Friday, September 16, 2022

City to unveil Adela Fargas Way this weekend in honor of Casa Adela's legendary founder

Tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 17) at noon, the city unveils new street blades for Adela Fargas Way on Fifth Street and Avenue C. 

Fargas was the founder and namesake of the popular Puerto Rican restaurant Casa Adela on the block. Fargas, who ran Casa Adela here for decades, died in January 2018. She was 81.

As we reported in MayDistrict Leader Aura Olavarria drafted the petition ... and worked with Adela's son Luis Rivera (pictured below) and other community members-groups. They collected hundreds of signatures and presented the petition to Community Board 3's Transportation, Public Safety, Sanitation & Environment Committee, who overwhelmingly approved the petition ... and the entire Board passed a resolution in support on May 24. 

On July 14, the New York City Council Committee passed Councilmember Carlina Rivera's bill for the co-naming.
Here's more about Fargas from the petition:
Adela Fargas was a working-class, Afro-Puerto Rican fixture in Loisaida and the owner and matriarch behind the iconic and authentic Puerto Rican restaurant Casa Adela. She was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, where she became a domestic worker who prepared frianbreras, or packed lunches, for factory workers. 

She moved to the United States at age 39, where her first job in the Lower East Side was at a restaurant on East 4th Street and Avenue D. When the restaurant closed, Adela found a way to provide for her family and feed those less fortunate through selling pasteles on street corners. In 1973, Adela opened her family-run restaurant, Casa Adela. 

Adela Fargas's impact goes far beyond a restaurant, which represented an important meeting place for the Puerto Rican community in New York City, in the diaspora, and worldwide. Outside the restaurant's walls, Adela was a center of Latino life on the Lower East Side and a tireless community advocate. Adela became the godmother to many on the Lower East Side, employing those who lived in the neighborhood and feeding anyone who came in hungry. 

Her soul food attracted a profound sense of community and this street co-naming will serve to honor her living legacy. Each year at the Loisaida Festival, Adela provided food for the community and organized dance and music for the festival as well.

Photo from May by Stacie Joy 

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