Memory of a Place

BY Riquelmy Sosa

In a freshly pressed, buttoned-down white collar shirt barely visible underneath a green blazer, I walked down the four flights of chipped marble stairs out into the beaming sun. The wind usually blew my green checkered skirt into the air but I was always good at not letting it expose my ivory stockings. Careful not to step on the red and blue crack tops with my polished black loafers that held a shiny, copper penny, I would make my way past the eerie funeral home underneath our building and down the deserted street.⁣⁣
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On these brisk winter mornings, the streets were often quiet and my walks to school pretty uneventful. Using the change that was my allowance, I often stopped at the corner bodega. I would duck past the half-open aluminum gate stained with graffiti, past the platanos, onions, and yuca hugging the aisles and sneak into the small space with junk food spilling out of the racks. Knowing well that I would choose the same Linden chocolate chip and crunchy Cheez Doodles, I would still spend too much time glancing up and down the rack, as if it held something that was not there the day before. With my usual selection and two quarters in hand, I would tiptoe to reach the counter. Machepa, the owner, would greet me, “dime, pa donde va – pa le escuela?” Not giving me a chance to respond, he’ll start giving me advice on staying in school and not falling off track. Never a shy kid, I would engage him in conversation and then remember that I didn’t need another late slip in my life. I would scurry off to make it before the school doors closed, jump past the water blasting from the hose in 204 and half-shimmy, half-sway up the stairs to homeroom.⁣⁣
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That quiet morning rhythm did not normally last past dismissal. The streets would then be lined with neighbors carrying bags of groceries, moms and pops zigzagging their way through the crowds of gente making their way home, chamaquitos running away from their abuelas, and addicts making their way to the jodedores stuffed in down jackets on the stoops.

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Uptown Video: Cardi B Brings Vogue Uptown For 73 Questions

Queen Cardi B brought Vogue Magazine to her grandmother’s apartment in Washington Heights for an expansive, insightful and funny Q&A that touches on the music biz, motherhood, and her highly anticipated new album, which drops next year. Check it out.

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Call For Submissions: 2020 Uptown Arts Stroll Poster Contest

Once again it’s on. Listen up familia NoMAA has put out the call for submissions for the 2020 Uptown Arts Stroll Poster Contest. This is a big deal for artists that make Uptown their home. Not only will you get your work in front of untold numbers of your Uptown peers but you will also receive a $1250 honorarium. That’s right so make sure you bring your A Game and start submitting. You have until February 24, 2020. Hit the jump for more info.

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UC Must-Reads: Dembow Took Over the Dominican Republic. Can It Take Over the World?

Oh snap, dembow, the popular youth driven Dominican music that has taken over the Dominican Republic and the diaspora, has now gone global. That’s right people; dembow has made it to the storied pages of Rolling Stone. Suzy Exposito and Elias Leight wrote a wonderful piece on the unlikely ascent of the genre with the suggestive title “Dembow Took Over the Dominican Republic. Can It Take Over the World?”

Check out: UC Must-Reads: Dembow Took Over the Dominican Republic. Can It Take Over the World?

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Examining homelessness among NYC college students | Manhattan Times

By Gregg McQueen

“I graduated, and that was it. You’re done,” said Hunter graduate Carina Taveras.

Carina Taveras was anxious.

As she sat through her Hunter College commencement ceremony this past May, Taveras kept checking her watch.

She was in a rush, eager to get her diploma.

But it was no celebration that awaited her – Taveras needed to leave the ceremony as soon as it was over so she could vacate her dorm in time.

“[There was a] policy where if we stayed past the day we were supposed to be there, we got charged $150 a day,” she said. “I had to clean my room, pack my stuff, and basically get out of there. I couldn’t enjoy my full ceremony.”

More concerning for Taveras was the fact that she had no place to live after leaving the dorm and finishing at Hunter.

She has spent the past several months living in a shelter in the Bronx.

Taveras said she felt there was a lack of resources at college to help her with her housing issues.

“I graduated, and that was it. You’re done,” she remarked.

Taveras’ story is not uncommon for students attending City University of New York (CUNY), as a new report indicates that 55 percent of CUNY students have experienced housing insecurity in the past year, while 14 percent have been homeless.

Released by youth advocacy group The Young Invincibles (YI), the report was the basis for a panel discussion in Manhattan on November 18 focusing on student homelessness in New York City.

“Student homelessness has been getting more attention recently, but we still aren’t doing enough to address the challenges that students experiencing homelessness face as they try to complete their high school education,” said Marissa Muñoz, YI’s Northeast Regional Director. “A college degree is a path to financial stability, and New York City has a responsibility to make sure that all students get the support they need to complete their degree and achieve their dreams.”

Read more: Examining homelessness among NYC college students | Manhattan Times

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12/07/19: Community, Displacement, and The Arts: 400 Years to the Future

Community, Displacement, and The Arts: 400 Years to the Future
Sat, December 7, 2019 – 11 AM to 5 PM
Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
530 West 166th Street 5th Floor

NoMAA presents a day of professional development & networking for the creative and civic minded. Keynote Speaker: Manuela Arciniegas

As we mark the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arriving to the shores of Jamestown, Virginia, as a nation, we finally have begun to face this centuries-long legacy of inequality. Despite an imbalance in power and systemic and structural barriers, the arts have kept our communities thriving. But as artists and cultural producers are displaced by high rents and gentrification, what does this mean for our ever-evolving communities? What role does the arts have in helping to dismantle structural inequities and sustain community? How can and how does the arts galvanize the power of the people to affect change? This full day symposium will begin to grapple with these questions while providing participants an opportunity to connect, vision, and build for the next 400 years.

Curated and produced in collaboration with Women of Color in the Arts – WOCA

HOW WOCA + NoMAA DEFINE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

We define technical assistance as the transmission of knowledge, experience, and expertise to tackle problems, big and small, within the arts sector and the world. We believe that robust conversations, sharing and learning with peers, and deep, critical conversations begin to give us the tools we need in order to work collaboratively, think proactively, and build our shed of practical instruments to sharpen our intellectual hardware for the future.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS

Existence and Resistance: Black Women Propelling The Arts + Community Forward

400 years of oppression have led to the systemic inequities we see today – from unequal distribution of wealth trickling down to inadequate resources for our cultural institutions to the appropriation of our land and cultural products for economic gain. While these injustices have certainly contributed to the destabilization of communities, building and maintaining creative capital have been key to helping historically disenfranchised communities survive. Black women, in particular, have always been at the center of this movement of (re)stabilizing communities, taking the lead as artists, activists, cultural workers, and organizers. Hear how Black women of the Diaspora are continuing to propel the arts field forward and helping our communities to not only survive, but, to thrive.

Panelists:

  • Tasha Douge, artist, activist, and cultural producer
  • Karen Taylor, founder, While We Are Still Here
  • Melody Capote, executive director, Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
  • Sarita Covington, co-founder, ACRE (Artists Creating Real Equity)

In the Face of Gentrification: Displacement and Its Impact on the Arts

While the arts and artists have often been exploited for the sake of gentrification, history has shown us that the arts have been integral in helping to amplify social issues and mobilize communities. So the arts have also been a catalyst and critical component in the struggle against gentrification and, effectively, displacement – its prominent byproduct as experienced by many historically disenfranchised communities. It is clear that gentrification disproportionately affects artists and cultural creators but in what ways has displacement affected the arts sector? And what can artists and cultural institutions do to authentically help empower communities, mitigate the effects of displacement in the face of gentrification, and build for the future?

Panelists:

  • Nadema Agard, visual artist + Director of RED EARTH STUDIO CONSULTING / PRODUCTIONS
  • Sita Frederick, artist + director of Community Engagement at Lincoln Center Education
  • Yin Kong, director, Think Chinatown
  • Elena Martinez, co-director, Bronx Music Heritage Center

Get TIX: 12/07/19: Community, Displacement, and The Arts: 400 Years to the Future

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Uptown Talk: Latinos Out Loud – Twerking on the Titanic

On “Bochinche Bites” Jaime dishes on a congressman passing gas on live television, an Air B&B spot with hidden cameras and a vegan suing Burger King.

On this week’s Frankspiracy News Frank believes the sinking of the Titanic was an inside job.

The crew interviews singer Melaner Quiroz about her experience on the singing competition show “Reina De La Canción”, her love Juan Luis Guerra, and advice for aspiring singers who want to pursue their musical dreams like she did.

On this week’s Que Lo Que Quickie, the group chats with Senior Animator for Mass Appeal, Hector Arias. He tells us about growing up in Williamsburg before it got taken over by hipsters and shares insight on some of his professional animator/motion designer for projects like the Showtime Wu-Tang Clan documentary.

We invite you to subscribe to the weekly Uptown Love newsletter, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter & Instagram or e-mail us at UptownCollective@gmail.com.