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ALUMNI VOICES


Views from the city


Growing up amidst urban


poverty led me to ask all the right questions


BY PEDRO A. REGALADO (BA ’13)


On weekend mornings, I’d stare out of my fifth-floor tenement window in the Washington Heights neighbor- hood of New York City. My view was


unlike those I noticed on my televi- sion set, which usually had front lawns, white fences, even a city skyline in the distance. Instead, I looked out through my fire escape and scanned the interior courtyard where other tenements disposed of their garbage. Bricks, ce- ment, and one lone tree dominated my vantage point. The New York City of the mid-1990s


was not unlike my childhood view from my apartment window. Poverty and violence were daily realities that made it difficult to look far into the future. My


42 LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO


parents made my world bigger though. Their strenuous labor and unyielding love became an ultimate necessary recipe of persistence for my older broth- ers and I. My curiosity also played a key role in my development—as a child, when I held my father’s hand I’d often look up at the tenements. They struck me with awe and inspired so many questions. When were they built? Who built them? As the years passed, financial hard-


ship continued to plague my family, spurring what seemed like an endless migration. It began when I was 5 years old, as we moved from the Dominican Republic to New York City. Once there, we continued to bounce around from apartment to apartment. When I was 18 we moved again, this


time to Philadelphia, where I continued to wonder about the built environment


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