‘In the Heights’ premiere celebrates the neighborhood that started it

In the Plaza de las Americas in Washington Heights, fruit and vegetable vendors usually sell produce by evening. But on Wednesday it turned into a copy of any other block of the locality. There was a fake bodega, decorated with three Dominican flags that hung from an awning, a fake fire hydrant, and a plastic fruit stand. There was a yellow carpet under the whole set.

The reproduction served as a backdrop for the publishers attending the premiere ofIn height, the big screen adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quira Alegria Hoods Tony Winning Broadway Show. Sunny Carpet welcomed the cast and crew to the Upper Manhattan neighborhood where it was filmed. Premiere, which also served as the opening night of the 20th Tribeca Festival, was held at the United Palace, a 91-year-old majestic theatre, in which a launch system That, years before its success on Broadway, had helped Miranda raise money to buy and then establish.

While actors, producers and executives walked down the yellow carpet, stopping for photographs with photographers and interviews with the news media, the real Washington Heights swung behind them. The waitress at the Malecón, a Dominican restaurant across the street from the plaza, peered out the windows among heaps of rice, stewed chicken and beans trying to figure out why the crowd in front of her restaurant on a sticky 90-degree day had become.

Diners at El Conde Nuevo, another Dominican restaurant across the street, stood on the corner trying to make sense of the rump outside. And then, Miranda — wearing a light blue, long-sleeved chakbana, jeans and the same Nike Air Force 1s in the city often called Uptown she wore to the Broadway opening of “In the Heights” — went to her family. Arrived with, and everyone burst into applause.

Jorge Peguero, 71, was on his way home when he stopped and became a proud member of the crowd.

“I’ve lived here my whole life, and it’s fantastic,” said Peguero, a Washington Heights resident since 1969. “It’s a big deal that Tribeca has chosen to represent the Dominican community, and this is the first time we see anything like this.”

Miranda, who still lives in Washington Heights, had hoped to premiere the film where it is set.

“I’ve always wanted this neighborhood to be proud of itself and the way they’re portrayed,” said Miranda, who was within walking distance of her home and her parents’ home. “I still walk around here with my headphones on, and everyone’s just as Lin-Manuel is writing.”

“I feel safe here,” he said.

Many Washington Heights residents have yet to have their encounters with Miranda in the neighborhood. Eglise Suarez, 48, was hoping to change that.

“I want to see Lynn,” she said. “We are very proud, this is progress for this community and the city.”

bountiful and seriously likedDirected by John M. Chu, “In the Heights” is a look at the changes taking place between first and second generation immigrants. The elders are expected to move out of the neighborhood they left home for, while their younger counterparts plan to stay in the neighborhood they call home. It’s a story that has happened a million times in the area and one that the Hoods, who also live there, have to deal with daily during filming.

“It’s not about a hero or a hero, it’s when a community holds hands together and life kind of separates those hands,” said Hudes, who wore large hoops and a flower-print. was wearing a jumpsuit. “It’s about these blocks and these living rooms where you go after school and do your homework or play bingo during a blackout, it’s all here.”

Washington Heights has been home to middle and working class Dominicans since the 1960s. In the 1980s, like many others in the city, the neighborhood was filled with cocaine and crack, making it unsafe for the community. Those days have now passed and some residents say it is time to move on from a narrative in countless movies and rap songs that no longer fits the neighborhood.

“I’m very proud of this film,” said Sandra Marin Martinez, 67, a lifelong Washington Heights resident. “Who won’t? At least the shooting isn’t happening.”

“Everything is dancing, it’s my people, I grew up dancing here,” she said as she waited for a glimpse of the cast in the theatre.

Yudelka Rodriguez, 51, waited for the cast with her daughter. She was excited to see her hood in the film and represent herself.

“I’m very emotional,” said Rodriguez, leaning on the metal gate. “It is the most beautiful thing, to see that your barrio is covered in it; It’s the best feeling.”

that feeling is something like Paula Weinstein, a Tribeca Festival Organizers (which this year removed “film” from its name) is expected to repeat across the city with this film.

“This is what we’ve been dreaming of — New York is back,” Weinstein said. “It’s a tribute to the Dominican community, it’s what New York is best at. Every generation of immigrants starts in one place and moves into the community, that’s the great thing about New York, that’s what we celebrate.” want to celebrate.”

At the theatre, the festival’s founder Robert De Niro introduced Miranda, who then introduced the rest of the cast. The energy from the stage to the seats was electrical. When a title card reading “Washington Heights” appeared on the screen, the crowd applauded and applauded.

When the film’s star Anthony Ramos arrived, the makeshift set was surrounded by a small crowd. As he stepped out in black and white cheetah-print pants, with a matching shirt and jacket placed awkwardly over his shoulders, the crowd at the corner of 175th and Broadway erupted in applause and cheer.

“I didn’t even grow up on Broadway, and most New Yorkers didn’t grow up on Broadway,” said Ramos, a Brooklyn native. “Telling the story of New York about a community that is so familiar and so special to the people of New York is particularly special to me.”

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