by Paul Castro

It tells the outsider a lot about the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest city that one of São Paulo’s most recognizable landmarks is a flyover. The 2.2-mile-long Via Elevada João Goulart – popularly known as the Minhocão, or ‘Big Worm’ – was rammed through the city in 1969 by Brazil’s military dictatorship and stands today as an ironic monument to its rule, a period during which the car in the city was raised from king to emperor. Today, during the working week, the volume of traffic exceeds 80,000 vehicles per day. Since 1976, however, the Minhocão has been closed on Sundays and opened up to pedestrians, a concession to stillness in the city that never stops. On this day of rest, it becomes both an incongruous setting for street life – something like a four-lane park without grass or trees – and an odd viewing platform affording a glimpse into the lives of those dwelling alongside the carriageway, whose faces tentatively peak out from their flats, wary of the quiet, as if emerging from shelters after an earthquake. 

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Paul Castro

Paul Castro lives in Edinburgh, works in Glasgow and takes his camera wherever he can. His main interest is in street photography, which he can only describe as a mix of walking, curiosity, timing and luck.   

SLAG GLASS CITY · Volume 5  · May 2019
Header image by Paul Castro