Malvón Tango
Ricardo García Blaya

A private passageway without owner

his curious, beautiful and picturesque passageway in Núñez is called Ushuaia and its name was given by its neighbors. It is located between the present 3 de Febrero Street in the 2800 block and the rail tracks of the Ferrocarril Mitre (railway line), Tigre branch.

Its story dates back to the 70’s in the nineteenth century, when the railway line blocked the access to the landowners whose front doors faced the rail tracks. And it has to do with an urban need, because it was necessary to give a solution to those neighbors who were victims of progress.

I don’t know if due to their own will or after the suggestion of the authorities, the owners of the parcels in the middle of the block –west sidewalk-, facing 3 de Febrero, granted a path of about five meters wide by a hundred meters long, with all the features of a right of passage but without documentary instrumentation.

Due to this factual easement, it kept its character of private passageway until the mid- thirties, now right in the twentieth century.

I don’t remember if in 1935 or 36, the Deliberative Council of the City of Buenos Aires issued an Ordinance recognizing that alley as of public nature. But this regulation was never improved by administrative consequent acts.

Because of that reason, the municipal land registry did not reflect the new public condition of the passageway even though the said ordinance was filed with its number and date, in the corresponding plane table.

The magic realism which sprang up from the administrative bureaucracy kept a passageway without owner within the particular domain, in spite of the fact that the seven doors of the seven houses leading onto it and which, for that only reason, ought to have changed its original private condition.

So the things happened until, in the early years of the twenty-first century, a couple of real estate speculators bought one of the two real estate properties which allowed the easement (the other one is my house). The idea was to build, there, a tower surpassing 17 meters high with a dividing wall next to the alley.

It was the classic cheat which took advantage of a formal error, of an omission, to make a very lucrative profit by damaging the urban heritage.

The preparatory work began, they demolished the building that was there and, even though the neighbors —myself leading those efforts—, stopped that they would carry out that grotesque nightmare by means of a presentation before the authorities of the government of the city, we were unable, however, to prevent their cutting down a centennial pine-tree which was on that plot.

But we succeeded in preserving the landscape in its original context, with its simple little houses, the brick background of the old Vicente Cadillach & Cía. cork factory, the balcony of my house, geraniums and a ditch, which was what was really important.

As a finale, with the help of a tango, paraphrasing Francisco García Jiménez:

Malvón, balcón y sol,
en su acuarela
la callejuela
de Núñez pinta...”

(The Núñez alley depicts geranium, balcony and sun in its watercolor)