Photo: The Richmond, Before and After.
The Richhmond Café, an emblem of the Argentine capital closed down and forgot to pay its employees, who regret the literary haven will be turned into a Nike Store.
The Old English style chairs of the Richmond Café, those where Jorge Luis Borges and many other illustrious Argentine artists sat for literary gatherings and poetry readings. Now the decorative ornaments, marble tops, china, furniture, pool tables, chess sets even the piano disappeared over the weekend, cruelly dissipating the doubts of employees, who left work on Saturday hearing rumors their might be problems.
“I’ve been working here for 40 years […] they’ve taken everything, we left on Saturday with everything in its place, and today, there’s nothing,” lamented Miguel Angel, one of the 13 waiters who were never told their work place was disappearing and turning into a Nike Store.
“To me, the Richmond was a refugee in the middle of Downtown Buenos Aires; a magical place after work in the middle of the chaos of the city, to me it was like entering an old film from the past,” said one of the café’s regulars.
After finding themselves out of a job and lacking answers, the disgruntled staff decided to break into the chained and pad locked establishment and take over it until they get paid.
Neighbors have manifested their support of the staff, whom they consider the familiar and always polite staff of a place that carries a strong historical significance. The city has declared the building a cultural patrimony of Buenos Aires, ensuing it’s protection from demolition or modification, but has no saying on the businesses that might operate in it.