Río Piedras

I grew up in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. It was an independent municipality before it was incorporated into San Juan, the capital city. Río Piedras holds a special place in my heart because it is where I first entered a movie theater as a young pre-teenager boy. It was called the Teatro New Victoria. Just a few blocks from it was the second movie theater I walked into, known as Cine Paradise. It was also in Río Piedras where as an older teenager I would rendezvous with my friends for a beer, a pinball game, a cuba libre or a shot of straight rum, and listen to music from a vellonera (a juke box). Río Piedras is also the home of the high school I attended, Colegio San José and the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico. It was the epicenter of many student protests during the late 60’s and 70’s that were accompanied by violent and sometimes deadly repression from the Police. Río Piedras is also the home of Librería La Tertulia, the oldest bookstore in business in the Island. The oldest Burger King franchise in Puerto Rico is also located here.

Today, the center of Río Piedras is a mixture of abandoned buildings and seemingly abandoned ones covered by political murals that underscore the still fervent student protest movement in the area. I recently visited Río Piedras and captured some images before buying two books at La Tertulia. I skipped the Burger King.

Categories: Text | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Río Piedras

  1. Tim

    really impressive :-)

  2. Holly Anderson

    Really cool murals. Hope the save the buildings.

  3. There are many things which strike me about this series. Of course the nostalgia of the return home and the changes. The lack of people on the streets. The political content of so many of the murals, which you don’t see in Wynwood or in Costa Rica or other places. The fact that the murals seem to have been invited which seems to be more the trend around the world rather than fighting with graffiti inviting and protecting it. The colors and vibrancy of even still life. The underlying sadness…

    Thanks for sharing …
    what camera were you using?

    • The camera I used for those pictures is the Panasonic GH4… but as we say in Puerto Rico…
      “no es la flecha, es el indio”
      “it’s not the arrow [that is good] but the indian using it”
      (Modesty aside)

  4. Usted es un artista. Me gustaría tener la oportunidad de colaborar contigo en algún futuro proyecto, just for the fun of it. Creo que será una experiencia enriquecedora y de mutuo aprendizaje.

    • De cierta manera ya hemos colaborado en un proyecto…
      …me encanta la idea…
      …pongámosla en remojo y la próxima vez que hablemos o nos veamos discutimos en concreto.

  5. Tremendas fotos tomadas en Rock River…

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