Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This is a picture of Hialeah in 1923. The name means “Pretty prairie” in the Muskogee language. Over the years the Seminole with his arm up eventually became the city’s emblem.

A quick look at some stats will tell you that Hialeah is about 90% Hispanic (primarily Cuban, although that demographic is shifting to include people from all over the Caribbean and Latin America) and that it is the only place in the United States where Spanish is the first language of 80% of the population.

I was born and raised in Hialeah and I’m obviously a product of this unique American community. I speak Spanish and English fluently, but am most comfortable when I can seamlessly switch between the two mid-sentence. (My excuse is that there are some things that can’t be properly translated into English or they lose their effect.) I drink an insane amount of Cuban coffee, but prefer hamburgers and pizza over lechon y congris. I can’t really say I’m “Cuban” because most native-born Cubans tell me I’m American (or too Americanized) and most Americans consider me Cuban. So I specifically identify myself as Hialeahan (or Miamian if I’m speaking to someone who’s never heard of Hialeah) to avoid confusion.

There’s something about this low-income, blue collar city that I love and even though I no longer live here I still consider it my home and am 100% invested in it. Hell, I come here every single day because both my jobs are in Hialeah!


Maydibis said...

That picture is really old fashion.

Glenda Phipps said...

Alex. I like Hialean! What a unique place this is. You are really a product and the way you describe speaking is just like me (although not as well). Some things just don't have the right feel in the other language. Beso is much better than kiss.

Judy said...


I like you cocuyo name.