An Interview with Ed Morales... Whose Barrio?

Ismael Nuņez
Puerto Rican Sun

East Harlem - El Barrio Laura Rivera and Ed Morales are two respected journalists known for their writings on East Harlem. Ed Morales a Bronx native has written articles which have appeared in the Village Voice, NY Times, and for the last 7 years has a column on Latin Music in Newsday, and author of books Living in Spanglish: The Search for Latino Identity in America, and The Latin Beat: The Rhythms and Roots of Latin Music, from Bossa Nova to Salsa and Beyond. Laura Rivera is a reporter for Newsday, El Diario / La Prensa, and has worked in her native Puerto Rico as an on-camera reporter for WJPR Channel 6. Morales was inspired by “Spanish Harlem on his mind” an essay published in 2003 in the NY Times; Rivera wrote a thesis on gentrification in East Harlem. They combined their talents producing, directing, and writing a documentary on the effects of this issue on the community. The documentary will make its premiere at the NY International Film Festival on August 2, 2009 at the Clear View Cinemas at Screen 7 at 12pm. The community was one of the first Latin communities here in New York City has fallen victim to raising rents, new buildings not suitable for the working class, and businesses forced to close/or relocate. You will hear from activists, artists, elected officials, and groups combating this emotional issue as to “Whose Barrio?” – who is it for?

Why East Harlem: What was it about the community that got you into doing the movie?
First of all, my parents came to New York from Puerto Rico and they met while living in East Harlem. I have had several relatives who have lived there, and I still have an aunt who lives there. In 2002 I wrote a story for the New York Times about gentrification of East Harlem because I'd heard fro