Mooca is one of the oldest boroughs in the city of São Paulo (which back then was known as São Paulo de Paranapanema, a jesuit mission founded in 1554). Mooca eventually became the first industrial area built in São Paulo. People who lived in Mooca in past times were factory workers. One of its oldest working-class sections is Vila Maria Zélia in the northern district of Belém. Many of these industrial installations eventually moved out of the city or closed down (even though a great number of them are still active) and, in many cases much of that industrial zoning became residential.
A great number of these working-class families from Mooca found prosperity and as São Paulo was gradually changing from an industrial city into a business centre many of those families started their own businesses (such as the Lorenzetti and Matarazzo families). Many of these more affluent families now reside in Tatuapé, another district east of Mooca. Another place of interest in Mooca that refers to its immigrant roots is the Juventus stadium (cap. 2000), a 2nd division (Brazil's A2 League) team that is closely associated with the local Italian community. The Italian community also hosts the famous yearly festivities of San Vito, Our lady of Casaluce, San Gennaro (patron saint of Naples) and Our Lady of Acheropita, with food and wine being sold on the streets to the sound of live traditional music.
Mooca is served by the São Paulo Metrô (subway) system in the Line 3 (Red Line). The segment that comprises today's Brás, Bresser-Mooca and Belém stations was built in 1975 and many working class houses (cortiços) were torn down in order to accommodate the expanding surface line. Bresser-Mooca station underwent further renovations (with state government funds) in 1987 as room was made for a bus depot that would mostly service routes to cities in southern Minas Gerais state.