JUAN GUTIERREZ (left), NELSON "MATEO" GONZALEZ (center) and bailarina JULIA GUTIERREZ (right) @ Union Settlement Association's 19th Annual Ethnic Festival

(May 21, 2011) Folks in and about the 104th Street area of El Barrio celebrated their ethnicities with food, dance, music, and crafts. The Union Settlement Association’s 19th Annual Ethnic Festival turned the street in front of their main center into a venue for fun, entertainment and family enjoyment.

Representing the Puerto Rican community at the festival was Los Pleneros de la 21. Appearing with the group were trombonist Angel “Papo” Vazquez and Jose “Chemo” Soto on the vocals. Also, at the festival, was colleague Marina Ortiz who was instrumental in helping get the event done.

Union Settlement Association has been serving the local community since 1895. I myself benefitted from their programs while growing up in the GW projects. Back then, neighbor kids were given the opportunity to participate in after-school programs and summer camp, learn arts and crafts, have social mixers and fairs, and on great days take rides on “Nellie Belle” headed out to the Seven Lakes, Poundridge or Bushkill. It was an Union Settlement counselor who inspired me to learn basic b&w photography.

For more info, click: Union Settlement Association

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