A long tree-lined promenade after the European style, the Paseo del Prado divides Habana Vieja from the newer Centro Habana. Originally built in the late 18th century, it was redesigned in the 1920s. But after the 1950s, and particularly after the Revolution, the buildings along the Prado began to dilapidate.
Today, parts of the Prado have been restored—particularly around the Parque Central, where there are a number of well-known hotels, include the Telégrafo (where I stayed), the Hotel Inglaterra, and the swanky Parque Central Hotel (where my group met for lectures on Cuban history and culture).
In one of his lectures, Tim Weed told us of his attempt to find the pre-Revolution U.S. embassy in Havana. Some clever gumshoe work and squinting at photographs led him to the address, which today is an Alliance Française building. A few days after he delivered his lecture, I stumbled upon the building myself.*
*The new U.S. embassy is in Vedado, right off the Malecón, in what was formerly the United States Interest Section run by the Swiss embassy. It appears our current president is far more likely to keep Guantánamo open than he is this diplomatic hub.
The Prado runs all the way up to the Malecón. The seawall skirts the Havana and is my favorite part of the city. It’s also our next stop …