Resilience on Display at Loisaida Fest

At the 31st annual Loisaida Festival. (Photo by Cristóbal Vivar for Manhattan Times)

The 31st annual Loisaida Festival, held over the Memorial Day weekend, featured bomba y plena music, cuchifritos and piña coladas, live theater, politicians, vendors and more – with particular resonance this year for the participants, given that the island of Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane María, which struck eight months ago. Desirée Johnson of Manhattan Times checked out the event.

Born and raised in Loisaida, Carlina Rivera said she never missed the festival and its unique rituals.

“Every year, in front of Adela’s Restaurant, which serves authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, you get this circle of congueros,” said the Councilmember. “And they create this annual thing to look forward to where you can dance and create music. You can get your tambourine, get your instrument. It’s what our local celebrations are made up of.”

“Even the Puerto Rican name – Loisaida – is reflective of the impact of Puerto Rican and Latino community in this neighborhood,” she added. “Latinos are still here, we are still presente, we are still contributing, we still need to be recognized and respected. Especially with what’s going on in Puerto Rico right now.”

The event took as its theme “Bridging Resurgence: From Sandy to María.” For many, the festival was a celebration of resilience – of Puerto Ricans and Latinos, and of their Lower East Side neighborhood, even in the face of gentrification. Go to Manhattan Times to read what Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and others had to say about resilience.

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