Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Where is La Saguesera?

So, I began having this heated discussion with my father about what exactly constitutes geographically the famous Saguecera.

For those lucky ignorant souls who do not know La Saguesera, it is the name given to the area South of Flagler (including Flagler) and West of, more or less, La Le Jeune, and ending in about Miller, because after that it becomes Kendall, and that is another story. At least that is my take. My father went on insisting that la Saguesera is simply the South West of Miami. I even went online to research the meaning and actually it is defined by the urban dictionary as:

1. saguesera Cuban slang for an area in Miami going from Little Havana all down the famous Calle Ocho(8th street)and into the southwest area of Miami Dade county. Populated mainly by Cubans as well as other Hispanic groups. e.g. I used to live in La Saguesera when I was a kid.
So even though, La Saguesera is really a geographic terminology—it derives from South West--Southwestcera—Saguecera—it means a lot more than that. Homestead, for example, is in the South West of Miami and I think anyone who knows Miami can agree that Homestead is not part of La Saguesera.

You know when you find yourself in La Saguecera. It definitely starts on Flagler. Get off on the Palmetto exit and drive through its traffic-over-saturated streets: where traffic signs have no meaning, and you can buy flowers and churros and mamoncillos at the light.

Turn on 107th and then really get to know traffic. Try to make it up to Calle Ocho and see how long it takes you or how many Cuban Cafeterias or strip mall you can count. Pass by Bird Road's Reys Pizza and have a traditional Banana-onion Pizza (this is actually excellent) and drive out of there aggressively or not drive at all.

I was surprised when I found Time Magazine referring to La Saguesera as the area of Little Havana only. The truth is that Little Havana is not even that much to the West, which is why I had never even considered it part of La Saguesera. Little Havana is one thing: smaller, there aren’t a million strip malls and it is pretty and cultural. La Saguesera is the chaos, where people get lost, where you don’t want to drive to. My friend Jeremy says Flagler puts a limit to where he can have friends. Once they cross the line to the West, they are lost in La Saguesera forever.
*Map provided by Webmistress Barbie


eldesaparecido said...

Preach-- La Saguecera is real. As real as the City. Its kind of an interesting area just like Westchester--those signs in and around don't mean jack. Lets have "WELCOME TO LA SAGUECERA-- A MIAMI-DADE COMMUNITY" signs as well!

Maria de los Angeles said...

Ha ha ha! This is great, Bego. La Saguesera is not just a Cubanization of a name, but a state of mind!

I'm glad you pointed out the distinction of south west Miami ... I was just writing about this today. Homestead is south west Miami-Dade County, not the city of Miami.

When I was growing up here in the early 70s, Little Havana was considered La Saguesera. I remember going to plays in the little Cuban theaters that were all about La Saguesera. I guess things have spread out.

Very cool blog post, much enjoyed!

Anonymous said...

I'm a gringo but I grew up in La Saguesera. I always knew there was 'something' about my neighborhood, I just never knew what 'it' was til now!

Psst, what's a mamoncillo? Is that one of those funky striped lime things that those guys sell in the plastic bags?

Anonymous said...

I think you might have gotten the directions a bit confused. Lejune runs north to south, so la saguecera is anything east of lejune. and south of flagler not west since flagler runs east to west.

Bego said...

Blogger: I wanted to add that I have lived in La Saguesera. I attended Coral Park Senior High for my senior year and graduated from FIU, so I know my Saguesera.
Now, no, it is not east of Le Jeune. East of Le Jeune is driving towards the beach, it is West of Le Jeune because it is the South West!

Mr. Freer said...

yes that area does have a distinctive look.

Miss Fernandez said...

La Sauguesera - I always called it Westchester. And I am one of those Bird Road people. Anything you would ever need can be found between the Palmetto and 92nd Ave on Bird Road.

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Anonymous said...

You could argue that there are few things more quintessentially "Miami" than arguing/discussing where exactly la sagüesera is. I was born and raised here and I say let each person interpret as they please. Maybe your sagüesera is different than mine and maybe that's ok. Personally, I came to know la sagüesera as the area south of Flagler and just west of downtown. Basically Little Havana. But I think all the other arguments are equally valid.

Interesting Fact: there's actually a house in Little Havana that has/had a nice tile sign made that says "La Sagüesera". So that's at least one other person who is pretty sure that it includes Little Havana.

Carla French said...

Yes..That's A Mamoncillo!

Unknown said...

As kids, we started that word from SW sidewalks, SW aceras. Sa we aceras (spanglish)