The southernmost neighborhood in Buenos Aires, La Boca has long exhibited a dramatic contrast between some of BA’s poorest, roughest areas and the highest concentration of tourist traps. Caminito, being the city’s foremost tourist destination, hides serious socioeconomic problems behind the colorful, ramshackle homes and overpriced tango dinner theaters. However, with the renovation of the waterfront’s fantastic Fundación Proa art center, the addition of what is possibly BA’s most expensive restaurant (we’re talking US$200 per person), Patagonia Sur, and rumors of soaring real estate prices along the Riachuelo, it seems as though gentrification is upon us and that La Boca may soon go the way of nearby San Telmo – from crumbling, dangerous, blue-collar barrio to crumbling, semi-dangerous, hip ‘hood.
Need more evidence? Just check out P.O.P.A., the new contemporary art gallery/Saturday brunch spot brought to us faithful weekend brunchers by the founders of the now-defunct (and mourned) Kim y Novak, the Palermo hipster/freak hangout. Located just a block off of Caminito, P.O.P.A.’s location in a gorgeous restored turn-of-the-century house is reason enough to visit. The current art exhibition is a photo show of drag queens; next up, painted doors salvaged from Buenos Aires province and beyond by architect Juan Aguerre. Look for us at brunch on Saturdays in the leafy, kitschy garden out back.