Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Eternity with Evita? the Crypt Brokers of Recoleta
It’s a common aphorism that it’s cheaper to live extravagantly all your life than it is to be buried in the Cementerio de la Recoleta, the elite boneyard of Buenos Aires. My own description of the cemetery, in the current editions of Moon Handbooks to Argentina and Buenos Aires, argues that it’s even more exclusive than the surrounding neighborhood, which has some of the city’s most valuable real estate: “enough cash can buy an impressive residence, but not a surname like Alvear, Anchorena, Mitre, Pueyrredón or Sarmiento.”
Well, I may have been wrong. According to the Buenos Aires daily Clarín, the Buenos Aires real estate market has its own post-mortem sector with so-called “crypt brokers.” At present, about 20 percent of Recoleta’s tombs are on the market, at prices ranging from US$20,000 fixer-uppers (like the one above) to US$500,000 luxury lodgings; prices also vary within Recoleta because, as the real estate cliché goes, everything depends on “location, location, location.”
By this standard, the median price of roughly US$250,000 could conceivably purchase an apartment overlooking the cemetery, but you would enjoy that only as long as you lived. On the other hand, if you invest the same amount of money in the cemetery itself, you could find yourself spending eternity alongside…Eva Perón! On the crypt next to Evita’s, the owner has placed a small “for sale” sign with his email address (email@example.com) and, according to Clarín, he’s received about 20 to 30 messages since putting it on the market in January.
Given that Evita’s tomb is the most visited in all of the Recoleta, anyone interred next door will at least get a few curiosity seekers awaiting their turn to see the former first lady’s final resting place, as in the photo above (these are not potential buyers lined up for the open house). On the other hand, those who need more immediate gratification might consider looking to buy her apartment at Posadas 1567 (pictured below), less than five blocks from the cemetery gates.
Moon Handbooks Buenos Aires in San Carlos (San Mateo County)
This coming Saturday, August 13, will mark the first of several digital slide presentations on Moon Handbooks Buenos Aires, at various branches of the San Mateo County Library. This week’s event starts at 2 p.m. at the San Carlos Library (610 Elm Street, San Carlos, CA 94070, tel. 650/591-0341). There will be ample time for questions and answers.
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