On the corner of a busy intersection not far from the bay of Havana, a stately historic building crumbles. Large pieces of it fall into the streets below. Rather than stabilize it, the Cuban government barricades the street with scraps of discarded wood tied together loosely with bailing wire. The ruins become a haven for local stray dogs, pigeons and rodents, and at least one family of squatters. The majestic bones of a once proud Spanish mission house slowly decompose on the corner of Cuba y Lus, and no one seems to care.
On another corner, in Savannah an abandoned historic building brims with life. Artists have decorated the boarded up storefronts with creative original street murals, and the courtyard frequently houses pop-up music bands and art events. The surrounding community waits with anticipation for a renaissance. The Starland Dairy brought safe clean milk to this place almost 100 years ago, and became an anchor for a once thriving district. Later, with the advent of the commuter suburbs and big box grocery stores, the Starland Dairy and surrounding area fell out of fashion. But this is not a tale with an unhappy ending! Starland Dairy will soon return as a symbol of a thriving arts district, and become a hub for craft brew, slow food, art installations and musical happenings. Please stay tuned to this station for more exciting news.
Perhaps someday that corner in Vieja Habana can learn from Savannah, and become another Starland. But we won’t have to wait…