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Invite for Jovial June 2005 MAGIC Party
Password is: WILDING

Hi Folks! A huge and hearty congratulations to those natives who participated in the Great Saunter - Kerry Cunniffe, Vicki Finkel, Roberto Ragone, and Laura Sutcliffe. It was an amazing day. For those of you who were afraid by my horror stories from last year, please be advised that this year I completed it at 7:45pm, in only 12 hours (with no pain) - roughly six hours less time than last year. Vicki, or "Speedy V" as she shall now be called, finished at 5:15pm. Wowza is right! So, 32 miles wasn't too hard and it was just as rewarding as last year. But I'll tell you what kicked my rump - Punk Rope - taught by MAGIC GARDENER Tim Haft (Birch Wathen). I hadn't jumped rope since the warm-and-gummy-black-rubbery-ground-covered recess days at PS 59, and I had never done it to the fast pace of the Ramones. Check it out: It rocks. And scope out the MAGIC GARDEN calendar for lots of cool stuff that other natives are doing, including an awesome monologue/storytelling/music show called "It Came From New York," featuring an all native NYC cast.

Wilding is a term that came about during the tragic episode in April 1989 when the Central Park Jogger, Trisha Mieli, was raped and near fatally assaulted. Supposedly the five teens that were arrested were talking about doing the "Wild Thing," a reference to Tone-Loc's hit song (which sampled Van Halen's "Jamie's Cryin"). Some accounts say they were singing the song in their holding cells and the cops misheard the lyrics as "Wilding." An honest mistake that quickly provided a catch phrase for the media and police, and immediately became an apartment-hold word in NYC. It basically meant wild, reckless, random, violent behavior. While the five boys that were arrested had been wreaking havoc that night, and many of them already had criminal records, it was deemed that they were coerced into confessing. In 2002 convicted rapist and murderer Matias Reyes, who was serving a life sentence for other crimes, admitted to committing these heinous violations, acting alone. Trisha Mieli was so badly beaten, with a fractured skull and a loss of 2/3 of her blood, that it was believed she would never survive. She is now fully recovered, has no memory of the incident, and in 2003 published the book, "I Am the Central Park Jogger."

The phrase "Wilding" was part of our jargon for a while, and then made a lofty comeback during the 2000 Puerto Rican Day Parade, when a bunch of men went on a wild rampage, sexually attacking countless women, pouring beer and water on them and aggressively fondling. Over 30 men were arrested, 18 convicted, and one man was given a five year sentence. This year's Puerto Rican Day Parade will be held Sunday, June 12th from 11am-6pm along Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th Streets. The National Puerto Rican Day Parade started in 1995; the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City began in 1958. There is an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York ( through June 12 that you should check out: El Barrio: Puerto Rican New York explores the neighborhood of Spanish East Harlem as an incubator of a new Puerto Rican identity in the 1960s and as an emotional keystone for New Yorkers of Puerto Rican heritage.

During the 17th and 18th century a handful of Puerto Ricans moved to NYC and were involved in the trade of sugar, rum, tobacco, and molasses grown in Puerto Rico for staples from the Northeast. In the latter part of the 19th century, political circumstances were the most important migration factor. By the late 19th century Puerto Rico and Cuba were the only two Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere that remained under Spanish rule. Puerto Ricans who were against Spanish rule voluntarily left or were exiled. A group of patriotic exiles from the Cuban Revolutionary Party in NYC came together with Puerto Ricans in NYC, and together thought they could gain independence from Spain. In 1895, the Puerto Rican revolutionaries organized themselves within the Cuban Revolutionary Party and were known as the “Puerto Rican Section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party." They created a flag to rally support for independence based on the Cuban flag - it's an exact reversal - five red and white stripes and a blue triangle with a white star in the middle (the Cuban flag is five blue and white stripes and a red triangle with a white star).

In 1897 Spain granted Puerto Rico a Charter of Autonomy, which meant that Puerto Rico was able to elect its own residents to represent Puerto Rico within Spain’s government. After electing its representatives, Puerto Rico became self-governing in 1898 (the same year the five boroughs were annexed to form New York City), but it was very short lived; a few months earlier the Spanish-American war had broken out. Under the Treaty of Paris, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines were given to the United States as spoils of war. In 1900 Puerto Rico was finally granted a civil government (run by the people) under the Foraker Act, which allowed Puerto Ricans to vote for their local officials but not for their governor, who was still appointed by the U.S. President.
For the next seventeen years Puerto Ricans were considered property of the United States, yet were not given any American rights. This changed in 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act, which gave Puerto Ricans American citizenship. That year nearly 11,000 Puerto Ricans moved to NYC with the hope of living a life free from colonial rule. As citizens, Puerto Rican men were drafted into the U.S. army in World War I. In addition, due to the scarcity of workers in the U.S., the federal government actively encouraged and recruited Puerto Ricans. They were considered the most feasible source of labor because the U.S. had recently reduced the number of foreigners allowed into the country. Many settled in Brooklyn, where they worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and created neighborhoods around Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Redhook. Others moved to Chelsea and East Harlem, where they then formed the large community El Barrio. By 1926, most Puerto Ricans lived in two areas of Manhattan - from 90th to 116th Street between 1st and 5th Avenues, and from 110th to 125th between 5th and Manhattan Avenues. During the 1920s, 60% of Puerto Ricans in NYC were working in the tobacco industry. By 1930 there were an estimated 100,000 Puerto Ricans in NYC, many working in the merchant marine, the postal service, and small businesses.

In 1946 Puerto Rico had its first Puerto Rican governor (appointed by the U.S.), and in 1947 the United States Congress gave Puerto Ricans the right to vote for their governor. In 1951 Puerto Ricans were granted the right to draft their own constitution. And in 1952 Puerto Rico went from being a U.S. territory to becoming the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. As a commonwealth it had special status as a self-governing, autonomous political unit, voluntarily associated with the United States. It was at this same time that the once revolutionary flag became the official flag representing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. According to a 1952 doctrine, the flag was to be flown only in the company of the U.S. flag. Also, the original blue in the Puerto Rican flag was a sky blue and not the dark blue that we know today. There are many theories for this, one being the earlier sky blue was representative of revolutionary resistance, and so a darker blue signified something more positive and peaceful. (According to the laws of etiquette for the flag, it should not be "put on the hood, the motor cover, the sides, the back of any vehicle be that vehicle a car, train, etc." I'm not gonna tell that to the guys in El Barrio.)

At the end of World War II, United States companies began looking to Puerto Rico for cheap labor. The demand was so great that NYC Mayor Robert Wagner publicly stated in 1953 that he and all New Yorkers would welcome any Puerto Rican willing to work. Between 1940 and 1970 the Puerto Rican population of NYC rose from 61,000 (less than 1% of the total for the city) to nearly 818,000 (more than 10% of the total). In 1953, Puerto Rican migration to New York reached its peak when 75,000 people left the island. According to the 2000 census there were 789,172 Puerto Ricans in NYC. Since 1970, more Puerto Ricans have left New York City than entered - between 1985 and 1990, the city lost 90,100 Puerto Ricans through migration: 51,500 moved in and 141,600 moved out. Many of those moved back to Puerto Rico, or moved to NJ or Florida. In 1940, 88 percent of the Puerto Ricans on the mainland resided in New York; today only about one-third do. In 1940, more than half resided in Manhattan; today the majority resides in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

"West Side Story," one of the finest pieces of cinema, was based on the gang warfare between Puerto Ricans and "Americans" in L.A. and NYC's El Barrio. However, it was originally intended to be about the rivalry between Jews and Catholics, set on the Lower East Side, and possibly called "East Side Story." (Another working title was "Gangway."). It began as a Broadway musical in 1957, at the Winter Garden Theater (which showed "Cats" now and forever - forever equaling 7,485 performances), and was made into a movie in 1961. The opening dance sequences were shot where Lincoln Center stands today. This area was condemned and the buildings were in the process of being demolished to make way for Lincoln Center; the demolition was delayed for the filming. And if you haven't seen the movie in a while, you must. The opening montage/aerial views of NYC are just unbelievable. Believe me. In 8th grade (at JHS 104) we were supposed to put on the show, and I was to play the tomboy who wants to join the gang ("Anybody" was the character's name - a scene from the script reads, "Anybody want her?" - "Nah." Good thing I don't have a complex). There was a gas leak in the auditorium where we rehearsed and we lost valuable practice time, so we were reduced to doing a couple of dance scenes. And by the way, Blue Wilding, fellow MAGIC GARDENER, starred in the LaGuardia High School production of "West Side Story." Now he's in a heavy metal band - Supervillain - they play all over the city. Check the MAGIC GARDEN calendar for dates.

A Nuyorican is a blending of New York and Puerto Rican and is often, but not exclusively, used to refer to someone who was born here in NYC, from Puerto Rican parents.

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