chapter  8
Nuyorican Nostalgia
Pages 16

Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez and Little Louie Vega know these people weIl. For more than a decade, the duo, professionally known as Masters at Work (MAW), has been the most effective progenitor of what has come to be known as Nuyorican soul, a cultural and social melange of the sights and sounds of the "real" New York-the place of pastrami,jerk chicken, cuchifritos, ginger beer, Now-and-Laters, piraguas, and Sunday summers at Orchard Beach or Pelham Bay Park, where the rhythms of "spanglish" and patois manage to overwhelm even the city's famed high humidity. This is the New York of the mid-to late-'60s. Lucy and Desi (the Cuban band leader who reportedly disliked Puerto Ricans) are off to Connecticut, but for those like them desiring to stay dose to New York City, Robert Moses took care of everything: Jones Beach, the Cross-Bronx Expressway, the Henry Hudson Parkway-the ways that folks like Lucy and Desi got out of Dodge because their city was being overrun by those brown and black and all the (nonwhite) colors in between. This is the New York that was created post-1965 with an immigration act that changed the face of a nation by repealing the national origin quota that allowed for more favorable immigration opportunities for western and northern Europeans (the right kind of

whites, apparently). According to census data, there were over 1 million immigrants, primarily from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia, who came to New York in the two decades following the 1965 Immigration Act. During that first decade, the majority of "Latino" immigrants were from the island of Puerto Rico. While significant energy was expended by Puerto Rican nation als over the issue of statehood versus nationhood, a significant portion of native Puerto Ricans created a new space for the cultivation of an "authentie" Puerto Rican sensibility in the city ofNew York.