Metro Balbuena is the main station for the giant Jardín Balbuena neighborhood in the city’s east.
The colonia is most famous for the extensive work of architects, Mario Pani and Agustín Landa Verdugo from the 1960s. The neighborhood today represents much of the housing progress made by Mexico City in the entire 20th century. Pani’s 1964 giant Unidad Kennedy (pictured) only replaced the work another young architect, Juan Legarreta, from the 1930s. Remnants of Legarreta’s fascinating early functionalist experiments are still standing around the Parque Obrero closer to Metro Jamaica, all the way across the neighborhood.
- The Metro station is named for the neighborhood, Jardín Balbuena. This, in its turn, was named for the Spanish poet, Bernardo de Balbuena (1568-1627). He’s best remembered in Mexico for his 1604 work, Grandeza mexicana. Sadly, he died just two years after Dutch pirates burned his house and estate, including a precious library.
Today’s Metro Balbuena is most commonly used by international visitors wanting to gawp at Pani’s almost un-imaginably enormous Unidad Kennedy. Take in the Mercado Unidad Kennedy while you’re at it. It’s a great place for lunch. The Balbuena station also serves much of the equally ginormous Moctezuma neighborhood to the north across the Zaragoza causeway. Moctezuma, course, has its own Metro station. Traveling between them, you should get a sense of that thirty-year period in the mid-20th century when housing was a priority along with the people who most needed it.