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View Poll Results: Which top notch area of the Spanish Caribbean do you prefer?
Condado (San Juan, Puerto Rico) 2 50.00%
Poligono Central (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) 1 25.00%
I like both equally. 1 25.00%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-17-2018, 06:16 PM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 16 days ago)
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Condado and Poligono Central are the traditional areas with a concentration of high rises in each metropolis of the Spanish Caribbean. In essence this is where the city “feel” reaches the cliche, despite both cities have other areas with concentration of high rises too. These are the areas that supposedly most resemble a New York City in the Caribbean. Don't laugh, this is how the transformation of these areas was presented back in the day. New Yorkers might chuckle at this, but by Caribbean standards these are mini-Manhattans. lol

While Condado in San Juan is fully photographed in Google Street View that allows for a virtual tour of every street; Santo Domingo's Poligono Central is recently having its streets photographed, some of which are already available. Unfortunately, the quality of the photos of Santo Domingo varies and are not as detailed as the ones from San Juan.

Using Google Street View, it would be interesting to compare the two areas in terms of overall look, architecture, and whatever vibe that can be captured through the images. Obviously the real vibe of each place can only be experienced in person, but for the purpose of this thread Google Street View will do just fine.

Some differences between Condado and Poligono Central are:

- Condado is a single neighborhood; Poligono Central is the combination of three main neighborhoods (Piantini, Naco, Paraiso) and a few sub-neighborhoods.

- Condado is the touristic heart of San Juan with a beautiful wide beach at its doorstep; Poligono Central doesn't have a beach and isn't the touristic part of Santo Domingo despite the presence of some of the most notable hotels in the city such as the JW Marriott and the Intercontinental.

- Condado's highrises were mostly built in the 70's and 80's. Due to PR's economic crisis not many new high rises are under construction, but there are quite a few newer buildings that add color to the area. Poligono Central's high rises were mostly built after 2010 and the area is still in the midst of a construction boom. Many of the highrises in Santo Domingo are taller than San Juan's and overall look nicer (again, newer architectural styles), but the height issue is due to restrictions due to the proximity of San Juan's airport to the area.

- Both areas have a very nice selection of cosmopolitan restaurants covering culinaries from around the world. Most of the fast food chains also have their presence here, although for some reason in Condado they pretty much have the same architecture as in the USA, but in Poligono Central they have a more postmodern and colorful look.

- Shopping is very good in both area in terms of regular stores and high end shops. While neither areas have an equivalent of 5th Avenue or Avenida Maseryk, along Ashford Avenue there are stores such as Gucci in Condado while on several streets in Poligono Central there are stores such as Hugo Boss. Poligono Central also has several malls, the most luxurious is Blue Mall which has Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Massimo Dutti (a few weeks ago this store ranked 1st in Latin America and 2nd worldwide in total sales, impressive to say the least), Cartier, and other well known luxury brands. In Condado there are Walgreens and CVS; in Poligono Central the equivalents are CarolX, Hidalgos, and Farmax.

- Nightlife is also good in both areas, but I get the impression that in Condado its focused more in the luxury hotels. I could be wrong.

- Fine culture also has a place in both areas, with interesting art galleries and museums.

- Traffic is definitely worse in Poligono Central than in Condado, especially during rush hour. An interesting detail is that in Condado you will see riding down the road all the vehicle brands that are available in the USA, while in Santo Domingo there are those brands plus other European and Asian brands that are not available in the USA. For example, there are quite a few Citröen, Peugeot, Ssang Yong, etc vehicles that you simply never see in Condado or Puerto Rico in general. It will remain a mystery to me why the USA isn't serviced by all the automakers in the world. A mystery I tell ya.

The following couple of posts will be the showcases of each area and then hopefully a friendly comparison and discussion can be made between these two top notch areas of the Spanish Caribbean.
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Old 08-17-2018, 06:18 PM
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Condado (San Juan, Puerto Rico)













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Old 08-17-2018, 06:19 PM
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Poligono Central (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)













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Old 08-17-2018, 08:07 PM
Location: Canada
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I think Miami would be a better comparison than Manhattan.

I I like that condado is closer to the water, it looks like a pleasent place to drive. Poligono looks a bit more like other Latin American cities. Both areas look nice, i think I would rather explore Poligono and SD more overall though. Nice to see SD has google street view now.

It would be cool see how these areas compare to similar areas in other cities Like Cartagena or Panama.
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Old 08-18-2018, 08:39 PM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 16 days ago)
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I was going to create other threads for the other areas with high rises, but I think this thread can be a good place for them.


Isla Verde (Greater San Juan, Puerto Rico)

With that in mind, another area in San Juan with many high rises is Isla Verde, which is technically in the neighboring municipality of Carolina and not San Juan proper. In any case, this area is often marketed to tourists as part of San Juan. It borders the sea with a beautiful beach and has a line of high rises, both residential and luxury hotels, with businesses that cater to tourists and locals lining the other side of the avenue.

If Condado was suppose to be the Spanish Caribbean version of New York (or Miami, as another member said in a previous post), this area was suppose to evoque Miami Beach in the sense that it has a beach, a line of high rises on one side of the avenue and low level buildings on the other side.






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Old 08-18-2018, 08:43 PM
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Malecon (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)

Santo Domingo's equivalent would be its Malecon in the Gazcue neighborhood. Despite that it borders the beautiful Caribbean Sea, it isn't lined with a beautiful beach. The only usable beach is Güibia and, quite frankly, the beach itself leaves much to be desired. The area immediately behind the beach is nice. This avenue is lined with luxury hotels, apartment buildings, monuments, and restaurants/businesses catering mostly to the locals and secondly to the tourists.

The Malecon was recently remodeled. In parts of the photos you can notice the final touches on the edge of the sidewalk was still missing while in other parts the final product is on full display.








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Old 08-20-2018, 10:52 AM
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Hato Rey (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

The Hato Rey area of San Juan is considered to be the business center of the island and has a collection of office highrises interspersed with some residential highrises too. This area probably has the second greatest concentration of highrises in Puerto Rico, surpassed only by Condado.







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Old 08-20-2018, 10:53 AM
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Avenida Anacaona (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)

Avenida Anacaona is a long avenue in Santo Domingo that some people nickname “The 5th Avenue of the Caribbean” because on one side it has a line of highrises and the other side borders a large park. Many of the Caribbean”s tallest buildings are found here.








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Old 08-25-2018, 08:18 PM
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Viejo San Juan (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Historic districts are obviously not centers of highrises, but they are the touristic part of the cities and their origin.

In the case of San Juan, the historic district is called Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan) and encompasses the original San Juan built by the Spanish. The area has more buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries (built in Spanish styles) than it does from the 16th, 17th, or 18th centuries. With that said, it is a very handsome area, very well kept and fully geared towards tourism despite that its also a living neighborhood and not just a timepiece open air museum.

Some of the main sights include the Fortaleza San Felipe del Morro, which is one of the largest fortresses built by the Spanish. There's also the house of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon (today is the official home of Puerto Rico's governor), the tomb of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon (inside the Catedral San Juan Bautista cathedral.) The original wall that protect the city is still standing. There are many little secrets and beautiful places to discover in this historic and charming area.










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Old 08-25-2018, 08:28 PM
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Ciudad Colonial (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)

The Cradle of European Civilization in the Americas

Santo Domingo is the oldest city founded by Europeans in the New World, founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus, the brother of Christopher Columbus. In the 1500's the city was the center of the Spanish Empire and the most important city in the Western Hemisphere, the largest European city outside of Europe, and the most important educational/cultural/economic center in the Americas. The city itself (and secondly the island) became the center of European migration to the Americas. All the Spanish conquistadors arrived first at Santo Domingo and spent a few years there before planning and embarking on the various conquering missions. Juan Ponce de Leon left to conquer Puerto Rico and discover Florida. Diego Velazquez left to conquer Cuba. Rodrigo de Bastidas left to found Santa Marta in Colombia. Francisco Pizarro left to conquer Peru. Francisco Balboa left to conquer Panama and became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. Hernan Cortes left to conquer Mexico. Santo Domingo was declared Capital of the Indies and its jurisdiction initially covered all the islands of the Caribbean, the Florida peninsula, the northern part of South America (mainly modern Venezuela and Colombia), and Caribbean coast of Central America.

The Cradle of the African Presence in the Americas

Santo Domingo wasn't just the cradle of European civilization in the Americas, but also the cradle of the African presence in the Americas too. The very first Africans to arrive to the Western Hemisphere first saw and walked down these very streets. Most arrived as slaves, but a few arrived as free men, including some that were conquistadors and played vital roles in the conquering of America. A little known fact is that the foundation of the Hospital San Nicolas de Bari, the first hospital of the Americas, is tied to black history in the sense that Spanish governor Nicolas de Ovando decided to build the very first hospital in America on the very spot where stood the house a free black woman, because for years she dedicated herself in that spot to help Santo Domingo's sick.

The End of the Glorious Era of Santo Domingo

While the second half of the 1500's meant for Santo Domingo a gradual decline in wealth and power, the final blow came with the invasion of English pirate Francis Drake in 1586. One of his canons shot from his boats actually fell on the roof of the oldest cathedral in the Americas and is still lodged there to this very day. Francis Drake with hundreds of men captured the city and sacked it, destroyed up to a third, desecrated all the churches, and made the oldest cathedral his headquarters. At the Casa del Cordon, the oldest two story house in the Western Hemisphere, he placed the scale where all the jewels of the town were to be weighed before he took them as ransom and left. He even took the bells of the oldest cathedral which were made of bronze. What attracted him to Santo Domingo was the image the city still had in Europe of a place full of riches. Once Francis Drake departed from Santo Domingo, the city never regain the glory of its great epoch of the 16th century.

Some of the Main Sights

Some of the main sights today include the Palace of Diego Columbus (son of Christopher Columbus who married Charles the Vth niece and lived there in splendor), Catedral Santa Maria la Menor (oldest cathedral in the New World), Fortaleza Ozama (oldest fortress in the Americas and has the only medieval tower built in this continent), the ruins of the Hospital San Nicolas de Bari (first hospital of the New World), the ruins of Monasterio de San Francisco (considered one of the most beautiful monasteries in the world), Casa del Cordon (house of the rope, the first two storey house in the Americas and home to Diego de Garay, one of the conquerors of Mexico), among many other sights that includes homes to famous Spanish conquistadors, palaces, first institutions of the Americas, etc. The colonial city is filled with interesting museums, cultural centers, cosmopolitan restaurants, and beautiful spaces.

Improvements in the Works

Within the next decade or so the colonial city will be much improved. They are doing the upgrades through phases. The first phase has already concluded and it's very easy to notice what streets were done in this phase. Eventually the major streets in the colonial city will look like those, including calle El Conde, the main pedestrian shopping street in the area.

Again, the quality of the images aren't as good as the ones in San Juan but they give a general idea of the area.










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