Two years ago, Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster the Caribbean island has suffered in 85 years, made its way through Puerto Rico and left devastating damage. But, if the island has shown us something post-Maria, is its desire to move on and have a good time. Whether through music or taking the streets to have their voices heard, Puerto Rico gives us a new lesson in resilience.
Where past and the future meet
Two miles from the majestic Isla Verde beach, is the San Juan Hotel. After a $65 million investment, the hotel has reopened its doors with the goal of becoming an example of the history and future of the island. Designed by legendary Miami Beach architect Morris Lapidus and inaugurated more than 70 years ago, the hotel became a unique place on the island to have a good time. Artists like Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli are some of those who have performed there. More recently JenCarlos Canela and Maluma have experienced the place. With this reopening, the emblematic hotel seeks to create an unparalleled experience for those who visit it, where relaxation and fun will be guaranteed.
For its part, Caña by Juliana González, one of the five hotel restaurants, wants to be one of the faces of this new stage in Puerto Rico. With a culinary proposal that has a social and environmental approach, the team seeks to work alongside local farmers, fishermen and artisans. This way they seek to put Puerto Rican heritage at the center of their culinary proposal.
Music and art to push through
After Maria’s path through Puerto Rico, the island’s artistic community has shown its resilience. On the music side, stars like Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam and Ozuna constantly put the island at the top of the industry. But Puerto Rican music can also be found in the streets. The #RickyRenuncia movement not only got the governor to resign, it was also a way in which Puerto Ricans showed the world that be it with bomba, plena or cacerolazos, music is an integral part of their lives. The artistic and cultural side of the island is not far behind.
The hurricane and the reconstruction efforts have inspired many local artists. The sentiment goes beyond the chosen format: there is the Borinqueña comic that reaches out to the main superheroes to collaborate in the reconstruction, muralists who have filled neighborhoods with color and theater collectives such as Teatro Breve that always find ways to make us laugh.
3 icons of the Puerto Rican Renaissance
From stopping his most recent tour of Europe to writing and producing a song for the most recent protests, the trap star does anything for his island. As he commented in a video for Billboard: "I love my island. It means pride, it means love. Being Puerto Rican, it means everything."
The most successful Puerto Rican in recent years brought his acclaimed musical Hamilton to the island to raise funds, promote the arts and boost tourism. In addition, with the help of his father, with his father he created the Flamboyan Arts Fund to support institutions, artists, musicians and galleries.
"How proud I am to be Puerto Rican," the singer and actor tweeted after participating in the most recent protests on the island. The ex-Menudo has used his fame to support the island’s reconstruction by raising funds and building homes.