Can't Stop La Musica
Generations of Nuyoricans—Puerto Rican New Yorkers—have found familia in a little house on an overgrown patch of the South Bronx.
It’s a completely quiet summer afternoon except for the occasional, unmistakable song of the ice cream truck or the rare honk of a car horn outside the community garden on the corner of E. 157th Street and Brook Avenue. Lucy Arroyo waters different bushes, flowers, even trees as she walks the inside perimeter of the batey, or garden. “I feel like I never left,” she says, talking about home as she wields her hose.
“Home” is not Melrose, the South Bronx neighborhood surrounding this leafy oasis, even to many who have lived here for years. Most people are talking about Puerto Rico when they reference “home” inside this park’s gate. Vegetable plots, rows of matching green chairs and card tables surround a small, elevated one-story building with an exterior resembling a country cottage. A wooden stage sits ready for performances. Today I am relaxing with some of the regulars under the hanging branches of trees separating us from the busy life on the street;…