Whoever walks through El Conde seldom notices that the beginning of this street faces the Ozama River. Is that the unevenness of the land only allows you to see the river from the eastern end of this street, which begins at the stone staircase that descends to Avenida Pte. Caamaño.
From the top, while a young woman walks up and down the steps exercising. I look at the flow of the Ozama that separates the National District from Santo Domingo Este. I am on the (northeast) side of the building that housed the newspaper El Caribe. Today, on the corner with Las Damas there is a restaurant: 1502, from the Hotel Nicolás de Ovando. I take a look around: in the northwest corner stands the house where according to tradition Hernán Cortés organized the expedition to conquer Mexico. Now it houses an extension of the León de Santiago Center. Nearby, two electric strollers await customers. Heading west, I walk along El Conde from Calle Las Damas under lush trees, as small groups of tourists who speak different languages pass me by. Outdoors there are a few customers at restaurant tables. Suddenly, sunken cobblestones cause me to stumble. With the renovation of the Colonial City, announced by the Ministry of Tourism, I hope that the problem of the cobblestones and the bad smell that the breeze spreads from time to time in the area will be solved.
When crossing Isabel la Católica, around the corner where the little tourist train parks, a voice cries out: ‘Christ is coming!’
On the banks of Parque Colón, the diverse presence of citizens is mostly male. Pigeons flutter through the air and on the ground. I dislike them for their waste: they damage monuments and transmit diseases. This section to Arzobispo Meriño street is the busiest in El Conde. Outdoor restaurant tables fill the driveway. They are almost all busy at 10:30 on a weekday. A guitarist walks among them singing in a soft voice. Suddenly, the drum of a typical ensemble interrupts the moment of musical romanticism. I wonder what music tourists prefer.
I enter the Colon Shopping Center. A sign indicates Fábrica de Tabacos Caoba, on the second floor. In the first, a laboratory announces Covid-19 tests. The next house, built in 1970, was the headquarters of the Bank of America. A plaque identifies its architects: William Reid Cabral and Guillermo González. Next to it, built in 1920 is house 107. In the 1950s it housed the Central Pharmacy, owned by the Marrero family.
In the 1950s, El Conde, without being a pedestrian, was the promenade of the youth of the capital. At present it is pedestrianized and tries to attract both walkers and shoppers, both young and old, both natives and foreigners.