San Pedro de Pinta

Calzada del Valle Shopping Center

Calzada del Valle Shopping Center

Vitapista, San Pedro Garza García

Vitapista, San Pedro Garza García

Try to imagine Mexico in 1890. The country was only eighty years out from its 1810 declaration of independence. When the thirteen American colonies declared their independence, an eight-year war with the British followed. In Mexico’s case, the war with Spain lasted eleven years. In 1861, Napoleon III sent French troops to the port of Vera Cruz. At the time, the notion that Europeans could regain control of the Americas wasn’t so far-fetched. After a failed first attempt, the French rolled into Mexico City a year later and declared the Belgian Maximilian Emperor of Mexico. Wresting power back from the invaders was a messy affair that included Maximilian’s death by firing squad.  The political scene didn’t really settle down until 1884 when Porfirio Díaz was elected president for the third (nonconsecutive) time. The years that followed were ones of modernization and business expansion. The downside was that it took a revolution to finally get Díaz out in 1911.

But in 1890 things were going well for the country when a group of Monterrey businessmen started a brewery they called Cervecería Cuauhtémoc. (today Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, Mexico’s second largest brewing company, owned by Heineken). Other businesses like that of the Santos’ brothers (see October 7th post) followed. Today, a century after the Mexican Revolution began, the continued fruits of the regiomontano (adjective form of Monterrey) spirit of industry and innovation are readily apparent along Calzada (Avenue) del Valle Alberto Santos in San Pedro Garza García, the affluent suburb southwest of downtown Monterrey with over 125,000 residents. The immaculate and landscaped thoroughfare designed in the 1940’s is still maintained by municipal gardeners on a daily basis. The Vitapista, a popular walking path runs down the center of the tree-covered median bisecting the 2.5-kilometer (1 ½-mile) boulevard. Midway, the six-lane avenue intersects with Calzada San Pedro at a gigantic roundabout that inexperienced drivers should avoid. 

The majestic Rotonda, ringed by sleek commercial buildings, is the heart of Colonia del Valle, the oldest residential neighborhood in San Pedro Garza García. Pedestrian bridges rise over the Rotonda or Paseo de los Duendes (The Elves Walkway), keeping cars and people separate. Joggers run by in T-shirts from Harvard, the University of Texas, UCLA, UDEM (Universidad de Monterrey) and Monterrey Tec. Among them are engineers, lawyers, doctors and businessmen and women who help drive Monterrey’s success.

On Sundays until 1 pm, pedestrians take over the entire Calzada del Valle, its shorter original name, thanks to the hugely successful and popular municipal program called “San Pedro de Pinta” (a reference to the slang term for skipping school). It has its own Facebook page with nearly 22,000 “likes.” Kids on skates and bikes, parents with toddlers in wagons, elderly couples and flirting teenagers spill over the wide median and into the avenues on either side. There are dance and drum demonstrations and an open-air yoga class. At the Home Depot booth, kids hammer and saw to their heart’s content. In the Rotonda, vendors hawk their original arts and crafts or tacos de nopal, churros and more.  

To best understand San Pedro de Pinta, watch the charming video below (Spanish not necessary to understand) that shows it better than words can describe.

Trackbacks

  1. […] early walk the Calzada Del Valle Alberto Santos before the weekly San Pedro de Pinta got rolling (see my October 14 blog post). At 8:30 I came along just in time for the start of the Cartoon Run, an event for hundreds […]

  2. […] along the Vita Pista, a popular walking and jogging trail in the heart of Colonia del Valle (see October 14 post). At first, donor traffic will be light, growing as the sun rises higher. Elderly couples, families […]

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