The Quality of Life in Loisaida – Calidad de Vida en Loisaida

The Quality of Life in Loisaida/ La Calidad de Vida en Loisaida zine is FREE in the neighborhood, however you can support this initiative by purchasing a limited edition print for $10. Please call 646 726-4715 or email: for more information.

A Letter From the 2021 Editor:

Dear readers,

In an imaginative essay about the first lockdown in India, novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy writes, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew.” And so, adopting Roy’s framework: this zine is obsessed with questions of the past and the future. What has been lost? What has been learned? What has changed? What do they hope and fear for the next phase?

Creating a chiasm of stories that reflects Roy’s idea of a portal, the stories in the zine tell a partial answer, starting with the past and moving to the future in order to better reflect the present. In the process of writing, I have been blown away by the incredible resilience I have found; the determination of the people who homeschool their kids, go to work, care for sick relatives, and carry on with the tasks of daily lives despite the instability of their environments. And then, in addition to all that, I am humbled by the heroism of the ordinary people who have found the strength of character to do extraordinary things: creating mutual aid funds, setting up sweat equity wind turbines, hosting grocery drives, registering to vote, going out to protest, creating art from their trauma. People have always been so; the people of Loisaida have especially been so.

My gratitude to all the people who have their words enclosed in quotation marks in the next pages; beyond the mere journalistic work, I feel my life is richer because of what I learned from you. I also would like to thank Paul Garrin, Alejandro Epifanio, and Catiria Allende from the Loisaida center as well as Conor Brady, Sam Dinger, my GFUP Baddies, and the rest of the UDL people at Gallatin. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all my friends and family who put up with my mind-blown babblings about how this one specific neighborhood is a state of mind. Without all of your support, this zine would not have been possible. Se les quiere.

Lau Guzmán, Editor-In-Chief

Lau Guzmán is a young writer who attends NYU’s Gallatin School and hopes to graduate in January 2022 with a concentration in Political Fictions with a minor in Journalism. She graduated from an international high school in Bogotá, Colombia in 2017, spent a year backpacking, and lived to propel herself on a rickety scooter through Tompkins Square Park. Lau’s work centers on the relationship of media, politics, and culture and she’s excited to learn more about the Lower East Side through contributing to the 2021 edition of Quality of LIfe in Loisaida as a part of Gallatin’s Fellowship in Urban Practice.

Click here to download a PDF proof of the new 2021 edition.

A Letter From the 2019 Editors:

In 2018, we reintroduced The Quality of Life in Loisaida/ Calidad de Vida en Loisaida, a magazine that was originally published in March 1978 and had been out of print since 1991. The team at the Loisaida Center has once again decided to publish a new issue of the magazine as last year’s issue was received with an overwhelmingly warm response.

The central theme for this issue is about change. As any member of this community can attest, changes in Loisaida in the last few years has led us to a critical moment of reflection and evaluation. As Loisaida is faced with challenges of social inequity and the consequences of climate change, what are we doing to ensure that our community continues to progress and thrive? The history of Loisaida is defined by changes led by local activists and grassroots activism. Our issue today focuses on the work of current artists, activists, and community members on topics of great concern in Loisaida in regards to changes in the neighborhood.

We invite you to engage with the material beyond the pages of this magazine and with your own communities and life. Special thanks to Libertad Guerra, Andrea Gordillo, and Alejandro Epifanio Juan for their support, guidance, and patience in the creation of this issue. If you are interested in contributing to future issues of The Quality of Life in Loisaida/ Calidad de Vida en Loisaida, feel free to contact us at

In Solidarity,

Wilfred Guerron and Dylan Garcia

Download/Read the 2019 Edition by clicking here.

A Letter From the 2018 Editors:

Jesse Benhart and myself, Dylan Garcia, are research fellows from New York University’s Urban Democracy Lab and have been working with the Loisaida Center over the past three months. We have been learning about the Center’s goals, activities, history, and community through research and participating in events. This magazine is the product of our research into the community as well as an homage to its history.

The Quality of Life in Loisaida/La Calidad de Vida en Loisaida magazine was originally published in March 1978 with the last issue published 13 years later in March 1991. The magazine’s tagline was, “Your Guide to Better Living in the Lower East Side” which speaks for itself as a publication meant to serve the community. The bilingual Spanish and English aspect was crucial for making it accessible to as many as possible. Articles often included information about how cook affordable meals, where to find affordable housing, and how to repurpose used items, among other topics.

The goal was to provide access to important information and events, as well as spread artwork and culture. We hope this reissue of the iconic magazine will reflect the spirit of the Lower East Side and its rich history of community activism.


Jesse Bernhart and Dylan Garcia

Download/Read the 2018 Edition by clicking here.

If you are interested in reading more, the entire archive is available at the NYPL SASB – Milstein Division – Mezzanine ((S) AZ 06-232 v. 1-8)
“Opinions like those expressed while in a panel, presentation, performance or through artwork are expressed by the author in their personal capacity and are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Loisaida Inc., its affiliates or staff.”