September this year marks the end of summer in Madrid with unusually heavy rains associated with DANA, bringing back the noise to the streets and the most far-reaching news to the media. And this summer has not been sparse in terms of information, especially, though not only, because of the July 23rd general election.
Another Madrid is possible by looking at more cities, from the end of parked cars to the greenery on every corner.
Some elections whose final result defied opinion polls, although in the Community and the capital the predictions came true with a clear victory for the right-wing bloc (reinforced by the 16th MP Carlos García Adanero, thanks to the CERA vote of residents abroad). Of course, the left rallied in the May elections, and the PSOE regained four constituencies, as shown on this map.
But summer news was marked by many other events. The first, one of the saddest and most shocking, happened on July 3, when a clothing salesman was killed in Piazza Tirso de Molina. Although the alleged perpetrator and another woman involved in the events were arrested in less than 24 hours, this crime threatened the degradation of the area located in the center of Madrid. As well as the manipulation of reality for xenophobic purposes promoted by the far right, who spent hours promoting the hoax that the alleged killer was a North African. In the end, it turned out to be a man named Jesus, born in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
However, the protagonists of the Madrid summer (and at this time of year) were the cutting down of trees. Both the threat over the Madrid-Rio Line 11 extension project, including controversy over suspiciously wrong plans, and the implementation of some plans in Conde de Casal or Cáceres de Arganzuela streets, have placed many residents in a military position. In this latter area, rallies are organized every Thursday to protest against the initiative, which, as they defend, threatens the entire protected environment of the Madrid Rio Park, as well as characteristic tree-lined streets such as Acacias Street. A complaint that reached the European Parliament, despite the fact that the city council considers it “necessary” to cut down trees for certain works.
There was no music at all in Madrid night
And if the festivals are in the summer, then in Madrid the music was accompanied by a collapse at the recently opened festival site, where Mad Cool took place this year. Noise and garbage accumulation, and especially the impact on traffic in the Getafe and Villaverde districts, first led to the mobilization of residents, and then to the suspension of various activities. The chaos during a Mad Cool or Harry Styles concert was followed by the cancellation of the Reggaeton Beach festival and the transfer to the Magic Box of the Coca Cola music festival. Incidentally, another very important festival, Primavera Sound, announced in July that it would not be returning to its headquarters in Madrid until a suitable venue was found.
The site of Villaverde was to house the ill-fated City of Music, the cultural enclave whose banner Begoña Villasis made and which now remains a dead letter. One of the most loyal squires of former vice-mayor Mariano Fuentes (who led an urban development delegation in a previous term) became the protagonist of one of the political debates of the summer in the capital. Fuentes entered the company through a revolving door to which he ceded five lots during his 45 years as an adviser, information first revealed by Somos Madrid. The outrage was so great that the developer ended up canceling the contract.
Of course, second chief executive José Luis Martínez-Almeida has not been released from his own contracts in just a few months. Neither his beloved Atlético Madrid nor Real Madrid will be able to complain about the various concessions granted by the mayor. Privatized car parks have become another hallmark of this model. This model has also been tried in sports centers with unsatisfactory results, if not downright chaotic. These actions come at a time when the Cibeles government has finally approved its new city rules, taking advantage of the recently issued absolute majority of the PP. Meanwhile, issues such as the regulation of ghost kitchens continue to remain in limbo.
Transport and cultural-historical works
Speaking of uncertainty, more than one person from Madrid was unable to attend a meeting or was late for a meeting due to the accumulation of cutbacks in the capital’s various transport networks. A real summer classic in the city, before which we have prepared a detailed guide that contains all types and their possible alternatives.
This year, metro lines 1 and 9 suffered. In the latter case, normal activity between Colombia and Principe de Vergara will resume this Thursday, September 7, while the Sol-Valdecarros Line 1 section will not resume normal operation until the end of October. Works on both subway routes also disrupt traffic on adjacent surface roads, while there are roads cut by other works, such as the A-6 bridge over the M-30. At the same time, without forgetting that Cercanías interrupts its service until December on the C-3 and C-4 lines, as well as on their branches in the north (C-3a, C-4a and C4-b), between Chamartin and Nuevos stations. Ministries.
At another nerve center of Madrid’s transport, Atocha, the cityscape announced an important change in the midst of his work: the removal of the 11-M monument to replace it with another built on the advice of the victims’ associations and families. More criticism came from other reforms planned by the Almeida team, such as Beti Jai. As well as some excellent projects that seemed to have unanimous support, such as the one in Montaña de los Gatos in El Retiro, which caused uncertainty due to the permanent closure of the exhibition hall after the reopening of the environment.
Very hot, few pools, no zumba
But wait a minute. Ten paragraphs about summer in Madrid and not a single word about the heat? While the general consensus among citizens is that those months of July and August were less sweltering than 2022 in the capital, there was no shortage of heatwaves or temperatures that nearly exploded thermometers. Despite this, the consistory did not establish a permanent shift in the city’s swimming pools until 1 August.
The decision came as an epilogue to one of the most surreal controversies of these weeks: Residents of the Arganzuela public swimming pool “Peñuelas”, considered the most sought after in the city, were accused of being a “family cartel” for organizing change tickets via a group of mobile messages. Driven into a corner by the pressure of some media and caring people, the chat participants were forced to close it and turn off WhatsApp. Not without first declaring an improvement in the ticketing system. Municipal incentive requirements have also extended to indoor sports pools, as finding one open in July or August in all of Madrid has become an extremely difficult task. The question of Tetouan, where in August there was no municipal swimming pool, covered or not, deserves a separate chapter.
Other ways of training the body also survived a not the best summer. The actions of municipal agents to prevent Zumba practice in Tierno Galvan Park shocked schoolchildren, their teachers and people who learned about the event through social networks. An incident that recalled other police interventions in the city over the past few months that were aimed at preventing or stopping activities that were not obviously illegal simply because they were taking place on public roads.
Hate, speed and emotions
Faced with police interference in events that were taking place calmly and peacefully, figures from different fields and supposed prestige associated with Madrid, without any consequences, revealed their most radical versions. Julio Banacloche, the new Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning and Faculty at the Complutense University (the largest center for full-time study in the country), took office at the beginning of the summer, despite having a track record full of cutting-edge pearls. Less surprising, though no less disturbing, was Ruco Valera’s advocacy of “the cultural and social reconversion of Spain” at a mass dedicated to San Fermin in Chambery.
Returning to sports, there is one sport that enjoys the approval of the Madrid authorities: motorsport. The government of Isabel Diaz Ayuso has allocated 200,000 euros for a Red Bull car that will drive around the city center and thereby promote the future Formula 1 championship in the city. The exhibition was forced to change its originally planned route so as not to cross the Puerta de Alcala, a protected historical monument and under restoration. In the absence of confirmation of a World Cup appointment, Madrid can be content with including it in a video game. Mario Kart Tourone of the news that more and more memes gave away in August.
But the biggest sporting joy of the summer was undoubtedly the triumph of the Spanish team at the World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand, no matter how some people insisted on eclipsing this feat. The title celebration in Madrid was one of the most magical evenings of this August. It was one of the emotional moments that this period left us, but not the only one: the closure of the historical enterprise in Malasaña, the path of memory and honesty with which friends and fans said goodbye to Ramon Lobo in La Almudena or to the new House of the Social Center La Villana de Vallecas are some of the intimate stories that (whether for reasons of sadness or joy) showed the most human face of the city.
This is what we tried by approaching the city from different perspectives by writing “Somos Madrid” with two summer series less connected to current events. On the one hand, looking at Madrid imaginary, urban projects filled with illusions, or rather megalomania, which, for budgetary or pragmatic reasons, or because a person with half a brain appeared, were never implemented in our city. On the other hand, summer postcards sent by the team of this media, with four very personal texts made up of the same number of images. From a bench in a vacant lot to pavements without cars, a militant critique of a housing crisis in a city, or a tarpaulin under a scorching sun, from Tetouan to Japan, between Cadiz and Murcia.
All this and more happened in Madrid while the reader missed one, two, three, four weeks or none at all. Now, still shaking off the last drops of DAN, the city is bustling again in September. That things keep happening, that we will meet here to tell or read them.