New York City has been home to a Puerto Rican populationsince the mid-1900s, with the most noticeable migrationboom beginning in the 1950s. As Puerto Ricans settled inNew York over the years they stamped the city with theirculture, indelibly altering neighborhoods like the South Bronx, the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, and downtown Brooklynwith rhythm, style, flavor, art, language, and "claro," Latinocuisine.
Arlene Gottfried, herself a native New Yorker, grew up side by-side with the burgeoning Puerto Rican community, neverstraying far from its influence whether living in Brooklyn orthe LES. In the heart of the barrio, Gottfried began shootingpictures inspired by her bohemian friends and using them assubjects in apartments, on the streets, and in the park, intimes of radiant joy and heart-breaking sorrow.
" Bacalaitos &Fireworks" is Gottfried's ode to Nuyoricanlife and style, from the 70s to the present, shot with anunfailingly lyrical eye and full of vibrant personalities: eccentric bad-boys, white-clad church-goers, an afro-sportingpoet in a groovy leisure suit, a gambling grandpa withpainted-on eyebrows and a cowboy mustache, and even yourgrandparents beloved, plastic-covered furniture.
This is the New York of broken televisions littered throughoutthe streets, burned-out abandoned buildings, neighborhoodfiestas with pigs roasting on spits, and home to outcastsliving in poverty. Gottfried offers first-hand testimony to thepain of alienation, neglect, drug addiction, and ultimatelycrime, prison, and death. But there is also evidence of thelively and intimate community that helps them overcomethese obstacles.
About the Author
Arlene Gottfried was born in Brooklyn. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, she worked as a photographer at an ad agency before freelancing for top publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Life, and The London Independent. Gottfried has exhibited at the Leica Gallery in New York and in Tokyo, and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., among others. Her photographs are in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The New York Public Library, and the Maison Europeenne de la photographie in Paris. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Berenice Abbott International Competition of Women's Documentary Photography, Gottfried is the author of THE ETERNAL LIGHT. A lecturer and a teacher, Gottfried lives and works in New York City.
"Gottfried is well known for photographing her life in Manhattan since college in the 1970's. Her signature is capturing deeply personal and public moments that build upon an endless diary of the city that’s slowly disappearing with time and gentrification."
“The book is a beautiful look at the Loisaida/Nuyorican culture of the Lower East Side in the 1970s.”