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Glorieta Popocatepetl

Photo: Ted McGrath, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Glorieta Popocatepetl stands at the very northern bend of the old Hipódromo Racetrack. Part of the reason urbanists by and large reject curved city streets, such as those so evident here, is for the anomie they can provoke in places like this. The forlorn fountain and plaza have delighted residents and passersby for nearly 100 years. That is, when they’re not too lost.

The fountain is the 1927 work of architect José Gómez Echeverría. The neighborhood was quite young then. But the fountain seems to surprise lost pedestrians when it appears, perhaps as intended, in its late-Symbolist splendor. The work clearly calls to the giant Art Deco amphitheater just to the south. The Foro Lindbergh of the Parque México opened in the same year.

La Bomba, as it’s popularly known, seems to inhabit an almost unknowable, liminal space somewhere in the Hipódromo area, far from central Parque México. Even long-term Condesa residents often seem to forget just where it is. And Art Deco’s stylistic roots in earlier Art Nouveau seem patently apparent here.

Two other, smaller traffic circles in the area also date from the 1925 founding (and layout) of the neighborhood. These bear the names of Iztlacihuatl and Citlaltépetl on the ovular Avenida Amsterdam to the south. This latter peak is better known as the Pico de Orizaba. Together, all three names recall the highest mountain peaks in Mexico. But Popocatépetl here stands alone, though not so far to the north of the others.

The Glorieta Popocatepetl is the terminal roundabout on the brief (two blocks) Calle Popocatepetl. The street runs southwest from the Avenida Álvaro Obregón. Thus, Roma Norte is barely two blocks north. Insurgentes streams just two blocks to the east. And though we can place it on the map, precisely where the tiled and ornate fountain stands leaves always quite a lot to the imagination.

How to get here
  • Plaza Popocatépetl, Colonia Hipódromo, Alc. Cuauhtémoc, 06100 CDMX


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