A Capital da Copa (ou a cidade que consagrou a seleção)

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Ontem a seleção brasileira jogou em Brasília! E o resultado foi o melhor da Copa até o momento, em um jogaço contra Camarões. No Mané Garrincha, estádio que leva o nome de um dos maiores ídolos do futebol de todos os tempos, contou muito o 12º jogador: a torcida verde-amarela aqui da capital.  Não tinha como não se emocionar com a calorosa acolhida que os brasilienses (de nascimento e de coração) deram aos jogadores e a todos que vieram a nossa amada cidade assistir a Brasil x Camarões. A seleção também sentiu isso, com muita garra fez o 4 X 1, e agradeceu à torcida, cujo grito de guerra logo no início foi: “o campeão voltou!” Sim, e voltou nos braços dos brasilienses! Brasília faz muito bem para a seleção!

Pois é! E os jornalistas do mundo inteiro, e os turistas de toda a parte, puderam conhecer um lado geralmente esquecido da bela capital brasileira: uma cidade bem organizada, de gente ordeira e amistosa, uma cidade que pulsa como coração do Brasil. Sim, porque Brasília não é a cidade dos burocratas ou dos políticos (eles até vivem aqui, mas não são a cara da nossa gente).  Brasília tem muito mais que burocratas de terno e políticos… tem um povo feliz e trabalhador, que gosta de se encontrar no churrasco do domingo, nos bares da cidade, que se acostuma em viver em blocos no meio do verde e do azul, que se emociona com o pôr do Sol mais lindo do planeta… É um povo de diferentes origens e de diferentes sotaques, que se orgulha de morar no lugar com a melhor qualidade de vida do Brasil. Essa é a gente de Brasília!

No jogo de ontem, senti muito orgulho da seleção. Mas senti muito mais orgulho de ter nascido e de viver em Brasília! Senti orgulho de ser brasiliense (ou candango, como prefiro me identificar, sempre rendendo a justa homenagem àqueles que, como meus pais, vieram de diferentes partes do Brasil para ajudar JK a tornar o sonho em realidade). Minha cidade é linda! Minha cidade é acolhedora! Minha cidade é única! Minha cidade é Brasília!

Segue um artigo do NY Times em que se comenta o quão surpreendente é Brasília. Só discordo de algumas opiniões de entrevistados, que falam de nossa cidade como fria e isolada. E, ao contrário do que diz alguém na reportagem, sim, em Brasília você pode encontrar samba (vá ao Cruzeiro ou a Sobradinho), boa cerveja (não temos esquinas, mas temos muitos barzinhos por todo o DF!), e também futebol (seja com nossos clubes do Periquito ou do Brasiliense, seja com a maior concentração de flamenguistas em relação à população, e de botafoguenses, e de vascaínos, e de corintianos, e palmeirenses, e atleticanos, e cruzeirenses, e gremistas, e colorados, e de gente que torce por todos os grandes clubes do Brasil – afinal, todo mundo em Brasília tem ao menos dois times do coração!). Brasília mostrou ontem que tem futebol sim, e que tem alegria, beleza, e simpatia! Brasília tem isso e tem muito mais!

Quem quiser conhecer nossa capital, seja muito bem-vindo! Brasília está sempre de braços abertos!

Brasília, a Capital City That’s a Place Apart

A slackline devotee practicing near the National Congress in Brasília, one of the host cities for the World Cup. An admirer said the city was “like 120 college campuses lined up next to one another.” SERGIO PEÇANHA / THE NEW YORK TIMES

 By DAVID WALDSTEIN

BRASÍLIA — The Brazilian flag reads, “Ordem e Progresso” — “Order and Progress” — which is somewhat curious in this wonderfully jumbled and beautiful country. For an outsider who has visited the samba-infused nightclubs of Rio de Janeiro, the Amazonian jungle or São Paulo, with its ramshackle favelas and snarled traffic, order is not what springs to mind.

Until you arrive in Brasília.

In a country known for its flair for improvisation, Brasília stands in jarring contrast, a city so orderly, it is hard to believe it is really in Brazil.

“You can’t find samba, you can’t find a street corner for a beer, and you can’t find football,” said Henrik Brandão Jönsson, whose book “Fantasy Island: The Brave New Heart of Brazil” explores the history and culture of Brasília. “They don’t even have favelas in the central city. It is totally alien for Brazil.”

A popcorn stand in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida, a Roman Catholic cathedral in Brasília designed by Oscar Niemeyer, one of the city’s chief architects. SERGIO PEÇANHA / THE NEW YORK TIMES

For many, one of Brazil’s signature sights is the soccer played on the beaches along the shimmering Atlantic Ocean. Brasília, roughly 580 miles northwest of Rio, is not even on the coast.

There is soccer, though.

On Monday, Brasília will host Brazil’s final Group C match, against Cameroon, at Estádio Nacional, one of the stadiums built for the World Cup. It was designed to fit in with its vast surroundings, where most streets’ names are not words, just numbers and letters.

Brasília, a relatively young city, is at its heart a showcase for Brazilian modernism, much of it designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the Pelé of Brazilian architecture. It is also known for its broad avenues, with free-flowing traffic and so-called superblocks of calm residential life.

An interior view of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida. ROBERT GHEMENT / EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Brasília, although the country’s capital, is distinctly un-Brazilian: too rigid and, yes, too organized.

“Love it or hate it,” said Nelson Sousa of the Federal District’s office of communications, who grew up here. “Everyone agrees it is different.”

Jönsson, a strong critic of Brasília for its dehumanizing scale, at least acknowledged, “It is very relaxing to go there straight from Rio.”

Started on a scratch of grassland on a 3,800-foot plateau in 1956 and inaugurated in 1960, Brasília was invented by politicians and bureaucrats for politicians and bureaucrats. Designed mainly by Lucio Costa, it is now Brazil’s fourth-largest city.

The concept, initiated by President Juscelino Kubitschek by constitutional decree, was to move the capital from Rio to a city that signified Brazil’s thrust into modernity and that incorporated social equality, with all the classes living side by side. Many of the working-class and poor residents, however, have been relegated to the outskirts of the city, in far less organized satellite towns.

Still, with mansions that would make a Beverly Hills homeowner gawk, the city has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America.

The pilot plan of the city center is in the shape of an off-center X, with the city divided into superblocks and smaller blocks containing modernist residential buildings. They were designed by Niemeyer to provide open, leafy spaces, with trees imported from other parts of the country.

The most iconic buildings include Niemeyer’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida and his palaces of the central government, all of which have been bathed in yellow and green lights during the World Cup. Under it all is a layer of striking red-brick dirt.

Costa took advantage of the unlimited space he had to work with, so Brasília’s scale is daunting, especially to pedestrians, who were seemingly forgotten amid Costa’s passion, much like Robert Moses’s in New York, to carry the city into an automobile-filled future.

Patrick Gough, an urban transportation planner from San Francisco, came to Brazil for the World Cup and made sure to include Brasília in his itinerary. Although awed by the architecture, he found the city itself a disappointment.

“It was a bold idea,” Gough said. “But in the end it was a failed experiment, and they are stuck with it. I feel bad for the people who live here and are so isolated from one another.”

In the central city, each superblock has a school, a social club, a health center and one or two commercial strips with restaurants and shops. There are no individual private homes in the pilot plan and no fences or walls, theoretically enabling someone to walk — if anyone ever would — the entire span from north to south.

“It is like 120 college campuses lined up next to one another,” said Fares el-Dahdah, a professor of architecture at Rice University and one of Brasília’s great proponents. He argued that criticism of Brasília was unfair and outdated, saying that Niemeyer’s designs had a uniquely Brazilian flair that was now appreciated. But even he acknowledged that the city was a place apart.

“It looks more like Houston than Brazil,” he said.

El-Dahdah became enthralled with Brasília as a teenager, when his father, Antoine, was appointed ambassador from Lebanon, serving from 1978 to 1983. El-Dahdah fell in love with the architecture, especially Niemeyer’s Itamaraty Palace, the home of the foreign ministry, which El-Dahdah called “the most ridiculously beautiful building in the world.”

The new soccer stadium, which went hugely over budget, is massive on the outside and almost cozy inside. Many predict it will be obsolete after the World Cup, although organizers insist it will be put to good use, with concerts and games featuring soccer teams from Rio and São Paulo that are hugely popular in Brasília.

The history of local soccer in Brasília is meager. The oldest club is Brasília, which was founded in 1975 and does not currently play in the top division. But when the original residents of Brasília arrived from other parts of the country, they brought their soccer allegiances with them. Rio’s Flamengo recently played there and sold out the stadium.

And on Monday, when the national team will be looking to secure a spot in the knockout stage and the world will be watching, the stadium is certainly expected to be full.

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