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The Malecon (formally Avenida de Maceo) is the beautiful esplanade and sea-wall that stretches for about 5 miles from the Harbor in Old Havana along the north side of Centro Habana, up to the Vedado neighborhood. On any morning, fisherman, bathers, young lovers, and/or tourists can be seen taking in the views, the salt air, and the mist from the ocean waves crashing upon the walls of the Malecon.
The Prado (formally Paseo del Prado) is the beautiful tree-lined promenade that divides Old Havana from Centro Habana. Replete with marble benches and marble lions, on any morning, you will find street cleaners, joggers, and workers making their way down what was the first paved street in Havana, followed a bit later by scores of children and teens on their way to a variety of schools that line the lower section of Prado from Parque Central down to the water. And, if you are really lucky, you will see one of the ballerinas reporting to the Escuela Nacional Cubana de Ballet located at the corner of Paseo del Prado and Trocadero.
At the corner of the Malecon and the Prado rests a beautiful early 20th century “ruin” adorned with an iron plaque memorializing Ruben Batista Rubio. While I personally have little doubt that this building will become a Four Seasons Hotel by the year 2020, today it is still home to a variety of warm and friendly Cuban people.
During my “Dawn Patrol” flaneur at 6:30am early one morning last April, I had the wonderful privilege of meeting one such warm and friendly Cuban–a man in a delightful striped shirt with wonderful white shoes named Miguel Ramos. After 20 minutes of “communicating” with him on the sidewalk outside “his” building, he motioned me to follow him and visit his home inside #13 Malecon.