The Nuyorican (Puerto Rican Chica, Northeast)

Excerpt from the #1 Bestseller "Chicaspotting: A Field Guide to Latinas of the United States"



IDENTIFICATION: The Nuyorican [noo-yorree-kan], also known as the “Ledge” and the “Shelf,” tends to have an urban or ghetto-urban style due to extensive intermingling of Latin and black cultures in the region, but she glams it up at times. Look for a big, protruding butt, with naturally small to medium-sized breasts, golden brown skin, a prominent forehead, beautiful brown eyes, and long, dark brown hair. Often petite to medium-height. Breast implants are not the norm but increasingly common.

NOTABLES: Rosie Perez, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Caban (model girlfriend of Bruno Mars), LaLa Anthony, Talisa Soto, Adrienne Bailon (1/2 Ecuadorable), Rosario Dawson (1/2 NYC So Ho’), and Raquel Reichard (book-banning feminista).

WHOA! – TWO POTATOES ON STICKS: Jennifer Lopez is America’s most famous Nuyorican. She put it this way: “As a Latin woman in the United States, you’re taught that you should be skinnier, that you shouldn’t have such a big butt. You feel self-conscious. I did. I was really thin, but I had a booty on me that you would not believe, like two potatoes on sticks.” There was, however, a fringe benefit: “I could serve coffee using my rear as a ledge.”

SONG: Talks quickly and loudly. Tends to curse, use urban slang, say “culo” (ass) and “Que carajo!” (What the f*ck!), mangle grammar, and gesture dramatically. Often refers to her man affectionately as “papi” (daddy) or “chulo” (cutie) unless she’s upset with him, in which case he’s a “pendejo” (dumbass) or “sangano” (idiot). Frequently speaks English (or Spanglish) rather than Spanish but conversant in both languages.

BEHAVIOR: Family-oriented and spirited but not particularly friendly to strangers and occasionally somewhat aggressive. Too often relatively uneducated and poor – with a poverty rate similar to the Bronx Tail (African-American, Northeast) – but animated and passionate about life. Usually loves urban and Latin music (including lots of reggaeton), watching the “novelas,” dancing, and singing.


WHOA! – DUAL IDENTITY: The Nuyorican has a dual identity (crisis) because she shares cultural traits with blacks that differ greatly from the La Guitarra (Puerto Rican, South).

MATING: Fickle, sexy and promiscuous while single but extremely territorial in any exclusive relationship. Tends to have a non-traditional family structure and stay single longer than most Latinas of the United States. If she has a child out of wedlock – as often happens – she’ll go after the biological father for child support until she gets it or they repo his ride.

PROMISCUITY: 9 (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 as least and 10 as most).

TIME TO CLOSE: 1 night to 2 weeks.

MAGNETS: Attracted mainly to Latin and black guys, especially bad boys and players. Occasionally dates other types with a compatibly urban lifestyle and worldview.

POPULATION: Abundant to common in NY, especially NYC, with the largest Puerto Rican community outside Puerto Rico, and the Bronx; NJ, especially Camden, Perth Amboy, Newark and Vineland; PA, especially Lancaster, Reading, Allentown and (North) Philadelphia; MA, especially Holyoke, Springfield and Lawrence; and CT, especially Hartford, Bridgeport and New Britain. Also common to somewhat common in Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, OH, Chicago, IL, and part of (central and northern) FL, especially Orlando.


HABITAT: Dominican hair salon; party; concert; local (urban) club, restaurant or shop; NYC offices of Latina magazine; National Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC.

MIGRATION: Somewhat migratory.


For profiles on 89 other subcultures (or “species”) of American women, order my award-winning #1 bestseller, Field Guide to Chicks of the United States.  Or, if you’re mainly interested in spotting America’s Latinas, order my new international #1 bestseller, Chicaspotting: A Field Guide to Latinas of the United States.

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