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Loisaida // is a term derived from the Spanish (and especially Nuyorican) pronunciation of "Lower East Side", a neighborhood in Manhattan, New York City. The term was originally coined by poet/activist Bittman "Bimbo" Rivas in his 1974 poem "Loisaida". Loisaida Avenue is now an alternative name for Avenue C in the Alphabet City neighborhood of New York City, whose population has largely been Hispanic (mainly Nuyorican) since the 1960s.
Historical context of Loisaida
Today, there is much dispute over the borders of the Lower East Side, Alphabet City, and the East Village. Historically, Manhattan's Lower East Side was 14th Street at the northern end, bound on the east by East River and on the west by First Avenue. It originally comprised German, Jewish, Irish, and Italian working class residents who lived in tenements without running water; the German presence, already in decline, virtually ended after the General Slocum disaster in 1904.
Neighborhood in transition
Since the 1940s the demographic has changed markedly several times: the addition of the large labor-backed Stuyvesant Town / Peter Cooper Village after World War II at the northern end added a lower-middle to middle-class element to the area, which contributed to the eventual gentrification of the area in the 21st century; the construction of large government housing projects south and east of those and the growing Latino population transformed a large swath of the neighborhood into a Latin one until the late 1990s, when low rents outweighed high crime rates and large numbers of artists and students moved to the area. Manhattan's growing Chinatown has expanded into the southern portions of LES. Now, with crime rates down, the area is quickly becoming gentrified.
The borders of the "Lower East Side" differ from its historical ones in that Houston Street is now considered the northern edge, and the area north of that between Houston Street and 14th Street is considered Alphabet City. But, because the Alphabet City term is largely a relic of a high-crime era, English-speaking residents refer to Alphabet City as part of the East Village—despite the fact that the East Village is historically only the area west of Tompkins Square Park on and around St. Mark's Place—while Spanish-speaking residents continue to refer to the former Alphabet City as Loisaida.
There also exists a mixed drink called a Loisaida that gained popularity in 2008 on the Lower East Side. It consists of lime, Olde English malt liquor, and apple cider. The name comes from combining sounds from each of the ingredients, as in L(ime), OE (common abbreviation for Olde English) and "Cida" (cider).
- Loisaida at the time of Tompkins Square Park Riots is the setting of eponymous novel by Marion Stein.
- 'Loisaida' is the title of an instrumental song on Joe Jackson's 1984 album Body and Soul.
- "Loisaida recipe". 30 December 2008.