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Old 12-29-2004, 11:27 AM
VirtualBoricua VirtualBoricua is offline
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Here's another news item concerning East Harlem...

Mexican Governor Experiences Kindest Cut
By Daniela Gerson
The New York Sun, December 28, 2004

The governor-elect of Puebla, Mexico, made a campaign promise to do all he could to strengthen ties with Pueblans living in New York. But he never pledged to leave a piece of himself here.

On December 19, while traveling by plane from San Diego to New York, the governor, Mario Marin, felt severe stomach pain - pain so bad, he said, that it made him understand the pain women experience in childbirth. When the plane landed, he was whisked to Metropolitan Hospital Center in East Harlem, where surgeons removed his appendix in the middle of the night.

The 50-year-old lawyer won a landslide victory last month as the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. The win was part of a comeback for the PRI, the country's ruling party for 71 years until Vicente Fox of the National Action Party won the presidency in 2000.

The 2.5 million Pueblans living in America are indispensable constituents to the governor of Puebla, even if they cannot vote from abroad, he said yesterday at a press conference at the hospital. Mr. Marin said there were 1.2 million living in the tri-state area.

The Pueblans in New York City have been the driving force behind the city's Mexican explosion - they are the city's fastest-growing immigrant group.

The Pueblan community here is made up largely of undocumented young men who take bottom-rung work such as scrubbing dishes, toiling in factories, and working at construction jobs. For the 5.5 million remaining in the state of Puebla, according to Mr. Marin, the exodus of young men to America has left behind an unbalanced society of mostly women, children, and the elderly.

The pattern is so imbedded, Mr. Marin said, speaking in Spanish, that when he asks 2- and 3-year-old boys what they want to be when they grow up, they respond, "I want to be an immigrant. I want to go to the United States."

Mr. Marin said he would create offices in both countries to help solve problems created by this immense migration. One in Manhattan would help Pueblans navigate the city, assist with connecting family members, and provide a low-cost and secure option for remittances - Pueblans living in America send home $2 billion a year, he said. The remittance program he plans to create would also encourage them to invest some of that money strategically in Puebla.

In Puebla, he plans to set up an office to provide assistance to families left behind, and to educate young people about the risks of immigrating illegally to America.

Mr. Marin, whose father came to America numerous times during World War II as a bracero, under a guest-visa program implemented to assist with wartime labor shortages, said he was encouraged by President Bush's plan to issue visas for temporary workers.

"There is security and better labor protection," Mr. Marin said, discounting other criticism that temporary worker programs have received for importing workers without the benefits of immigration. "It worked for my father."

In January Mr. Marin will be showing his support, traveling to Washington to attend an inaugural ball. More trips to New York are also planned, starting in May with Cinco de Mayo celebrations. There will be an added poignancy to that trip, he said, because when he has visited New York before it was because of the Pueblan community here, but now he will return because the city saved its life.

Yesterday, he returned to the hospital to give thanks. His health was restored. While he canceled a planned visit to Chicago's Pueblan community, he said he was enjoying the extra days in New York.

The president of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Benjamin Chu, echoed the sentiments of various hospital officials expressing their pleasure to be of assistance. But Dr. Chu said: "Next time you come to New York, you don't have to leave another body part."
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Old 12-30-2004, 03:37 PM
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Jose Jose is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: East Harlem/El Barrio/Spanish Harlem
Posts: 272
I remember the day he was admitted to Metropolitan Hospital. I know someone who works there and was told about it. I am glad that a Hospital in East Harlem was able to help.
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:35 AM
VirtualBoricua VirtualBoricua is offline
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Around the Corner From Nowhere???

I think this columnist deserves a massive response from East Harlemites, don't you?

Around the Corner From Nowhere
NY Times, January 9, 2005

I took a right on Pleasant Avenue, and another on the chin.

Turning onto 119th Street in East Harlem, as my two young sons spun in their car seats for a better look at Daddy's old block, I drove slowly by a row of dilapidated buildings. The sidewalks were pitted with more cracks and sprinkled with more bits of broken glass than I remembered. The past that I thought would be everywhere, was in fact, nowhere. Gone were the friends who once clustered in these doorways, their electric smiles and thumping boomboxes breathing life into the tired brownstones we called home.

I wanted to show my wife and children the block where I grew up, which I hadn't seen for 16 years. But in the time since my family went north - to Pelham Bay in the Bronx - the old block had gone south. On this mild December morning, the streets were desolate. No Philly Rags with his impeccable wardrobe. No Cowboy Joe, who wore a 10-gallon hat and told long-winded tales that no one ever believed. No Fat Angelo, who this time of year would be selling the women's perfume he bottled in his bathtub. No familiar faces to greet my wife and children, and so it was no surprise that these suburban sweethearts, their soles scuffed with grass, couldn't understand my love for this rough, tattered place.

Where once a garden stood in the middle of the block, I saw a vacant lot. In the schoolyard across the street, where I once shot hoops into netless rims, even the rims were gone. And the door to my old building, at No. 512, was no longer a cool shade of summertime green, but had been painted black. Every letter carved into that door from the turn of the century onward, including my initials, had been covered over, erasing countless bits of history from what was once one of the largest Italian-American enclaves in the United States.

At a time when many city streets, even in East Harlem, are benefiting from gentrification, my old block is hunched over and lonely, in dire need of a face-lift. Those magical four steps where the happier scenes of my life played out - first pair of skates, first kiss, second kiss - looked to me now just like any other stoop.

What happened? And where did all the people go? Where were Freddy and Dolly, of Freddy's Luncheonette, now that I needed them to pour the little guys their first egg creams? Whatever became of their jukebox, the one that only played Sinatra, no matter what selection you pressed?

"Did you play here, Daddy?" asked my 4-year-old, Christopher.

"Of course," I said. "Right over there in the park."

"What park?" he asked.

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