By Blake Sherman, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the family trove of Rio’s desired places to live, Flamengo could be considered the middle-child. Especially for those new to the city, the neighborhood is often overlooked or under-appreciated, continually trumped by the sibling Zona Sul (South Zone) neighborhoods like Copacabana or Ipanema.
Although Flamengo’s true value is discerning and somewhat passive, the neighborhood is still one of city’s many gems, and coming more and more from the fringe to being a hot location in the persistently developing Rio de Janeiro.
Flamengo resident, José Roberto Izaias Jr., says that “Flamengo is a sensational neighborhood because it is very familiar, warm and predominantly residential, unlike other neighborhoods of Rio that are amid many commercial spots.”
“Families live here, couples, singles with good financial conditions and students who prefer the tranquility of the neighborhood, the proximity to other areas of the city center and Copacabana as through subway and bus,” he explains.
In the 1960s architect, Lota de Macedo Soare, and landscape designer, Roberto Burle Marx, (designer of Brasília), designed and built the largest urban park in Brazil. A landfill project and the leveling of São Antônio hill brought back the earth from the sea and flattened an area that occupies nearly 1.2 million meters of land.
The Aterro do Flamengo (Flamengo Park) now houses thousands of meters of sandy beaches and several sports facilities. Its bike and jogging path stretches for great distances and offers pedestrians safe exercising from Rio’s ever-turbulent roads.
Izaias considers the park to be, “One of the best and most beautiful recreational facilities in Rio de Janeiro. Every day the residents of the neighborhood go walking, play sports, ride bicycle, skate, or take water from coconut on the beach of the Flamengo and finds themselves with a view of Sugarloaf.”
While the beach does have an amazing view of Guanabara Bay, it is not a recommended swimming spot. Efforts to clean up the waters have increased, and while some do choose to swim in Flamengo, the pollution is still easy to see.
With Flamengo’s combinations of beach, park, and proximity to the rest of Rio, it is a neighborhood that stands on its own. Another such reason are the fascinating buildings of Flamengo and their art-deco designs.
Rising popularity and building development is apparent in the construction of the new Flamengo Towers. Schipper Engineering is currently building a new thirteen-floor commercial center at the edges of Flamengo and Catete, with two towers and over four hundred parking spaces.
New arrivals to Rio, and many young professionals are migrating into Flamengo since being priced-out in other areas, and also discovering all that Flamengo has to offer. Yet even Izaias claims that, “Prices are up.”
For the renter, apartments in Flamengo start at approximately R$2,000 for a two-bedroom and go up to R$4,000 for more bedrooms or better amenities. The prices continue to rise in Rio and for those wishing to purchase an apartment in Flamengo the costs for a one-bedroom will start around R$300,000 or for more spacious option, over R$600,000 for a three or four-bedroom apartment (not including waterfront properties).