Interview with Maria, Israel, & Andy

Maria: We just saved someone’s life. She just got off the bus and…she threw up everything out there. And me and Israel…He’s a savior, he’s always a savior. He’s a cooker too. On Puerto Rican day you’re gonna see him on that corner around here.

This area changed a lot compared to the way it was before, and it’s sorry for us because some of the stores are closing. That was our building―the Puerto Rican House. They closed it. They’re going to knock it down. Somebody Puerto Rican, they bought it (they’re going to rebuild it). Probably a lot of people told you do not go to that corner. People talk a lot, but we are beautiful persons. Every Sunday we’ve got a band, we got everything―dancing. We dance some salsa, merengue. We’ll teach you.

Israel: I’ve been here twenty-one years on this corner…I’m the neighborhood doctor. [You’ll see] everybody―Black, White, Spanish…

Andy: This area it wasn’t safe to be out at night, and it changed for the better. I mean the yuppies are taking over this area and making it harder for the low-income people even to afford the rent. Then all these developments popping up all over the place and then they’re charging outrageous amounts for the rents and making it harder for low-class people to afford even rent in this area now. And the alderman he don’t seem to be helping that much around for the community. (But) this whole area changed for the better. When I was growing up it wasn’t safe to be around here, this park was drug-infested with drug dealers. I mean there’s still a few around, but we chase them away. They come here passing out free samples of heroin, you know, just so they can get established and then they get them hooked and then they keep coming back, but we don’t want that around here. Chino and the guys in the park that sponsor all these get-togethers in here, they don’t want them around this park. No heroin dealers here. You go on the west side.

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