I took a walk to Polanco yesterday, strolled around the area and met a young friend for lunch. Polanco is one of the wealthiest parts of the city, full of offices and hotels and upscale businesses and homes. It is a lovely area to walk around in, quite stately and planned seeming. There is a lot of great architecture both new and old, and the money is on display everywhere. I’ve decided I like my neighborhood a lot more than Polanco.
Polanco seems to me to be much more about pretension and showing off. Polanco desperately want to tell the rest of the world how cultured it is, how much money it has, how it has arrived on the world stage. And it seems this has been its goal since its streets were first laid out with names of famous Greek and Roman philosphers (Plato, Socrates, Seneca, etc), mostly English and French speaking writers and luminaries (Emerson, Poe, Dumas, Byron, etc), and scientific greats (Newton, Galileo, etc). Polanco is a place that does not seem to want to be part of Mexico, or even a place that wants Mexico to be a part of the “civilized” world. Polanco seems to be embarrassed by its location outside the G8 (or whatever they call the club these days). It reminds me a lot of Beverly Hills in LA.
As if to reinforce my developing theme, I had an interesting discussion over lunch with my 23 year old friend, who recently started work at a PR firm in Polanco. The things that matter to him right now are money and status. He works intense, crazy long hours for middling pay, but feels these are the dues he must pay. His dream is to move to San Francisco, make a lot of money, and buy one of the Painted Ladies on Alamo Square. Then, he tells me, he will truly be happy.