Puerto Rico is an Island. By now you should know that. So, why would you need a Window to the Sea? Isn’t an Island, by definition, supposed to be surrounded by water? Well, yeah! But, like many other things in Puerto Rico, things aren’t always what they’re supposed to be.
Many beaches in Puerto Rico are hidden by urban sprawling. The Condado area in San Juan is a perfect example. You can walk Ashford Ave. from point to point and you’ll only see the ocean twice. During the last administration of governor Pedro Rosselló there were several buildings in this area that were scheduled for demolition. These were the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, the old Convention Center and La Concha Hotel.
This decision caused public uproar because many people in Puerto Rico felt that La Concha and the Condado Vanderbilt were part of the Island’s architectural heritage and they shouldn’t be sacrificed.
The controversy went on for months, and many say that it was one of the many reasons that led to Rossello’s defeat in 2004.
Incoming governor Sila María Calderón rebuilt La Concha and the Condado Vanderbilt and demolished the old Convention Center, which actually wasn’t that old, since according to my recollection it was built sometime during the 1970’s.
In any case, governor Calderón decided to convert the plot of land between both Hotels into the “Window to the Sea”, a beautiful square looking out to the ocean where you can people watch, rest and even enjoy occasional street concerts. Oh yeah, and it’s also 100% free.
The place is gorgeous, well kept and secure. Two thumbs up for governor Calderón. Great idea!