Clayton’s Corner: At the Loisaida Festival on Avenue C [PHOTOS]

Posted on: June 1st, 2017 at 5:10 am by

Once again this past Memorial Day, the Loisaida Festival was in full force taking over Ave C from 6th Street to 12th Street. The annual event – founded in 1987 – is a way to get a taste of Hispanic culture: food, dancing, music, and of course, the streets filled with the local Hispanic residents. All combined to make for an incredibly festive day.

Loisaida, a term of endearment, was coined by legendary LES Puerto Rican Poet Bimbo Rivas from back in the day when Puerto Rican poets like Bimbo, Miguel Pinero, Jorge Brandon, “El Coco Que Habla,” Pedro Pietri, Miguel Algarín, Lucky Cienfuegos words took charge of the streets. This group went on and created the now internationally famous Nuyorican Poets Café.

On the stroll down the avenue, we ran into Power Malu, a lifelong Lower East Sider. Power is a leading (and original) member/coach of the Bridgerunners; he brought along the guest, Seisuke Kamimura. As Power explains: “Seis is a Master Chef. French trained, Japanese by heritage and gifted at channeling all flavors for the American palate. As Executive Chef, Seis has led the kitchens of Century Link Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC, RN74 in Seattle, Artisanal Brasserie in Bellevue, WA, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio in San Francisco, as well as Executive Sous Chef of Spago Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, under the tutelage of Wolfgang Puck.” So, it was natural one of our first stops was at Casa Adele 68 Avenue C.”

…Adela, the lady of this welcoming place, is thought, like Carmon Pabon (RIP), to be one of the grandmothers and guardians of the Puerto Rican LES. Her cooking is considered to be one of the top Puerto Rican home cooking restaurants in the whole city. For Power, he felt that he must introduce Seis to Adele. Adele gave us a minute of her time even though the place was jammed with customers…

…We also met Legendary Puerto Rican singer, Sonero, leader of the group Los Pleneros De La 21 (white beard)…

…Don Juan, the master hair cutter of Don Juan’s barbershop 303 E 4th Street, with his daughter and brother…

Close by was Jose “Freakyfrige” Cruz displaying his street sign caps. Frige came up with the brilliant idea of embroidering street and place names on caps: Avenue C, Avenue D, Baurcsh Houses, Essex Street, and so on. His partner, Charlie, grew up on the LES and his parents have a food stand in the Essex Market.

…There was Destiny Mata explaining the project she is involved in: Opening the Edge, Reimagining Green Space at Wald Houses…

…Roberto Mercado, like always, was on the street, documenting LES Hispanic culture adding to his historic collection…

…Also ran into the Eldridge crew- young Emil, Annie Love, Johanna Cabral, Coss Marte, Miguel, (B6046).

…Jonathan Boyargin, second from the right…

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