The Plaza de la Solidaridad (Solidarity Plaza) operates as an adjunct, just to the southwest of the Alameda Central. In fact, it’s history is much more recent, and more tragic too. The plaza is the site of the collapse of the Hotel Regis.
The plaza was once part of the San Diego Monastery, today the Laboratorio Arte Alameda. Much of this land was later subdivided and used for the El Imparcial newspaper office. This gave way, some decades later to the Hotel Regis. Begun in 1908, it was expanded and modernized many times in the course of its history.
In the 1950s, it was an emblematic eight-story building, next to the seven-story Salinas y Rocha department store which had operated since 1946. It was also competing with the Hotel del Prado Misión in the same area. The three prominent businesses operated until September 19, 1985 when all structures collapsed as a result of the earthquake. The entire block saw explosions, fire, and its reduction to rubble. Memorable images of the “Hotel ЯHR Regis” sign, historically on the roof of the hotel, but fallen to street level, immediately conveyed the scale of destruction to the shocked nation.
Today’s Plaza de la Solidaridad
The remains of 136 deceased were removed from the buildings, but dozens more are believed to have been lost in the disaster. The ruined site was expropriated by the City soon after the earthquake. It became very much a symbol and reminder of the tragic day and the lives lost. The Plaza de la Solidaridad was ready just a year later. In 1991, a monument dedicated to the spirit of solidarity of the Mexico City residents and rescuers was placed and this remains in the center of the plaza.
To the north of the park on the west side, is the Diego Rivera Mural Museum. This is home today to the mural completed in 1947 for the Hotel del Prado. Out front of the museum, the park plays host to the City’s chess enthusiasts. An average day will see dozens of matches carefully deliberated.
As the sun falls, most nights will see competing contingents of sonideros, really DJs. The music of choice is mostly guaracha and cumbia. Stop to witness some of this. There are very few (i.e.; none ) restrictions as to who can participate, so long as they can dance. It leaves most onlookers with a very reassuring picture of the nature of solidarity in Mexico.