Page 74 - December2018
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and  shmongers.
The Lower East Side has a long tradition
as an immigrant community. According to Margolis, the largest wave of Puerto Rican immigrants arrived in the area during the 1960s and ’70s. The shopping needs of these residents are re ected in much the market offers. As with neigh- borhoods throughout the city, however, the Lower East Side is changing. An in ux of younger, more af uent residents has arrived in an area that still maintains its
large Caribbean population, but there are plenty of retail options for bread, meat and beverages for them, as well.
Sobeida DeLa Cruz is the manager of Viva Fruits and Vegetables, a produce wholesaler and retailer. It’s a family owned-and-operated business that occu- pies four booth spaces at the market and has a nearly two-decade presence on Essex Street. Viva caters to the neighbor- hood’s Puerto Rican community but also a mix of ethnic populations. “I have a lot
of Africans, Jamaicans, Colombians, and Ecuadorans,” says DeLa Cruz of the people who utilize her family’s booths, “but most of our customers are Hispanic.” This means DeLa Cruz and her family keep commodi- ties such as plantains, yucca, cassava, dried beans and nuts in good supply.
Viva sources its wares from two terminal markets in New York City. “We usually get from Hunts Point and the Brooklyn Terminal,” says DeLa Cruz, whose father gets up at 2 a.m. every day

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