Today in El Diario: Easter Was No Holiday for Hard-Working NYC Latinos


New York’s Latinos didn’t get a rest on Easter

While hundreds of the region’s Latinos traveled to Fifth Avenue to celebrate Easter on Sunday, others attended another annual event, the Spanish-language daily reports.

That event: “Paying the rent,” Estefany Cua, a 19 year-old Guatemalan, told El Diario. For most of the day, Cua was selling florescent, rabbit-ear headbands to passersby on 49th and 57th streets, near the parade path.

Though unemployment has dropped since last year — when it peaked at 10.9 percent — New York still boasts an 8.9 percent unemployment rate, the paper reports.

And unemployment is more deeply felt among immigrants, particularly street vendors, musicians, and dancers — who depend on the economy’s health to survive.

“I’m doing OK, thank God,” Guatemalan immigrant Alexander Alvarez told the paper. Thanks to good timing and heavy tourist traffic, the Queens resident told the newspaper, he was able to make $200 selling cotton candy.

“I’m selling balloon [animals] to survive,” Francisco Alpajaca, a Guatemalan who lives in Brooklyn, told El Diario. Alpajaca said that he learned the art of twisting balloons into small animals, flowers, and hats several months ago because it didn’t look like there was “work on the horizon,” the paper reports.

Nearby, acrobat Alex LeBron does somersaults in front of a group of 100 onlookers, the paper notes.

The Puerto Rican from the Bronx agreed that parade goers were happy — and generous.

“I earn more on Easter,” he told the paper, upon completing his routine.

Some Hispanics did not attend the parade to sell a product, but to promote a cause instead — like Giovanni Figueroa, who was dressed like a queen with a large white wig and fake eyelashes.

Figueroa’s group, Imperial Court, dresses up to earn money for LGBT organizations.

“It’s the day of the Resurrection,” he told the Spanish publication. “God accepts the whole world.”

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 25, 2011


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