La Perla, San Juan, Puerto Rico

La Perla, San Juan, Puerto Rico

La Perla, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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La Perla is a community aside of the northern historic city wall of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, stretching about 650 yards (600 m) along the rocky Atlantic coast immediately east of the Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery and down the slope from (north of) Calle Norzagaray.

La Perla was established in the late 19th century. Initially, the area was the site of a slaughterhouse because the law required them and homes of former slaves and homeless non-white servants – as well as cemeteries – to be established away from the main community center; in this case, outside the city walls. Sometime after, some of the farmers and workers started living around the slaughterhouse and shortly established their houses there.

In spite of its oceanfront location, La Perla has always been known for its high rate of illegal drug trafficking and crime. Local Salsa and Reggaeton concerts are held each week with the intention of shedding the bad image of the community.

Only three access points exist, one through the "Santa Maria Magdalena Cemetery", one on the east side and one through a walkway right in the center of the northern wall.

In 1978, salsa singer Ismael Rivera had a hit song, written by composer Catalino Curet Alonso, in honor of this community, and named after it. In 2009, Reggaeton group Calle 13 released another tribute song, also named La Perla, in collaboration with Ruben Blades. In the song, Blades references Rivera's early effort; in the...
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