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Nuyorican: The Great Puerto Rican Migration to New York

PODCAST This episode focuses on the special relationship between New York City and Puerto Rico, via the tales of pioneros, the first migrants to make the city their home and the many hundreds of thousands who came to the city during the great migration of the 1950s and 60s.

Today there are more Puerto Ricans and people of Puerto Rican descent in New York City than in any other city in the nation — save for San Juan, Puerto Rico.

And it has been so for decades. 

By the late 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans lived in New York City, but in a metropolis of deteriorating infrastructure and financial woe, they often found themselves at the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder, in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

Photograph shows a group of Puerto Ricans, at Newark airport, who just arrived by plane from Puerto Rico waiting to be transported to New York / 1947, World Telegram & Sun photo by Dick DeMarsica, courtesy Library of Congress

Puerto Rican poets and artists associated with the Nuyorican Movement, activated by the needs of their communities, began looking back to their origins, asking questions.

In this special episode Greg in joined by several guests to look at the stories of Puerto Ricans from the 1890s until the early 1970s. With a focus on the origin stories of New York’s great barrios — including East Harlem (El Barrio), the Lower East Side and the South Bronx.

FEATURING The origin of the Puerto Rican flag and the first bodegas in New York City!

WITH Dr. Yarimar Bonilla and Carlos Vargas-Ramos of CUNY’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (CENTRO), Pedro Garcia and Kat Lloyd of the Tenement Museum and Angel Hernandez of the Webby Award winning podcast Go Bronx.

LISTEN NOW: NUYORICAN — THE GREAT PUERTO RICAN MIGRATION


CENTRO, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, is the largest university-based research institute, library, and archive dedicated to the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.

Visit the Tenement Museum and see the exhibition Under One Roof

And listen to Angel and Olga’s show — the Go Bronx podcast! Find them here or listen to these two selections below:


Isabel González. Courtesy of Belinda Torres-Mary
Victoria and Rafael Hernandez, East Harlem music revolutionaries.
Puerto Ricans demonstrate for civil rights at City Hall, New York City] 1967 / World Telegram & Sun photo by Al Ravenna. (Library of Congress)
Puerto Rican Wedding, East Harlem, 1970. Vergara, Camilo J., photographer (Library of Congress)
Puerto Rican family on the Lower East Side. Vergara, Camilo J., photographer (Library of Congress)

SONG CLIPS FEATURED IN THIS SHOW (AND OTHER VINTAGE GOODIES)

FURTHER READING

Almost Citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution and Empire / Sam Erman
Borderline Citizens: The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration / Robert C. McGreevey
From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City / Virginia E. Sanchez Korrol
Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America / Juan Gonzalez
Hispanic New York: A Sourcebook / Edited by Claudio Ivan Remeseira
How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States / Daniel Immerwahr
Latinos in New York: Communities in Transition / Edited by Sherrie Baver, Angelo Falcon and Gabriel Haslip-Viera
Loisaida as Urban Laboratory: Puerto Rican Community Activism in New York / Timo Schrader
My Music Is My Flag: Puerto Rican Musicians and Their New York Communities 1917-1940 / Ruth Glasser
Pioneros: Puerto Ricans in New York City 1892-1948 / Felix V. Matos-Rodriguez
Puerto Rican Citizen: History and Political Identity in Twentieth-Century New York City / Lorrin Thomas
Racial Migrations: New York City and the Revolutionary Politics of the Spanish Caribbean / Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof

FURTHER LISTENING

After listening to this week’s episode on the Great Puerto Rican Migration, dive back into past episodes which intersect with his story.

2 replies on “Nuyorican: The Great Puerto Rican Migration to New York”

The episode Nuyoricans was really really excellent. All your podcasts are top notch but I loved the guest speakers, the people profiled, and the way the story was crafted. It sounded more like an audio documentary. Great job Greg. 🙏👍

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