Bacalaitos & Fireworks

Bacalaitos & Fireworks introduces readers to a New York City long gone. This is the New York of broken televisions littered throughout the streets, burned-out abandoned buildings, neighborhood fiestas with pigs roasting on spits, and outcasts living in poverty. Gottfried offers first-hand testimony to the pain of alienation, neglect, drug addiction, and ultimately crime, prison, and death. Amidst these images of desolation, however, there is also evidence of the lively and intimate community able to overcome these obstacles.

About Bacalaitos & Fireworks:

New York City has been home to a Puerto Rican population since the mid-1900s, with the most noticeable migration boom beginning in the 1950s. As Puerto Ricans settled in New York over the years, they stamped the city with their culture, indelibly altering neighborhoods like the South Bronx, the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, and downtown Brooklyn with rhythm, style, flavor, art, language, and claro, Latino cuisine. Arlene Gottfried, herself a native New Yorker, grew up side-by-side with the burgeoning Puerto Rican community, never straying far from its influence whether living in Brooklyn or the LES. In the heart of the barrio, Gottfried began shooting pictures inspired by her friends, using them as subjects in apartments, on the streets, and in the park, in times of radiant joy and heart-breaking sorrow.

Panelist Bios:

Arlene Gottfried was born in Brooklyn and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She has freelanced for top publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, LIFE, and London’s The Independent. Gottfried has also exhibited at the Leica Gallery in New York and Tokyo, and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., among others. Gottfried is the author of three books: Sometimes Overwhelming (2008) and Midnight (2003), both published by powerHouse Books, and The Eternal Light (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 1999). Gottfried lives and works in New York City.

Paul Moakley has worked for TIME as the deputy photo editor since 2010. Additionally, Moakley is a photographer, filmmaker, and writer. Moakley lives and works as the curator at the Alice Austen House Museum in Staten Island, New York.

Puma Perl, another Brooklyn native, lives and writes on the Lower East Side. Her books, Knuckle Tattoos (2010) and Belinda and her Friends (2008), have recieved rave reviews. Her work has been published in over 100 print and online journals and anthologies. Like Gottfried, Perl has watched the city change and has lived to tell the tale.

Gail Quagliata is a Brooklyn based artist attempting to construct an alternate universe. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in film/video, and is currenly an MFA candidate in photography at Pratt Institute. Gail writes for the “Artseen” section of The Brooklyn Rail each month and is the current guest blogger for “The Camera Club of New York.”