Bimbo Rivas

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Bittman "Bimbo" Rivas (November 11, 1939 – May 21, 1992) was a Puerto Rican actor, community activist, director, playwright, poet, and teacher who lived in the Lower East Side of New York City. He also served in the U.S Air Force. He was one of the pioneers of the Nuyorican Movement and was involved in the Nuyorican Poets Café.


Bimbo Rivas got his nickname from a cartoon he saw of an elephant named "Bimbo." The name lasted as he was better known to everyone as Bimbo Rivas. On May 21, 1992, while teaching bilingual lessons, he suffered a heart attack in the classroom and soon after died. He was 52 years old, and left behind 6 children.


Bimbo Rivas was a community activist, who gave the Lower East Side the name "Loisaida" in a 1974 poem. He was a committed artist, whose talent enriched not only the Puerto Rican culture, but other cultures as well. Bimbo's spirit and influence lives on in Loisaida today.

Among his students was the actor Luis Guzmán, who was trained at Charas in New York City.

On May 27, 1992, Avenue C became known as Loisaida Avenue. It was a token of appreciation for his contributions to the Lower East Side, his home, and for his people.


"Loisaida" (By Bimbo Rivas; Written in 1974)

Lower East Side

I love you.

You'er my lady fair.

No matter where I am,

I think of you!

The mountains and the

valleys cannot compare,

my love to you

Loisaida, I love you.

I dig the way you talk,

I dig the way you look.

Me vacila tu cantar

y yo me las juego

fria pa' que vivas

para siempre.

En mi mente, mi amada,

yo te llamo Loisaida


una mezcla, la perfecta

una gente bien decente

de to 'as rasas

que estiman

que te adoran

que no saben explicar

lo que le pasa

cuando ausente de

tus calles peligrosas

si te aman

A ti, mi hermosa Loisaida

O what a town.....

even with your drug-infested

pocket parks, playgrounds

where our young bloods

hang around

waiting, hoping that

one day when they too

get well and smile again

your love is all

they need to come around.

Loisaida, I love you.

Your buildings are

burning up

that we got to stop.

Loisaida, my love,

Te amo.

Companies and organizations Rivas was affiliated with or created[edit]

  • The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Co., Inc. New York, NY.
  • The Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, Loisaida, NYC, NY.
  • Adopt-A-Building Inc, Loisaida, NYC, NY.
  • El Bohio Cultural & Community Center, Loisaida, NYC, NY.
  • The Public Theater, New York, NY US.
  • El Teatro Ambulante—El Coco que Habla, Loisaida, NYC, NY.
  • Nuyorican Poets Café, Loisaida, NYC, NY.


  • Council on Museums and Education in the Visual Arts. "Community-Based Museums and Umbrella Agencies." The Art Museum as Educator: A Collection of Studies as Guides to Practice. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.
  • Hernández, Carmen Dolores. "Pedro Pietri." Puerto Rican Voices in English: Interviews with Writers. Westport: Praeger, 1997. ISBN 0-275-95809-4
  • Sevcenko, Liz. "Making Loisaida: Placing Puertorriqueñidad in Lower Manhattan." In Agustín Laó-Montes and Arlene M. Dávila, eds. Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-231-11274-2