The Prado is a raised, wide marble and granite promenade that splits the Paseo De Marti’s one-way traffic into two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes. The Prado is also the commonly accepted divider between “Old Havana” to the east and “Centro Havana” to the west, although the difference is not readily apparent. The Prado begins at Parque Central and ends at the Ave. De Maceo (the Malecon).
It’s approximate eight block length is a natural gathering place for all kinds of people. Children play with soccer balls, climb on the statues, and push home-made skateboards. Old people gather to sit and talk. Beggars gather to make conversation with tourists in hopes of being offered a CUC. On the weekends a wide variety of artists set up stands hoping to sell their sketches, paintings, carvings, jewelry, or beadwork. Of course there’s always a hip younger guy who wants to sell you some cigars … cheap! He’ll whisper to you … “my brother works in the cigar factory” … you want Cohibas? … Monte Cristos?”
The Prado is still in very good condition, but it’s dirty with soot from car and bus exhaust and when wet, it’s dangerously slippery. But that’s another story.