Oral histories are intimate conversations between and among people who have generously agreed to share these recordings with BHS’s archives and researchers. Please listen in the spirit with which these were shared. BHS abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.
Every oral history relies on the memories, views, and opinions of the narrator. Because of the personal nature of oral history, listeners may find some viewpoints or language of the recorded participants to be objectionable. In keeping with its mission of preservation and unfettered access whenever possible, BHS presents these views as recorded.
The audio recording should be considered the primary source for each interview. Where provided, transcripts created prior to 2008 or commissioned by a third party other than BHS, serve as a guide to the interview and are not considered verbatim. More recent transcripts commissioned by BHS are nearly verbatim copies of the recorded interview, and as such may contain the natural false starts, verbal stumbles, misspeaks, and repetitions that are common in conversation. The decision for their inclusion was made because BHS gives primacy to the audible voice and also because some researchers do find useful information in these verbal patterns. Unless these verbal patterns are germane to your scholarly work, when quoting from this material researchers are encouraged to correct the grammar and make other modifications maintaining the flavor of the narrator’s speech while editing the material for the standards of print.
All citations must be attributed to Brooklyn Historical Society:
[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
These interviews are made available for research purposes only. For more information about other kinds of usage and permissions, see BHS’s rights and reproductions policy.
Oral history interview conducted by Lucia Rodriguez
February 03, 1989
Call number: 1989.004.14
0:03 - Crianza en Cuba, empleo y negocios en La Habana - Growing up in Cuba, employment and businesses in Havana
9:15 - Efectos de la Revolución Cubana en los dueños de propiedades, intentos de mudarse a EE.UU. - Effects of the Cuban Revolution on property owners, attempting to move to the US
14:48 - Empleos en Manhattan y Brooklyn, compra de propiedad en Brooklyn - Employment in Manhattan and Brooklyn, purchasing property in Brooklyn.
23:30 - Adaptarse a la vida en New York, condiciones de vida en Cuba, progreso de su familia en EEUU - Adapting to life in New York, living conditions in Cuba, family's progress in the US
35:55 - Cambios en el tipo de negocios y comerciantes en Park Slope - Changes in the type of businesses and business owners present in Park Slope
43:56 - Razones para quedarse en NY, presentes condiciones de refugiados en Brooklyn - Reasons for staying in NY, present conditions for refugees in Brooklyn
54:24 - Opiniones acerca de las mejorías a Brooklyn, problemas de delincuencia - Thoughts on future improvements for Brooklyn, deliquency problems
Oral History Interview with Gerardo Perez
Gerardo Perez, alias ''El Viejo Yayo," is originally from Guanabacoa, Cuba. When this 1989 interview occurred, he had lived in Brooklyn for twenty-four years with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandson. A restaurant entrepreneur by nature, Perez had spent most of his life working in restaurants.
In the interview, Gerardo Perez discusses his family's business in Cuba as well as in the States. He details in depth how he started his present restaurant, El Viejo Yayo. As Perez tells his story, he provides some insight into the effects of the Communist Revolution on his family and, to some extent, on the country as a whole. In addition, the dilemma of national dislocation, sponsorship and immigration is highlighted. He talks about his journey through Spain and Costa Rica before arriving in Brooklyn. Perez recalls his difficulty with learning English as a second language. Throughout the interview, he also mentions some cultural customs that his family has brought over from Cuba, and still practice today. Perez sees other problems that are affecting quality of life in New York City, and particularly Brooklyn. Crime is his main concern. He elaborates on how drugs and the number of robberies have escalated in the past few years, and what the police force is doing about it. However, Perez provides some insight into how the various restoration projects, in the past as well as in the late 1980s, have helped make Brooklyn a livable, growing borough. Interview conducted by Lucia Rodriguez.
Brooklyn Historical Society initiated the Hispanic Communities Documentation Project in 1988. Over fifty interviews were conducted to document the experiences of Brooklyn residents who arrived from Puerto Rico, Panama, Ecuador, and several other Central and South American nations in the latter half of the twentieth century. This collection includes recordings and transcripts of interviews conducted between 1988 and 1989. The oral histories often contain descriptions of immigration, living arrangements, neighborhood demographics, discrimination, employment, community development, and political leadership. Also included are photographs and printed ephemera.
CitationPerez, Gerardo, Oral history interview conducted by Lucia Rodriguez, February 03, 1989, Hispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories, 1989.004.14; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Perez, Gerardo
- Cuban Americans
- Dinners and dining
- Drug traffic
- Emigration and immigration
- Hispanic Americans
- Language and languages
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Miami (Fla.)
Finding AidHispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories