La Boca is among the most picturesque neighbourhoods in the city which has become an illustrative postcard of the country around the world, due to the typical polychromatic “tenement houses”, the Riachuelo and the ships, Boca Juniors Club, and Caminito with its artists.
It developed around the Riachuelo, where the first port in Buenos Aires was constructed during the XIX century’s immigration wave; people disembarked dreaming of a better life, carrying only the basics needed to live. It was the main place for establishment of the Italian, Polish, French, Yugoslavian, Russian and Spanish people that arrived during the referred spell. They piled up in the famous tenement houses, which consisted of a put-together of zinc panels, which contained several small rooms for the whole family, the only bathroom and kitchen to be shared among all the tenants. Their peculiarity was, however, the internal patio and the unevenly leveled balconies, which allowed for contact and interrelation, enriching and fusing cultures, thus originating an interesting diversity of characters that have been collected by popular art, which recounts the evolution of the area and its characters, like the fireman, the prostitute, the pimp, the short guy, the acrobat and the drunkard. The newcomers that most populated this territory were the Genoese, who, little by little, imposed their culture: the Sunday pasta, the passion for debate and soccer, the “canzonettas”, the ever-lasting nostalgia…
There was a time when La Boca was called “Puerto de los Tachos”, for the high number of shipyards, salting houses and large stores.
It features elevated sidewalks, as disastrous floods were usual until some time ago. The firefighters became essential for their continuous and fundamental help in such situations.
Already into the XX century, the painter Quinquela Martín coloured the zinc constructions in the most extravagant diversity imaginable. The tale goes that this was a consequence of the recollection he made of the remains of paint left from the ships’ painting.
This stressed peculiarity, together with the fame of being socially rebellious, lead La Boca to self-declare “Republic of La Boca” on one occasion.
The creation of Boca Juniors Club and the famous “Bombonera” (the stadium), along with the soccer passion of “La mitad más uno” (literally “absolute majority”, the way the team identifies itself for having the largest number of fans), made the neighborhood stand out, and each and every resident feel proud of being a Boca fan.