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Our Nueva York: Writing the City in Spanish

December 2021

Regina Vater, Cinematic Still from Mayakovsky, 1974.

This month, we explore the notion of New York as Spanish-language city. As renowned translator and scholar Esther Allen notes in an interview this month, “Spanish has been a language of what’s now New York City since the very first arrival of non-Native Americans on these shores.” The writing in our December issue, then, is not an attempt to simply explore another side of New York, but rather to acknowledge this oft-obscured history with work by five contemporary writers from across the Spanish-speaking world. Michel Nieva takes a look at warring species in pandemic-era Nueva York, while Mario Michelena sets his sights on battles in a Brooklyn courtroom. Sara Cordón writes a tale of being and becoming through the eyes of a college graduate and Spanish immigrant whose first window into New York was through the 1979 action thriller The Warriors. Álvaro Baquero-Pecino breaks the city down by the numbers, and Naeif Yehya introduces readers to a Brooklyn man whose bluff is called by a cam girl. In an interview, Esther Allen and Ulises Gonzales look at the history of Spanish-language writing in New York. Gonzales also provides an introduction to the issue, which he guest-edited in collaboration with Ashley Candelario.