Victor Carrero sat in a folding picnic chair under a tent in the middle of his street with his daughter, setting up their new grill, ready to celebrate Labor Day. Carrero was not alone. In the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Fairhill, Carrero and his neighbors on the 2900 block of North Reese Street had all gathered to celebrate the holiday.
From block to block, vibrant murals, cultural businesses and pervasive Spanish conversation embodied a people proud of their neighborhood and proud of their heritage.
“We’re one of the few blocks in the neighborhood that has a block party,” he said, but that the planning was due largely in part to their block captain, who spoke little English. “If we want to close down a block to have a block party on a day when we can’t, he gets us the permit. He does all the work.”
Despite the low turnout due to iffy weather, Carrero, who is an aspiring artist and writer and is between jobs, loved to see the community on the block.
“We’ve had the party for a few years on and off,” he said. “We haven’t done it every year, but we do it whenever we can.” With neighbors dancing to salsa music blaring from a DJ booth that could be heard for blocks, children riding bikes in the street, and parents grilling up copious amounts of food, Carrero and his family were full of laughter in a neighborhood hit hard by the recent economic downturn.