There have been Puerto Ricans living in the mainland U.S.A. since the middle of the last century. But it was after World War II, when traveling became cheaper and easier, that there was the greatest influx of people. In 1946, Puerto Ricans could purchase, for a small amount of money, a one-way ticket to the mainland. As citizens they did not face immigration laws or quotas ... and so they arrived by the tens of thousands, first by freighter and later by airplane.

A small percentage went to work as migrant workers in the rural areas of the country. The majority settled in New York City. Many went to live in Spanish Harlem, known as El Barrio, an older community of Spanish-speaking people, on Manhattan's Upper East Side. There they joined family and friends. Others moved into congested neighborhoods inhabited by the children of earlier immigrant groups. Thus, they formed new neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan's Lower East Side. One area in particular was heavily populated by these newcomers, and became an extension or suburb of Spanish Harlem. This was the South Bronx, known to the Puerto Ricans as "El Bronx."

These migrants and their children, strangers in their own country, brought with them a different language, culture, and racial mixture. Like so many before them they hoped for a better life, a new future for their children, and a piece of that good life known as the "American dream."

This collection of stories is about Puerto Rican migrants and their everyday struggle for survival, during that decade of the promised future 1946 through 1956, in New York City's "El Bronx."

— Nicholasa Mohr