With this never ending winter in New York (really, do we still need hat and gloves on a late April evening?), the mind drifts towards warmer times. Case in point: just about a year ago, the 106thstreeters were renting a fabulous little Madrid apartment in the hip and happy neighborhood of Malasaña. Every thing we read about Malasaña described it as the “East Village” or “Camden Town” of Madrid, so we were very skeptical. But you know what? All that hype was right on the money. The area has a great vibe packed with cozy little tapas bars, butcher shops, bakeries, cafes…but the true gem is Plaza de Juan Pujol (named after a fascinating figure in Spanish history). Public spaces like these are a dime a dozen for Europeans, but for us Americans, living on a little square like this is heaven. Here the old and young mix, families drink beer together in the sun, kids revel in the small playground while adults chat up their friends, and everyone brings their street wise dog out for a walk. This is an urban paradise. And then, as night falls, drunk yet behaved teenagers come out to sing Bob Marley tunes until the cops show up (on mopeds of course) and tell them to go home. Finally, cleaning crews sweep through at 3 am and make the plaza spotless, ready for another day in the life of this great Madrid neighborhood.
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