 1946, and founded by Jews in order to continue the secular and humanist Jewish culture that Nazi-fascism tried to silence in Europe.

The modern building of architect Ernest Carvalho Mange is, as "TimeOut" says, "legendary". "We say it's been the coolest street for a while! It took a while to be on a list," says Mayara Vivian, coordinator of community action at Casa do Povo. "Part of the neighborhood still doesn't understand its diversity. We have everything from people who created their factories and stores here to immigrants who arrived yesterday. That's what makes the street so interesting."

"If we gentrify and build standardized buildings, from a process of "sanitization" and exclusion, we will be just another boring street full of dull people." When I mention comments which confuse the term "coolest" with "prettier", Mayara opines: "The prettiest street might even be Oscar Freire, for example, but we don't even have the money to buy a coffee there . So, if it's 'nice and pretty' for a small part of the population, it's because it's not cool and pretty. It's just a facade."

A few meters from the House of the People, David Ben Avram is seated at one of the first tables for those who enter the "Burikita", a snack bar full of Yugoslav goodies. The salty pastry that gives the establishment its name is exalted by the 75-year-old man, with a bushy mustache and hair parted on the side: "It's a puff pastry stuffed with white cheese. Everything is made here."

The place in question, now managed by him, was born in the kitchen at home with his mother, Matilda, who can be seen on a portrait that decorates the environment alongside her husband, Avraham — both from then Yugoslavia, currently Serbia. "We have a history. My parents arrived 76 years ago and Burikita has been here for 60", he says. He comes from a Jewish family and, like his entire family, was born in Yugoslavia. "I don't know the whole world, but Três Rios is really interesting."

"It's a place of different races: Italian, Korean, Jewish, Peruvian, Bolivian. It's an international street." His brother, Miki, who had a prescription glasses store on the street, adds: "Other neighborhoods may have many things, but here we have everything you need: Korean and Brazilian supermarkets, many snack bars, various types of stores".

Paraguayan Nancy Elizabeth, 35, met Jin Sook Ahni, 52, while walking on Três Rios Street and noticed a sign announcing that the Korean food store needed a new employee. "We agree that Três Rios is one of the coolest streets in the world because of the movement we have here," says Nancy. Jin, who has owned the establishment for 14 years, emphasizes that, in addition to the miscegenation present in the place, the happiness of Brazilians is one of the crucial points for the street's success.

"They're all very polite," she says in a thick accent. "It's a lot of joy. I have a small son and I really like him to learn everything here."

Fabric stores are cited as a highlight by "TimeOut", which refers to them as a "hub for young São Paulo designers looking for material for their creations". The argument is reinforced by Sibecio Alves Santos, 46, better known as Berlin, who works in one of them. "The store has been in existence for over 30 years," he explains. "Many young people come looking for fabrics to make clothes. I've seen this for 25 years working here. In addition, Três Rios is full of culture on all sides."

Maria Aparecida Merlini, the fabric store's oldest employee, does not hesitate to say how "wonderful" the street is. "I think it's wonderful, everything here is wonderful," she tells her over and over again. "Bom Retiro as a whole, actually. I've lived here for 30 years, my children studied around the region, I work here. My whole life is in this region".

At Coronel Fernando Prestes Square, at the end of Três Rios, lawyers Caroline Lourenço, 32, and Washington Rocha, 28, walk with their golden retriever duo: Ted and Moa. "There's everything here, the diversity is great", says Carol, who lives in one of the streets parallel to Três Rios. "Food, drink... Near a theater, Casa do Povo. We usually come here to walk the dogs." Washington, who was born and still lives on the street, however, also raises the danger that surrounds the place.

"After city hall built a hospital near here, I thought it would change. They opened the place, but they didn't really take in the street people. They wander around without any structure. Many people complain that they're afraid to go out." The "B side" of Três Rios is reinforced by Caroline, who, unlike the other interviewees, says that the lack of street infrastructure, such as lighting, for example, leaves something to be desired. "It's dangerous at night," she says. "There are always street lamps malfunctioning. And there are people who are drug users and homeless people that we even know, but there are some who we don't. Some of them leave the Luz region and end up stealing cell phones. In fact, whatever you have, they'll steal."

Despite the wealth of diversity that Rua Três Rios welcomes, with the coming and going of various miscegenations, as "TimeOut" points out, poverty is also wide open, as in the rest of the entire central region of São Paulo. According to the last census carried out by the City of São Paulo, in 2019, the number of people living on the streets throughout the city jumped from 15 thousand to 24 thousand in the period from 2015 to 2019. In the downtown area, the lack of social assistance to these individuals is even more evident due to the proximity to the region known as Cracolândia, in Luz, where several police actions are carried out constantly and results are not delivered to the population, to shopkeepers,and, mainly, to homeless people.

As reported by Folha de S. Paulo, former hostels that used to house part of Cracolândia's population were expropriated and boarded up and should be demolished in the coming months. The municipal service closest to the users, which was located on Helvétia Street, called Atende 2, was closed and shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. Casa do Povo, mentioned at the beginning of this article, carries out weekly projects to assist these people, from the distribution of food baskets to workshops."

link to original article (with some pics):


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