Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bxbiz Holiday Network and Toy Drive

The Bronx Entrepreneurs and Business Network (BEBN) Toy Drive will go to benefit kids and teens living in Bronx shelters. Our chosen charity is Bronx Works who will distribute the toys. Our toy drive runs until December 12, the night of the BEBN Holiday Network and Toy Drive event at El Habanero Restaurant, the Bronx.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Puerto Rico Sun Communications Day in the Bronx

The Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. proclaimed July 20 as Puerto Rico Sun Communications Day in the Bronx. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary and network tomorrow night at Joe's Place in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. You are welcome to celebrate with us. To RSVP,

Thank you for being part of the PRSUN network.

-- Clarisel
Our bright yellow sun logo is in celebration of our 10th anniversary.

UPDATE: NYC Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera proclaimed July 21, 2012 as Puerto Rico Sun Communications Day. ) Mayor Bloomberg sent a letter.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Community members to be honored as PRSUN Ambassadors

PRSUN Ambassador Award recipients:

Rev. Carmen Hernández, NYC LGBTQS Chamber of Commerce
Ismael Nuñez, contributing writer and photographer
Cecil Harris, advisor
Jose Boricuation Medina, contributing graphic designer
Mike Callender, Bronxmedia
Kevin P. Tyson, contributing photographer
Eileen McNamee, contributing photographer
Miriam Quiñones, contributing photographer
Vivian Lake, contributing writer
Efrain Ortiz, Jr., Efrain's Corner

For supporting and advancing PRSUN's business and social mission of informing, empowering, and building community through their contributions and friendship

The PRSUN Ambassadors will receive their awards at the PRSUN anniversary and networking event this Saturday in the Bronx. Event is open to the public. To RSVP,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Meet the PRSUN Award Winners

Complete list of 2012 PRSUN Award Winners:

Dayanara Marte, In Bold Rebirth
Trini Quiroz, activist/radio personality
Joyce Rivera, St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction
Edwin Pagán, Latin Horror
Roberto Soto, City Island Images
Shannon Lee Gilstad, Bronx Movers & Shakers
Julio Pabon, Latino Sports
Michelle Cruz, East Harlem Cafe
Butch Nieves, Mr. America's Personal Training
Deirdre Scott, Bronx Council on the Arts

Congratulations to all the leaders on this list. They were nominated by members in the PRSUN social media networks for being examples of people who exemplify the mission of informing, empowering, and building community. 

They will be honored at the PRSUN anniversary and networking event on Saturday, July 21, at Joe's Place, the Bronx. Event is open to the public. For more information and to RSVP,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

PRSUN Photo Team's Eileen McNamee at the PR Day Parade

This was the second year Eileen McNamee covered the National Puerto Rican Day Parade as part of the PRSUN photo team.
Our team was working on a photo project to document the 2012 parade through the lens of a diverse team of photographers and photojournalists. This was the third year PRSUN curated an online group exhibit. All team members received official press passes from the National Puerto Rican Day Parade to cover the June 10 parade from their perspective for PRSUN.
Eileen is a science teacher. She says she has found creativity between the arts and sciences. Her photography is mostly from the Bronx where she lives. She especially enjoys concentrating on the nature and history of the Bronx. But from time to time, she likes to go out to document a colorful parade.
View Eileen's beautiful photos from the parade here:

To view the PRSUN photo team's exhibit from this year's parade, go to

Most of Eileen's photography and art work is at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our own soul


the daily news
printed the cuban
flag instead
of the puerto rican
in their piece
we must be our
own soul if we
have our own
-- Samaris Ayala

Samaris Ayala is a contributing writer to PRSUN. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

@ the PR Parade

Here is a slideshow of photos I took at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, one of the largest cultural celebrations in the city:


Monday, June 04, 2012

Photos from the Bronx PR Day Parade

PRSUN had a photo team at yesterday's Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade. Happy 25th anniversary to the Bronx parade.

The PRSUN photo team included Kevin Tyson, Miriam Quiñones, Benny Betancourt, Ismael Nuñez, and moi.

Here is a link to the photos I took at the parade:

To view the team PRSUN Project: Bronx Puerto Rican Day slideshow go to:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bronx Entrepreneurs and Business Network: A Night at the Races

Bronx Entrepreneurs and Business Network: A Night at the Races: Our upcoming networking event with The NetWorks Organization is TOMORROW night at Yonkers Raceway/Empire City Casino. The Bronx Entrepreneur...

Friday, April 27, 2012

'Rebirth of a Queen'

"Congratulations on being an honoree! We look forward to celebrating your fierceness and powerful way of being in the world; reading the kind and wonderful words that your nominator sent us has filled us with hope that our community will continue to persevere because of womyn like you!" -- Carmen Mojica, program director, Casa Atabex Ache - The House of Womyn's Power, the Bronx

Tomorrow I will proudly be among the honorees at this event that celebrates women who are empowering communities and overcoming obstacles in their personal and professional life. It is appropriately titled the "Rebirth of a Queen."

The event is Casa Atabex Ache's 7th Annual Womyn Warriors Awards Ceremony & Celebration, and it will be from 6 to 10 p.m. tomorrow at Casabe Houses, 150 East 121 Street, East Harlem. 

If you want to attend, contact Monique De La Oz at for tickets, which are $25 in advance, $35 at the door.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the photos from this event:

Friday, April 13, 2012

From Menudo to Evita, Ricky Martin Shines

By Rita J. Egan

I was in the sixth grade when friends and I prepared a skit around the music of the Broadway play Evita. I'm not quite sure how we came up with the idea, but I do remember the commercials and how badly I wanted to go to New York City and see the play.
I never did get a chance to see the original, and grew up to be a teenager who was a huge fan of the group Menudo. Through the years, I also became a great admirer of Ricky Martin.

Imagine how excited I was when rumors began circulating in 2010 that Martin was up for the part of Che in the Broadway revival. I waited in anticipation for the day I would finally see Evita.
Finally on March 24, my friend Silvia and I had the opportunity to catch one of the preview performances. It was the matinee and unfortunately Elena Roger (Eva Peron) doesn't perform Saturday matinees, but the show was a good one just the same. The scenery was breathtaking, and the ensemble numbers were exhilarating.
Christina DeCicco did a nice job as Evita, but it was Rachel Potter, Juan Peron's mistress, who left me teary-eyed after she sang "Another Suitcase in Another Hall." There's sweetness in her voice that I'm sure will touch many theater-goers as well as leave many lasting impressions. Michael Cerveris’s portrayal of Peron was perfectly understated relaying the message of how this powerful man was overshadowed by his charismatic wife.
And then of course, there was Martin. The character Che serves as a narrator of the story as well as Eva Peron's conscience of sorts. Many times Che observes the scenes from the sidelines. You would think a star such as Martin would be a distraction, but somehow he moves seamlessly along the edges when needed. And when it's time for Che to take center stage, Martin moves gracefully from observer to star. It seems the role was made for him, incorporating his talents for singing and dancing. During the number "High Flying Adored," where he sings of Eva achieving success at such a young age, Martin seemed to easily relate to the lyrics.
Martin also cleverly delivers Che's lines. He seemed to handle them with an ease that had the audience catching the sarcasm and chuckling with him.
With it being a preview, it seemed that there were a few kinks that needed to be worked out, but I'm sure nothing that the talented actors haven't already handled. As for Martin’s fans, they have all of 2012 to catch their favorite performer shining on Broadway as Che.
Rita Egan is a contributing writer to PRSUN. A freelance writer, check out Rita's columns in the Smithtown Patch at Rita’s email is

Evita is playing on Broadway. For more information, visit
(Photo of Rita Egan posing in front of the poster of Ricky Martin (Che) outside the Marquis Theatre.)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Puerto Rican Culinary Arts

Featured community event

Do you love your rice and beans? Are you passionate about your Puerto Rican food? Check out this event that puts a spotlight on Puerto Rican Culinary Arts.

“El amor entra por la cocina: Cooking and Cultural Identity amongst Puerto Rican Women Living in New York”
A multi-media presentation based on a research project about culinary traditions of the Puerto Rican Diaspora conducted by Dr. Nilsa Rodríguez-Jaca in 2010. She interviewed over twenty senior women of our community who have lived in New York City for at least two decades and recovered their stories about food consumption and sharing, and also how this has helped them to maintain a sense of community and cultural identity for over sixty years. Guests Deborah Quiñones (the Coquito Contessa) and Chef Julio Rodríguez will also share their culinary experiences. FREE

Puerto Rican Culinary Arts
Thursday, April 4th – 6-8:00 p.m.
Hunter College, 68th & Lexington Avenue
Centro Conference Room 1442
East Building, 14th Floor
If you have any questions or wish to RSVP contact Evelyn Collazo at or call 212-396-6545.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

El Gran Antillano: Remembering Louis Reyes Rivera

    • Commentary
      By Shaggy Flores

      I’ve had the honor of knowing the literary genius, Louis Reyes Rivera, as my friend, hermano, mentor, editor, teacher, and fellow Nuyorican Poet. To say that other young writers and I were heavily influenced by his work would be an understatement. 
      Louis was what many of us aspire to become as artists, human beings, and cultural workers. He was a committed African Diaspora scholar who was not only a master of his craft, but someone who firmly believed that the artist and writer should also serve as a servant of the people. He believed that we must all do our part to uplift humanity by addressing social and economic conditions through the arts.

      I met Louis Reyes Rivera years ago at the North East Latino Student Conference in UMass Amherst in Massachusetts. I was one of the main folks to push the most for his attendance as a main speaker. I finally got to meet Louis in person at the Campus Center Café a few hours before he was to open for Dr. Martha Morena Vega at the conference. A few hours later after telling bochinches, sharing history, dropping names on our shared acquaintances, and comparing personal notes, we found that we had common interests. We were two boricua brothers from different mothers, but we were united in this thing called the struggle.

      A few years later, at the first annual Voices for the Voiceless Poetry™ Massachusetts concert which I founded, I was able to humbly honor Louis with a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the arts and to the community. I named the award in his honor and worked with students in the Western Massachusetts five college communities to promote the annual diaspora Voices concert, which highlighted poets and artists who were unsung. Each year after that first award, I contacted Louis and told him who I had in mind to get the award. He gave suggestions on possible candidates, and together we worked hard to  honor artists who have made an impact on the diaspora. The recipients of this award read like a who’s who of artistic and creative giants in the African Diaspora community.

      Over the years, Louis edited many books, including my first book Sancocho: A Book of Nuyorican Poetry, and Nuyorican Poet Bonafide Rojas' first publication Pelo Bueno: A Day in the Life of A Nuyorican Poet. In addition, Louis collaborated with Dr. Tony Medina (Howard University) and Bruce George (Founder of Def Poetry Jam) to edit three seminal anthologies Bum Rush the Page, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, and The Bandana Republic. These three publications were a true reflection of the new literary cannon that is currently being created in American literature, as all three featured some of the best writers in the country sharing their craft openly because of their profound respect for Louis.

      I will miss picking up the phone to call mi hermano to ask for advice or to complain about some of the struggles artists face. I remember that my calls to Louis would last for hours, and he always started the conversation by asking about my family, health, and current projects. He also informed me about his new works. Louis was brilliant. He was one of those individuals who are extremely rare to find in today’s society. 

      One of the last stories I remember hearing from Louis was about the time he met Nina Simone with James Baldwin. He told this casual story to a group of poets during late dinner after a Voices for the Voiceless concert. Most of the group asked what it was like to meet Nina and James. My question to him on this historic encounter, which I now wish I had said out loud, was "what was it like for Nina and James to meet him?” Louis will be the Nina and James of our time.

      He was a badass legendary brother who took “no mess” from anyone. He was quick to assassinate you with the pen when it came to history and politics.

      While he often chuckled when Bonafide Rojas or I referred to him as Yoda (Star Wars) in poetry circles, there was some merit to this nickname. He possessed what is known as la fuerza. If you got close enough to him, you knew that you were surrounded by someone of immense power. 

      He was, and always will be, the real deal, and I hope that all of us who were touched by him could one day live to all his expectations.

      Pa’lante hermano, see you in the next lifetime! Manteca!

      Shaggy Flores

      Nuyorican Massarican Poeta

    • The Louis Reyes Rivera (LRR) Lifetime Achievement Award™

      Founded by Shaggy Flores in 1995 and distributed at the annual Voices for the Voiceless Diaspora Poetry Concert™, this award honors unsung artistic heroes of the African/Latino/Asian-American/Native-American Diaspora Community. The first recipient of the award was famed African Diaspora Scholar and Writer Louis Reyes Rivera, known as the Janitor of History. In honor of his contributions to the African Diaspora, the award bears his name.

      Past Recipients:
      Louis Reyes Rivera
      Jorge PopMaster Fabel Pabon
      Prince Ken Swift
      Sandra Maria Esteves
      The Asian American Writers’ Workshop
      Jose Montoya
      Sekou Sundiata
      Dr. Maya Lin
      Maria Morales-Loebl
      Raul Salinas
      Roberto Marquez
      Jesus Papoleto Melendez
      Tato Laviera
      Americo Casiano
      Freddy Moreno
      Lorna Dee Cervantes
      Victor Hernandez Cruz
      Fay Chiang
      Roberto Vargas
      Luis Disco Wiz Cedeño
      Amiri Baraka

      Shaggy Flores is a contributing writer to Puerto Rico Sun. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

Saborea Puerto Rico 2012 Highlights Our Cuisine to the World

With dancers moving to salsa music on a colorful set reminiscent of Old San Juan, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company showcased the island's many tourist attractions at the recent New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.  

But they were also there to market Puerto Rico's traditional, diverse and exciting cooking scene, which they say is the best and most important culinary destination in the Caribbean. Gearing up for its fifth anniversary, they told attendees about Saborea Puerto Rico, a festival that will feature new and exciting activities highlighting Puerto Rico's culinary scene. The 2012 edition of this annual event, organized by the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA), will be April 21st and 22nd at Escambrón Beach in San Juan, PR. 

Chef Giovanna Huyke, who is known for her educational cooking TV shows on the island and is now the executive chef at Mio Restaurant in Washington, D.C., was at the travel show talking and demonstrating Puerto Rican cuisine to people from many different parts of the world. A goal, she said, is to elevate the perception of Puerto Rican foods in the culinary landscape, and Saborea Puerto Rico is helping to do that by highlighting chefs from Puerto Rico to a local and international audience.

Puerto Rican food, Huyke said, is also worth sharing with a worldwide audience because it is delicious with a lot of flavor, and it is not spicy. It can be healthy too, depending on how you cook and serve it, she said. "Not everything needs to be fried," she said, adding that many people have the misconception that Puerto Rican food is not healthy. Many Puerto Rican meals are based on vegetables.

In addition, she said, Puerto Rican food is very much influenced by the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the Puerto Rican people. Fusion has always and continues to very much be a part of Puerto Rican cuisine.
"Puerto Rican food is evolving, and we are working to making Puerto Rican cuisine go to the next step," she said. "There's more openness, and there is a movement to raise awareness."

While chefs "are going beyond the traditional," Huyke said sofrito continues to be used as the base in many Puerto Rican dishes whether they are traditional or have a new twist. 

Chefs always play a pivotal role in Saborea, and this year will be no different. Students from local culinary schools and universities will have the opportunity to show off their skills, styles and creativity at The Next Culinary Wave. There’s also the always-popular Tasting Pavilion, where Puerto Rico’s best restaurants offer some of their finest creations to the public. And through the demo kitchens, top local and international culinary personalities will reveal their secrets and interact with fans. The 2012 chef’s roster already reads like a “who’s who” of dream gastronomic experts from the U.S., the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. 

After-hours events will also play a big part of this year’s gastronomic fest. On Friday, April 20th, the opening reception, A Privileged Taste of Saborea, will feature 19 renowned chefs hosting individual 12-14 person tables and preparing unforgettable dinners expertly paired with wine. And on April 21st, the “Sabor Puertorriqueño” sunset beach party will bring together local flavors, live music and varied entertainment with tapas-style fare in a casual ambiance. 

This year's Saborea Puerto Rico also brings a wealth of new, flavorful events such as the Libations Station, which will offer tastings of local and international beers and spirits. Guest vintners from Napa Valley will regale visitors with tastings of that region’s best and favorite harvests, while local treats and homegrown coffees will be the main event at Sweets & Brews. There will also be an area dubbed “Mercado Boricua” for local vendors to present both agricultural and artisanal products. 

“These additions have been designed to enhance Saborea’s local and international flavors while providing visitors with even more variety,” said PRHTA President & CEO Clarisa Jiménez. “Like the world of flavors it explores each year, Saborea Puerto Rico will continue to adapt to welcome new trends and ideas in the culinary landscape.”

Despite trends and new ideas, one of the most popular dishes among the tourists is mofongo even though chefs are making it in different ways, she said with a smile. 

"We really want to put an emphasis on the food," Jimenez said. "We really want to showcase Puerto Rico's cuisine and our competitive advantages.

"We want people to come and see the warmth of the people of Puerto Rico, the wonderful places to visit on the island and enjoy our wonderful food," she said. "They will have an unforgettable experience. Saborea Puerto Rico is a way to help people finally understand the richness of Puerto Rican cuisine."

For more information, visit

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Iguanas belong ‘au naturel,’ even in Puerto Rico

By Luis Chaluisan

Iguanas: they’re not common pets in New Jersey, thank the power, even though people occasionally decide this exotic (as in non-native) animal would make a great pet. It’s not so. Iguanas belong in their native habitat, where they have the company of other iguanas, the right temperature and food, and the chance to be an iguana “au naturel.”

Caribbean tourist attraction
During a recent vacation in the Caribbean, I saw lots of iguanas, which made it easy for me to continue to be fascinated by them – their myriad colors, especially the bright green of young ones; their long ring-tails; their front feet, especially, with long, curving finger-like appendages; their casual ability to “go out on a limb,” seeking a flower or a tender green leaf at the end of a branch that looks incapable of holding them.
And, these kids can travel too! If they need to get away, they can do it. They’re not graceful, but they’re fast.
Far from eating red hibiscus flowers in St. Thomas was the iguana I met years ago in Ewing, NJ. That poor guy lived alone in a glass tank in a store. What a life: a caged curiosity shoppers could look at. Weekends when the store was closed had to be worst for that iguana – not even any gawkers.
Here are a few “fun facts” about iguanas from information I’ve accumulated over years of watching them. 
  • In the Family Iguanidae, they’re a kind of lizard, and lizards are reptiles. Lizards have what their snake relatives lack: ears, eyelids, four legs. Their lizard tongues serve as both organs of taste and odor detection.
  • Tropical, omnivorous, arboreal, quiet and diurnal (daylight creatures; inactive in dark), iguanas can weigh 25-30 pounds and grow to six feet or more – mostly tail. They have pointy scales along their back and males have dewlap. Life span: about 20 years.
  • Iguanas may forage and bask in groups. They love to bathe, swimming like snakes with legs against their bodies. To elude enemies, they can stay under water for about 30 minutes.
Puerto Rico’s plan
Just before coming home, I was disturbed to see a sad story in the Virgin Islands Daily News about iguanas. The government of Puerto Rico plans to capture and kill them, then sell their meat. Reason(s): iguanas are not native to that island (even thought elsewhere in the Caribbean, they’re a protected species); they outnumber the human population . . . and (believe it or not) the bad economy makes the idea appealing.
So now Puerto Rico’s looking for a company to “process” iguanas that would be hunted or trapped and kept alive for the slaughtering process. As I see it, PR aims to treat iguanas the way “food animals” are treated here in the US and everywhere else factory farming takes place. Horrible.
Then again, I’m not too surprised. Only a few years ago, Puerto Rico earned notoriety for killing hundreds of pets – cats and dogs – in the most barbaric way.
Now the island is “moving right along” with iguanas, apparently no more enlightened, or compassionate, than before.

Luis Chaluisan is a contributing writer to PRSUN. He is the editor in chief of

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thank you for being part of the PRSUN journey

Ten years ago, in the summer of 2002, I started the Puerto Rico Sun e-magazine when I lived in San Juan. I wanted it to be a publication that covered themes related to the Puerto Rican diaspora and that connected Puerto Ricans no matter where they lived. An online magazine made sense even though I first envisioned PRSUN as a newspaper since I was a print journalist.

I didn't know at the time how much newspaper journalism was going to be transformed. It is a little heartbreaking, but then again I love a free and open Internet and will continue to defend it. I have been engaged in online media for 10 years now -- making too little for all the time, work and money I have put into this media project, which has been more of a labor of love. I have mostly bootstrapped this business, which is registered in the Bronx, NY.

This summer I celebrate 10 years. I'm not sure how much more time I will dedicate to PRSUN, but I know this project has been part of my journey from my time in Puerto Rico to my move to New York. The mission has always been the same to inform, empower and build community.

Thank you for being a part of the PRSUN journey. I have been posting photos in an album dedicated to the last 10 years on my Facebook page. To view the photos.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

U.S. Commerce Secretary Bryson Appoints Executive Director of Puerto Rico Tourism Company to U.S. Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board


San Juan, PR, January 19, 2012 – U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson appointed Mario González-Lafuente, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, as part of a strategy to promote the United States. 

The announcement of González-Lafuente’s participation as one of the 32 members of the TTAB was made during visit by President Obama and Commerce Secretary Bryson to Orlando, Florida and is the latest in a series of “We Can’t Wait” actions that President Obama and his administration have undertaken to aid job creation through executive action.

“President Obama presented a robust strategy to promote the U.S. as a tourist destination,” said González-Lafuente. “My contribution will primarily focus on helping the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board develop an innovative and integrated marketing program that effectively utilizes social media, sponsorships and branded entertainment.”

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

On September 27th, 2012 Salsa History will be made once again as MR SALSA Izzy Sanabria hosts the First Annual Awards in New York. 
Accompanied by Sonida Criminal as the house band for the evening's gala presentation more than 40 catgories of Salsa excellence will be recognized including the induction of EL GRAN COMBO in the SALSA FALL OF FAME presented by Ana Flores of Radio Bemba. Others honored that night will be Choco Orta, Frankie Morales, Earnie Acevedo (Conjunto Imagen), La Excelencia and other surprise guests.
Nominations are scheduled to be announced June 1, 2012.
A WEPAwebTV Production

WEPAwebTV is an independent coalition of Latino Arts Producers including: Walter Baez-Music Editor Izzy Sanabria-Multimedia Clarisel Gonzalez-News Charlie Vazquez-Literature Prof. Linda Rodriguez Ph.D.-Education Maria Hernandez-Film Luis Chaluisan-Theater- Angela Marie Rijos (Lady Ang) Niteline- Felix Rojas (NYC)-Eric Ayala (PR) Ana Flores- Radio Bemba-Tony Ortiz (Topproductions)