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Mexican New York

March 1, 2010

There are about 3 or 4 places I go to buy cafe, cookies, pizza, and mexican food-not because these spots are particularly great or even cheap, but because the Mexicans that work there are always friendly. We converse about the weather, talk about their place of origin, my families place of origin, and exchange smiles. Occasionally I’ll get a free slice, an extra cookie, tecate, or asked what song I would like to listen to. On those particularly long and isolating (alienating) days of school these encounters are uplifting and provide much needed energy.  I wonder if I get more out of these encounters than they do. Maybe so. 

After about 18 months of living in NYC, I finally headed to Queens-the place where “all the Mexicans are.” Not knowing what to expect I was struck by what I encountered on roosevelt avenue. An entire street filled with Mexican joints: restaurants, bars, dance and pool halls. It was the similarity of each of these places that hit me: in all of the spaces entered I encountered young males, cervesa in hand and listening and contemplating the words of some of the most beautiful written songs ever: tragos amargos, reloj, que casualidad, amor eterno, cien anos, ella, and many more. Was this street an aberration; reflection of an overwhelmingly male migration to New York along with the absence of Mexican migration in the past? While bars filled with males is not uncommon, the amount of these spaces seemed significantly different from what I have seeing in Los Angeles, Guadalajara, or Mexico City. Is this space the production of larger structural factors? Gender norms (discrimination)? Not sure. Yet, roosevelt street, I think, is linked to Mexican male migrants all over the country and throughout the years:  expressing and feeling loneliness, melancholy, and friendship via music and with a cervesa in hand. I leave you all with Antonio Aguilar’s Paso del Norte:
(you tube: paso del norte). 
And Jose Jose’s El Triste
5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2010 4:48 pm

    migrant hot spots deep in the US are the new wild west. we the new outlaws but the man is still the man. -ii

  2. March 4, 2010 3:42 pm

    I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

  3. March 4, 2010 6:41 pm

    nacho is the man….this summer if you dont visit me, i might have to looking for you.r

  4. April 15, 2010 10:59 pm

    I know what your mean, my mexican community is for the most part warm and ready to give you a smile, me gusta la idea que tienes a donde ir y encotrar o llevar una sonrisa y un gesto noble.


  1. Dream Act and José José « Pocho in Greater Mexico

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