Brooklyn hipsters vs. Brooklyn Puerto Ricans?

avenue of puerto rico

Hipsters. You know, the people that you see all over Williamsburg.

Tonight it was announced at the Capicu Cultural show that a group of hipsters is allegedly trying to have the “Avenue of Puerto Rico” sign at Graham Avenue in Brooklyn removed. The reason for this is because “There is nothing Puerto Rican there”. I became infuriated and knew I had to write about this topic. I’m not from Brooklyn, and truth be told I seldom go there, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot take to arms for my Puertorican people. I’m waiting on exact details to share, but as of now, aside from word of mouth, I cannot independently verify this story.

If this turns out to be true, it doesn’t sit well with me at all. They are allegedly trying to use divide and conquer tactics, there is scuttlebutt that they have been reaching out to Mexicans, Dominicans, and other Latinos in the area to garner support for this “renaming” petition. “Why does it say ‘Avenue of Puerto Rico’, Graham Avenue has nothing to do with Puerto Rico.”

Historically Puertoricans have inhabited Graham Avenue, and that area since the late 1800′s. There was a period (until recently) when all you saw there were Puertorican people. Just because the area has been “gentrified” to a large degree, doesn’t mean Puertoricans are gone, or that we didn’t heavily influence the area. To attempt to erase us from there is a huge insult.

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Angel Rodriguez is a U.S Air Force veteran, columnist, musician, MMA fighter/enthusiast, foodie, online and television personality best known for his appearance on the prime time network tv show Cook your ass off!

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    • Sonia

      There are nothing but Puerto Ricans in that neighborhood. Born and raised in that section of brooklyn its an insult to think that someone is annoyed by the sign. Keep it walking because you would of only noticed that if you are constantly shopping there. You know everything is reasonably price so stop playing yourself..!

      • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

        Sonia, I haven't heard that term used in a long time, and I am loving it. "Don't play yourself". LOL. Awesome!

      • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

        Truth sister. “Get rid of the Puertoricans but keep the cheap stuff”. Stupid idiots don’t realize that it is our businesses and merchants that are providing the “cheap” stuff.

  • http://Facebook Kathleen

    I've also heard that they are trying to do that. If that is the case than I feel any street named after anything historical should be removed as well… Such as avenue of the America's & any other ave. if there is anything I can do to help prevent this name being changed please let me know I'm actually from Williamsburg and I pass graham every day… Every year they hold a puertorican feast there, people are trying to change history it isn't respectful at all especially by reaching out to other Latinos. A street sign isn't going to kill anyone so I don't understand what's the big deal

  • Dennis

    In a word ABSURD. I was born and raised in Williamsburg aka los sures. I live in Harlem and visit often. Let's rename all of Harlem's street names because it's becoming gentrified. Really???? Someone needs to nip that Sh** in the bud right now!! Email if I can help!

  • http://www.lalistadeaura.com lalistadeaura

    I had worked on this area for the past few years and there Is a lot of Puerto Rican people in the area who live here, work and own many businesses on Graham ave. & Grand St. so that is a lot of Bu$$hit if true. I had not been asking to sign anything like that yet and I am her all the time. That would be an extreme insult to the Puerto Rican community.

    Any group of people who is asking for this, should be charge with a hate crime.

  • Isabella

    Are they kidding me ?!? Estos blancos se creen Que pueden mandar a cambiar un letrero that’s been there since FOREVER !!! Absolutely not !!!! WE WILL NOT ALLOW THAT NONSENSE !!! Born & raised on South 2nd & Keap !!!! I had to move because of those hinchos. Couldn’t afford the insane rents anymore !!! If there’s anything I can do please let me know !!!

  • http://facebook hanna

    its a bunch of bullshit raised in willyb leave the shit alone really

    • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

      What do you mean exactly?

  • Isabella

    How about we remove them …….

  • Albert

    Look-

    Before I get called "racist" or "anti-puerto rican" or whatever else you want to label me, I just want you to know that I come from an immigrant family. I'm only second generation, and I COMPLETELY understand the importance of celebrating our culture and our contributions to making NYC what it is today. Afterall, that's what makes us who we are.

    With that said, I lived in Bushwick for over a year, and I was absolutely disgusted by what I saw during my time living there. It was not at all uncommon to find rats the size of small cats fighting over pieces of garbage that were carelessly littered about on every street. Most buildings were tagged with graffiti. There were hundreds of small children who appeared to be malnourished, overweight, and unhealthy. These are REAL problems that I hardly see anyone discussing at all, so when I see outrage over the name of a f***ing STREET it gets under my skin a bit.

    So how about this – how about instead of worrying about a something as stupid as a street name, we focus some of our outrage and ambition on making a community that we can be proud of. I don't know about you, but when I see 40 puerto rican flags hanging above piles of rusted aluminum and doritos bags and 8 year old kids the size of Buicks it doesn't exactly reflect the values I was raised with.

    Just a thought.

    • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

      Albert, you are not going to get attacked here. You make great points, and if you read the post that I'll be putting up shortly you will see that here at NYCTalking we absolutely care for, and address community issues. It's important. Nothing that you said is deemed offensive in my eyes, I love people that keep it real.

      You made valid points all across the board. However, I do believe in preserving the culture as well. I am sure that someone worked hard for the name to be put there. I agree that we need to address the problems bigger problems you mentioned, but I also believe that the name should be left alone.

      Thanks for you input, and please, always speak your mind brother.

    • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1075532680 Oremi Kwabena Bwire

      It is entirely possible to be outraged about all the things you mentioned and the removal of the street sign at the same time. It is not always one or the other.

  • http://nyctalking Jose Corredor

    This is a Puerto Rican Cultural disaster in the making . We need to call the old guard , the whos who with in the Puerto Rican diaspora . The same exact thing is happening in Chicago's Humbolt Park . If they succeed will it also occur in Spanish Harlem NYC . Will the new Mexican influx change the name of 116th st or Luis Munoz Marin blvd in Emilio Zapata . . Will the influx of Dominicans in Puerto Ricos Santurce want change the name to Villa Juan Pablo Duarte . This is deeper than we think .

  • Jon

    This rumor cannot be true. The 'hipsters' in general are looking for what they call 'authenticity' and brag about how real the hood is, even though they might be fake themselves.

    If anyone is trying to remove the sign, it's the rich REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS, who think it will be easier to sell overpriced garbage apartments to yuppies. And when the yuppies show up, even the hipsters are priced out.

    • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

      Who knows. It's just another one of those things where we the citizens know few details. I'll work to get more concrete info on this topic and share.

  • Angel

    Hopefully this is just hot air being blown by the new arrivals. An invitation to these individuals into Puerto Rican homes should alliviate any concerns about a Street sign. We can show them the positive influence that we are in the Williamsburgh Community. Hopefully common sense can prevail.

  • http://nytalking Jose Corredor

    This is a Puerto Rican Cultural disaster in the making . We need to call the old guard , the whos who with in the Puerto Rican diaspora . The same exact thing is happening in Chicago's Humbolt Park . If they succeed will it also occur in Spanish Harlem NYC . Will the new Mexican influx change the name of 116th st or Luis Munoz Marin blvd in Emilio Zapata . . Will the influx of Dominicans in Puerto Ricos Santurce want change the name to Villa Juan Pablo Duarte . This is deeper than we think .

  • http://Facebook Odette

    This area has had some serious transformations, however, one thing has been consistent throughout the decades and that is the huge community of Puertorriqueños!!!! This area is a host to several other Latino cultures, but I believe the Puerto Rican community has earned the right to have that Avenue dedicated to them!!! From the Marqueta that sells all the veggies for my sofrito and pastelles, pernil and arroz con gandules to the Puerto Rican owned Johnny Albino record shop that houses all the old school salsa which is blasting every Saturday! The window displays all the famous salseros and their instruments!!! Both establishments have been there since I was a little girl! Several things have changed, Las Palmas coco icys have since been replaced by Marino's Italian ice and we've lost a couple of cuchifrito spots…..but Puerto Ricans are still living, breathing and loving Williamsburg and that is one thing I know will never ever change! Thank you Mr. Rodriguez for writing this article and keeping us informed! I hope that the Puerto Rican community along with its neighbors raise up and fight for the right to be acknowledged!!! Que viva la Avenida de Puerto Rico!!!

    • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

      Like my homeboy Papo Swiggity says "Elevacion"!

  • twjd

    With all due respect, you should get facts before publishing an article like this, because all it does is create further tension between the hispanic community and so called "hipsters" in Williamsburg, and there is already too much. As someone suggested above, I would guarantee that if this is even remotely true, which i doubt it is, it is the work of politicians and REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS. Let me tell you all something you may have not realized, all of you who blame "hipsters" (a completely outdated term, by the way, created and perpetuated by the New York Times) and "gringos" for the transformation and gentrification of the neighborhood. It was GIULIANI, BLOOMBERG and the REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS who raised your rents, it wasn't us "gringos". We came to the neighborhood looking for an affordable place to live just like everyone else. Big business real estate finally realized the potential for Williamsburg after all of these years and are capitalizing on that. Leave the "hipsters" out of it. They aren't contributing to the downfall of your community. Direct your concerns towards them and maybe the new money in million dollar Kent Avenue high rises, "hipsters" aren't the ones moving into them, they can't afford that shit!

    • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

      Hey, I take it you may be, or relate with the term hipster. I agree, most people here, myself included will be biased on this topic. I tried to keep the post neutral, and informative.

      To be totally honest, this is the second version of the article, the first one was very harsh, but a new friend (a hipster by the way) shed some light for me and I decided to clean it up.

      I don't have all the facts, but I decided to share the post on the off chance that this is true. If we wait until the sign is gone to take a stand, well, then it's too late.

      I mean no disrespect to any of you guys with this post, and I certainly have no problem with white folks, I'm just sharing this topic.

      In regards to the tension, I don't know much about that so I cannot intelligently comment.

      • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=538321026 Tasha Hanna

        Hi,
        Has there been an update on this? Its definitely still getting people (ok myself) riled. I’m not seeing this anywhere else and i’m beginning to doubt that this had any real traction.

        30+ year resident of bushwick/ridgewood btw

        • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

          I’ve spoken with a community organizer and have not heard of any further details. When I do I will most certainly share them. Thank you for your support Tasha…

  • Wemo

    It's interesting that at Metropolitan ave. Graham ave becomes Via Vespuci. Are these wankers going to try and chane that?

  • Wilson

    There are very few, almost NO Puerto Rican's living in that area! I can honestly guarantee you that everyone living there or at least 90% of the people living there WERE BORN AND RAISED IN NYC, which, last I checked, makes them all AMERICANS CITIZENS WHO HAVE BEEN PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SINCE CHILDHOOD, HENCE NOT MAKING THEM PUERTO RICANS!!!! I am all for national pride, but not for countries that you have no ties to! My mother is Colombian, my father is Ecuadorian, I was born in NYC, which logically means that I am a citizen of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and a proud one at that! I an neither Colombian nor Ecuadorian and those who do call me that are rapidly corrected!

  • Wilson

    I am a hispanic and proud to be one and you can call me that because it is fact! But I will never hail or honor any flag that is not the Star Spangled Banner! I wish people had more pride of their country so that we can fix the real problems of it, instead of worrying about insignificant issues as changing a street name….

  • Tito

    Born in DR, raised since age 3 in the southside, living in Bushwick now. I'm friends with a few folks who would qualify as hipsters mainly through Kung Fu school on Moore St and they're a down to earth bunch. I agree with an earlier post pointing at real estate developers trying to A. Divide the community (because like it or not they are part of it) and B. Erasing ethnic features the may seem "undesirable " to more affluent prospects down the line.

    • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

      Kung fu trained hipsters? I better get my butt back to my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling before I get my butt whooped by a hipster. Lol.

      Seriously though, I'm hearing more and more that this may just be a ploy to divide the community, and I wouldn't be surprised. As a writer, I felt I had to share what I was informed of. However I believe I make mention that this is scuttlebutt at this moment. I'm trying to setup some time to speak with the activist that brought us this information.

      Due to scheduling issues we haven't been able to link up, but I hope to do so soon enough. :-) Thanks for the feedback!

  • lu

    isn't it Puerto Rican not Puertorican?

    • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

      You are correct Lu.

  • Jose’ molina – Ye

    I grew up in williamsburg 1975 – 1998. I frequently return to grandham to pay homage to the many stores still selling Boriqua articfacts: music, instruments, clothing, especially foods like the Cuchifrito on the corner of Broadway next to Modells. Avenue if Puerto Rico is as symbolic of “a place and/or state of mind” and an “Era” of LATINO EMPOWERMENT than it is of a specific cultural group. There was a time when ALL LATIONOS OR HISPANICS WERE REFERED TO AS PUERTO RICAN!!! It was the pun b line in jokes and countless actors and actresses were of Boriqua flavor: RITA MORENO who is the FIRST and maybe STILL ONLY actor/actress to have earned ALL THREE MAJOR AWARDS: Tony, Emmy, ans an Oscar. Avenue of Puerto Rico- It symbolizes an area of: family, community, struggle, sacrifice, music, poetry, rhythm, beauty: 7 Miss Universe titles, art, , pride, honor, Surpreme Court Justice, countless veterens, and empowerment. History shows that PUERTO RICANS were the PIONEERS for MOST OF THE LATINOS Civil Rights Movements now so taken for granted… If the city is goin to erase, remove, or displace an idetifying and well earned and deserved BADGE OF HONOR AND DISTINCTION then the CITY OF NEW YORK would have so many more nameless streets and just numbered. SO STOP THE INSTITIONALIZED RACISM AND SYSTEMATIC DISENFRANCHISEMENT CRAP and leave it as it is… Hey whitey lets go to your mamas grave and change it to DEAD WHITE WOMAN… And see how you feel about that? THE STREET SIGN IS BIGGER THAN RACISM… It provides: direction, purpose, and most importanly LANGUAGE- which gives us CULTURE AND HISTORY; a reminder of THE BEST IN ALL OF US- our HUMANITY and REVERENCE TO GOD!!!!

    • http://www.nyctalking.com Angel Rodriguez

      That’s an amazing response. I absolutely love it, your perspective, details, and message is awesome. Gotta work a bit on the spelling (lol), but that’s ok, the content is amazing! Thank you for sharing this awesome perspective with us!

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=539527569 Dstroy Melendez

    Did you guys hear about the show East WillyB about Latino’s dealing with Gentrification? They have episodes on youtube. http://youtu.be/B1yksn0wzFU

  • carmen colon morales

    How ignorant we have become a street sign signifies the history behind this community. I am a resident of williamsburg for more then 50 years. Puerto Ricans were the first brooklyn hipsters better take a back seat because they have no history, all they have maybe is money and we all know that there are certain things that u cannot buy especially history. Hipsters find your own corner of the earth. This one belongs to the puertorricans

  • Rick Kearns

    Bravo Angel. If we don’t write about and protect our own history they will erase our presence, if they take note of it at all. (My full name is Kearns-Morales, family from San German). We need to record the stories of the elders too. I hope the The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College helps in this effort.

  • http://Hipster.com.au Alex

    lol – “A group of hipsters is allegedly trying to have the “Avenue of Puerto Rico” sign at Graham Avenue in Brooklyn removed.” What will the hipster think of next?

  • carmen colon morales

    are u kidding me momie always took me down graham avenue to buy my easter clothes and we drank cafe con leche at george’s resturant. this was over 50 years ago we have history what the fuck is yours. if u take out avenida de puerto rico u better take out via vespucci

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1503150315 Eddie Jimenez

    First if ave of puerto rico go’s………. via vespucci also must go.
    That is what Graham ave north of Grand Street is called. if they can not see Puerto ricans, I know for sure they can not see Italians. if you never flew a P.R. flag on your car make it your business to do so this Month. and make sure to drive throogh Moore st. and honk for a honkie. pa que lo sepa ( jopee) lol

  • Ivy

    @christopher Reyes. Unfortunately I was witness to that last year while I was on Moore St at the record shop looking for a Domino table with Puerto Rico emblems for a gift. The cops came out their car entered both record shops & threatened the owners with summonses if the music wasn’t lowered or turned off. Reason being “neighbors feel it is noise pollution “. Why cause they don’t know how to sing along… Man to all hipsters yuppies freaking white immigrants your not in Kansas anymore!!!! Williamsburg is the heart & home of the Latino culture and that section you chose to live in definitely is the home & stomping ground to many proud well educated, well mannered also owners of mom & pop shops. Individuals know as
    PUERTO RICAN, BORICUAS, NEWYORRICANS LATINOS & if you think otherwise so be it regardless everyone was there before you. .
    Live & let live

  • Jessica Gonzalez Rodriguez

    Not happening… Graham Ave will always be known as the Avenue of Puerto Rico..my beautiful people. These white people need to stay in the city and stop coming to the ave no one wants u there. How have the made the ave better? Pigs I say its like 15 white people in renting one apt just to make rent and thats a fact. They cheap they dont spend money in the ave they just live there because the rent is way cheaper then the city. They walk around the ave collecting garbage.I dont see how they have made the ave better…

  • Larry Tito Romero

    Hopefully this is a rumor, I live in Florida now but am a Brooklyn Boy. In the 60′s 70′s, 80′s and 90′s I frequented Graham Ave. “Avenue of Puerto Rico”. We made that area what it is and cor these newcomers, who have no history in the area to try and change the name is riduculous. The same way we were told to go back to Puerto Rico many years ago, I say the need to go back where they came from. We have a history there, we struggled to bring growth to the community and we deserve the recognition for sticking it out in a neighborhood no one else wanted to live in. Que se ballan a freir papas!

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