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Attorney by day and photographer by night, or lunch, or breakfast...
Yaniel M. Cantelar is an attorney at Zamora, Hillman, & Villavicencio in Coconut Grove by day and photographer in Little Havana by evening or maybe during lunch too? While some of us do yoga, or read a book, or scroll through social media Yaniel picks up his camera and documents The People of Little Havana on Instagram. If you like you can search for @peopleoflittlehavana and just sit back and be delighted. He likes to post these moments and people he captures daily. I met up with Yaniel at a local restaurant called Sanguich de Miami where I was able to pick his brain and find out what he loves about the people of Little Havana so much over his favorite dish Pan con Bistec.
What is your obsession with the People of Little Havana?
“Like everything in Miami, if you look out to Brickell you used to see houses on Millionaires road now all you see are buildings. Everyday those buildings inch closer and closer to Little Havana and soon there will not be anything left, just buildings. All I want to do is take pictures of it all and maybe someday… You know how you see a before and after picture of an old house? I want to be the old picture one compares things to. Or maybe if people end up liking it enough it won’t go away.”
Why are the people of Little Havana special enough to you for you to document?
“I moved to the neighborhood recently, but this has always been my neighborhood. My grandfather knew all the Garcia’s because he used to fish with them, and we were always at La Camaronera. This has always been my neighborhood even if I didn’t grow up here.”
If you could fix one problem in Little Havana what would it be?
“The rising rents for some of the businesses because the landlords are driving tenants out by raising the rents so they can either knock down the building and put a new building or just redo the building without preserving the original architecture.”
Are you interested in growing your Instagram profile @peopleoflittlehavana into anything else?
“@peopleoflittlehavana will always just be about the People of Little Havana. I like to document food, so I play around with the culinary side of things too but mostly in Little Havana. What can I say I love this neighborhood and everything about it?”
What is your favorite restaurant on Calle Ocho
“Doce Provisions and Sanguich de Miami?”
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