The Barrio San José is the northernmost of the eight original neighborhoods of the Historic Center of Iztapalapa. It was part of the half-town of Axomulco through most of the colonial period. A giant part of the northern extremes of the neighborhood, long chinampa fields connected by canals, is today the Centro de Abastos. San José is nearly unique in losing so much of its historic territory. Perhaps it’s more fair to say the territory has been re-purposed as a good half of Abastos is still part of the official colonia.
Nevertheless, the tiny neighborhood is a prominent player in Iztapalapa’s world-famous Semana Santa observations and passion plays. Like the other neighborhoods, this one was too small for a parish church. Chapels here were long considered “visiting chapels.” They were dependent on the Parish Church of San Lucas Evangelista. In fact, the current chapel (Capilla del Patriarca Señor San José), dates only from the 1990s. It bears just about all the tell-tale signs of high Modernist 20th-Century Religious Architecture.
The Barrio San José is also unique in preserving an older ruined chapel. It’s just to the north at the corner of Cuauhtémoc and Guadalupe Victoria. Though without a roof, the chapel’s Lancet arches set it apart even amongst San José’s winding crooked streets. Like in many of the barrios on the northern edges of the Historic Center, these were likely canals and footpaths until even just a few generations ago. The chapel is about an 8-minute walk north from the San Lucas Church at the edge of the Macroplaza. The Mercado Cabecera is slightly closer.