More than 9, meters of sidewalk had to be laid and streetlights replaced. Still and all, not a bad option. When we returned on a quieter, non-market day, and asked about visiting the bar for a peaceful cup of coffee, we were politely informed that it is members only.
The library houses approximately 30, volumes, and concerts and conferences are regularly held. But much of the building is restricted to members.
The most one can do is enjoy lunch in the restaurant on the ground floor, surrounded by stained glass windows and plaster bas reliefs of mythological figures. The idea for a recreational and cultural space for Spanish Army officers first gelled in It could be an old building that gets torn down, leaving an ugly hole in the cityscape, gradually replaced by a skeleton of iron girders.
The building has several interesting points, apart from the fine architectural details. But when the building, or the tunnel, or the avenue, has been completed, the result is usually worth the trouble. These theaters functioned throughout the war.
The center has had several different locations but the current building was inaugurated in by Alfonso XIII. Nowadays, many of these emblematic places have moved to the more fashionable Serrano area, several of the larger movie theaters have been re-converted into department stores, and the streets and sidewalks are so crowded that the city hall periodically considers the possibility of shutting down the area to traffic.
What does remain are many of the singular buildings that rose up at different periods during the long construction of the avenue. Begun inthe inception of this modern avenue, designed to provide an easier connection between the eastern and western parts of the city, meant the disappearance of 14 streets, the re-routing of another 34, and the destruction of approximately buildings.
The crowds and the stands filled the spaces with buzz and activity, as customers checked the stands, touching merchandise, enquiring prices, while the vendors sipped hot cups of coffee and chatted with their neighbors in between answering questions and showing their wares.
And their webpage announces their fencing hall, claiming that it is the oldest in Europe.
A flight of stone steps leads up beneath the wrought iron and glass marquee in the best Art Nouveau style to the lobby. Or worse, a big dig to bury a ring road: Madrid remained loyal to the Republic from beginning to end, but only a few months after the uprising, the Nationalist troops surrounded the city. Modernist, art deco, plain, emblematic, many crowned with curious statues or cupolas.
Our excuse for entering this marvelous building for the first time was to visit the Mercadillo del gato. Traffic flows more easily, the building is, hopefully, gleamingly modern.
The fourth and fifth floors hold housing for officers staying in the city; on the ground floor there is a restaurant open to the public. In the Casino, it filled the ground floor and the first floor with jewelry, knitted goods and handmade candles and soaps.