By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, helped to officially inaugurate the new recreational area of Praia de Rocha Miranda in Parque Madureira located in the city’s Zona Norte (North Zone) on Monday, October 12th. Planned as an artificial beach, the five hundred square kilometer area features sand, three waterfalls, or platforms with cascading water, and a pool with water approximately ten centimeters in depth.
“This is a pleasure, to deliver this [park] and to give this quality space to the people of Zona Norte” said Paes during the inauguration. “The city is more united. We’re here to say that this divided history of the city is over.”
Adding, “I think the challenge for Rio now is to invite the people of Ipanema to this beach here and to have the people of the Zona Norte go to Ipanema Beach as well. This can become a legacy of Rio de Janeiro. We were sometimes full of fear, full of prejudice, full of anger but this city is made of many good people, hardworking people that deserve much care and attention.”
While part of a project that began in 2012, the opening of Praia de Rocha Miranda comes after a recent string of “arrastões” (big drags) across the city’s Zona Sul (South Zone) and route changes and elimination of some of the municipal bus lines that ran from the Zona Norte to Zone Sul.
“I thought the beach would be higher, but it’s good anyway,” 56-year-old hairdresser Judith Teixera told O Globo during the Praia de Rocha Miranda inauguration. “Better than nothing. You can’t go to the Zona Sul, right? It has arrastãos; it has pickpockets. So you better stay here.”
The Praia de Rocha Miranda is part of the Parque Madureira, an ongoing park project in the neighborhood of Madureira. The area is currently also home to a football (soccer) court, garden, fitness center, playground and the 2016 Olympic rings structure. The park is scheduled, by the end of 2016, to house a street basketball court and a skate park complete with a half pipe.