While in Lisboa with my parents, we walked from the Miradouro Graça down to the Miradouro Santa Luzia, and in the process passed by a tiny little triangular plaza on a narrow neighborhood street. On the single building fronting this plaza was a nameplate. It said Jardim das Pichas Murchas, which means the Garden of Limp Dicks. (Or “Wilted Pricks,” depending on how you translate it.)
Of course we found this hilarious, and looked up the history of the place the moment we got home. Turns out that this little plaza was the brainchild of a man named Carlos Vinagre, who with his friend José António dreamed up the transformation of their little neighborhood plaza into a meeting place for the old men they regularly encountered there. Scavenging benches from banks, and tables and chairs from the Junta de Freguesia (parish council), they created a meeting place where the oldsters of the neighborhood could play cards, chat, and sing fado all night long if they wanted. And they did. One night their party grew so large and so loud that the local police arrived. Upon hearing that it was merely a party of the neighborhood locals, the police said, “Se é festa, então continuem.” (If it’s a party, then continue.)
The locals decided that since their plaza was a gathering place for old men, it required the name Jardim das Pichas Murchas, and even talked the Junta de Freguesia into accepting the name into the record books. A city plaque was installed, making it all official, until later when the Junta got cold feet and took the sign down. The name is still official, but the sign is not — the current sign was installed by locals, which explains its homemade appearance.
If you read Portuguese, you can learn more about the Jardim here. My favorite quote comes from Augusto Pereira, who was 66 when the linked article was written (in 2003): “A verdade é que aqui param muitas pichas murchas.” (The truth is, a lot of limp dicks stop here.)
We didn’t see any limp dicks on Friday afternoon, but it was still early.