Almudena Zarco, the granddaughter of the founder of the 110-year-old Bisutería Otero, one of Madrid’s oldest surviving jewelers, agrees: “This is very sad, and not just for me. Madrid will lose out, because the tourists will stop coming if we lose the character of our city.”
The rent hike will also mean the loss of more jobs. “My eight employees are part of my family,” says Pepa Eznarriaga, who, along with her three brothers, runs the Así doll and soft-toys shop on Madrid’s Gran Vía. Once home to cafés and the city’s big movie theaters, Gran Vía has in recent years been taken over by fashion stores such as H&M and Zara.
Zarco agrees: “Even the most recent [staff members] joined five years ago. They all have proper contracts, not like the people who will work in the stores that come after us: souvenir shops, fast food restaurants or pawnbrokers. That’s not creating jobs.”Roberto would have agreed, had he not been left behind with the machine gun to delay the fascists. The ancestors of those rentiers who will take over Madrid when the new year starts.
If it's a moveable feast, that will be good.