The Median

Words: Riquelmy Sosa
Photo: @shot_bystrech

I woke up to the rapid vibrations of hushed voices piercing my pillow. Before hearing them out, I turned closer to San Miguel on the nightstand. I pulled the covers tight above my head, folded my hands and silently pleaded that my dad wasn’t hanging out with his best friend, Johnnie Walker, again. For sure, I thought all the santos had granted my wishes, for I could only hear the voices of women coming from the other end of the hallway: “Teresita, recapacita, this has to stop. You can’t keep living this way. Mira eta mierda.” I knew too well to stay out of grown folks way, especially at 6 a.m., but that didn’t stop me from tiptoeing past my snoring dad and strolling towards the glowing light in the kitchen.

I stood at the doorway staring at her; forcing myself to reconcile the woman from yesterday in her tight leather skirt and pink heeled boots pacing the street corner with the shattered frame on the chair. My mom was feverishly rubbing vivapuru over her black eye when she saw me. I braced myself waiting for the fresh sting of the chancleta. “Josefina, baja te abajo a donde Margarita. Tell her to give you a little bit of cebo and sal.” “But Mami, I said, it’s 6 am!” “Y yo te pregunte hora?! Go, go, take Edgar with you.”

For the first time, I noticed Edgar slouched on the ironing board with his hands folded in his lap. He kept his head hung low staring at his pants. Judging by his stillness, I realized that he didn’t understand that my mom’s sandals curved like a boomerang. I grabbed his arm jolting him back to life and bolted towards the doorway. Before we could mutter our words at her front door, Margarita was at work with my mom, shifting her way between Teresita and the pot on the stove. We left them to the cotton swabs, the Ave Maria’s and that awful smell of jengibre, herbs and I’m gonna save yous, boiling on the stove.

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Uptown Video: In Search of NYC’s Best Mangú

If you are on a quest for NYC’s best Mangú, then Washington Heights is your logical destination. Pero Like’s Gadiel Del Orbe came to the hood to try the best and the worst mangú based on yelp reviews.

Related: DR Travelogue: The Magnificent Mangu

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All Rise for La Reina | Manhattan Times

It was a merengue milestone – con Milly.

To celebrate a major anniversary in the traditional rhythm and dance that originated in the Dominican Republic, Catholic Charities Alianza Dominicana hosted royalty uptown.

The organization hosted a free concert with Milly Quezada, an artist whose career has spanned four decades and who is long considered “La Reina del Merengue.”

Alianza collaborated with SOMOS, a nonprofit, physician-led network serving over 700,000 patients across the city, to bring the hour-long celebration of music to the Centro Cultural Alianza Dominicana (The Cultural Center) at the Triangle Building.

Read more: All Rise for La Reina | Manhattan Times

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Spread Love: The African Diaspora International Film Festival Kicks Off Today

The 27th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival is back people. The festival takes place from November 29 to December 15 and boasts an outstanding line up of films from all over the world. Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Nigeria, Egypt, Brazil are all represented in this truly global film festival. The Opening Night film is Ali’s Comeback: The Untold Story about Ali’s return to boxing after being imprisoned for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War.

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Increase in emergency food needs | Bronx Free Press

This chill is not cool.

Fear over the “public charge” rule is creating a “chilling effect” and threats to federal programs are sending more people to the emergency food network, according to a new report released by the Food Bank for New York City.

Food pantries and soup kitchens in the city have seen an increase in immigrants, seniors, and families with children using their services in the past year, said the report, which was compiled with data from Food Bank’s network of emergency food locations.

A large majority of food pantries and soup kitchens have also documented an increase in first-time visitors.

The report was released on November 25 at the Food Bank for New York City’s annual legislative breakfast, which was attended by numerous elected officials such as City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and City Councilmember Rafael Salamanca.

Proposals by the federal government to eliminate SNAP eligibility for 3.1 million people, change the federal definition of poverty, and alter assistance for the unemployed have threatened food assistance for many, and could cause New Yorkers to lose nine million meals per month, the Food Bank said.

Read more: Increase in emergency food needs: report | Bronx Free Press

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Uptown Talk: Latinos Out Loud – Happy LoudsGiving

On this week’s episode of Latinos Out Loud, the group talks about Rachel’s UCB Sketch Writing 301 graduation show, Bago loving his new Google Home device, and everybody’s plans for Thanksgiving.

On “Bochinche Bites”, Jaime dishes on a Florida dog driving a car, a bodybuilding grandmother beating up a home intruder and London getting its cherry popped with the opening of the first ever Vagina Museum.

Continuing from last week, Frank stuffs our brains on the Artificial Strawman on this week’s Frankspiracy News.

The crew interviews comedian Chris Garcia about his new podcast, “Scattered”, where he uncovers the truth about his father’s past after his death. He talks to us about the making of the podcast, his dad’s history with Alzheimer’s, trying to find humor through tough times and his experience writing for the Netflix sitcom, “Mr. Iglesias”

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UC Must-Reads: How Latinos saved American cities

Our UC Must-Read goes to A. K. Sandoval-Strausz for an essay in the Washington Post entitled How Latinos saved American cities. The pieces make a compelling case for the heavy lifting Latinos did in keeping many of America’s urban neighborhoods alive.

Check out: UC Must-Reads: How Latinos saved American cities

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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.⁣⁣
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.⁣⁣
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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