The Storm Part 1
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY
In the show, the Ventura family lives in Newark, the largest city in New Jersey. Alexa and Beni attend Rafael Hernandez School. Clara works at the Newark Public Library. Ramiro is an airline pilot, often flying out of the Newark Liberty International Airport.
In real life, the area now known as the city of Newark was once home to the Lenni Lenape people prior to European settlement in 1666. Notable people from Newark include Amiri Baraka, Aaron Burr, Michael B. Jordan, Allen Ginsberg, Whitney Houston, Ice-T, Shaquille O'Neal, and Frankie Valli. Learn more about the city of Newark here.
Source: Rise Up Newark
PUERTO RICANS IN THE VIETNAM WAR
In the show, the fictional character Lieutenant Horacio Méndez, Alexa and Beni’s distant cousin, is a former U. S. Marine born and raised in Guayama, Puerto Rico. Horacio served as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. He went M.I.A. in 1970.
In real life, Puerto Rican soldiers have fought in every U. S. conflict since World War I - hundreds have lost their lives and several have received high honors for their distinguished service. Learn more about Boricuas who fought in the Vietnam War here.
In the show, the Bronze Barometer plays a key role in time-traveling.
In real life, a barometer is an instrument that measures atmospheric pressure for weather forecasting. The earliest barometers date back to the seventeenth century. The Bronze Barometer in Timestorm is based on an aneroid barometer invented in 1844 by Lucien Vidie.
The Storm Part 2
RAFAEL HERNÁNDEZ SCHOOL
In the show, Alexa and Beni are seventh graders at Rafael Hernández School in Newark’s north ward.
In real life, the Rafael Hernández School serves pre-K through eight grade. The school is named after Afro-Puerto Rican musician Rafael Hernández, who was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico in 1892. At the age of 25, Rafael was recruited to join a U.S. Army musical band and was deployed to France during World War I. After the war, he went on to become a prolific composer as well as a band leader, actor, music store owner, and founder of little league baseball in Puerto Rico. Learn more about Rafael Hernández School here, and Rafael Hernández, the musician, here.
Sources: Newark BOE: Rafael Hernández School I NPS: Casa Amadeo antigua, Casa Hernández | Wikipedia: Rafael Hernández
HURRICANE MARIA: LANDFALL & IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH
In the show, the Venturas listen to weather updates about a dangerous hurricane barreling toward Puerto Rico and their family members that live there. Once the storm arrives, all communication is cut off with the island, and the Venturas struggle to cope with the uncertainty of the terrifying circumstances.
In real life, Hurricane Maria devastated many islands across the Caribbean, hitting Puerto Rico particularly hard. The storm made landfall on September 20, only two weeks after Hurricane Irma passed north of the island. About 80,000 residents were already without power from the previous storm when Hurricane Maria completely took out the entire electrical grid of the main island as well as the smaller islands, Vieques and Culebra. Nearly all methods of communication were crippled with pockets of satellite reception offering minimal connection between Puerto Rico and the U. S. mainland. Other immediate emergency circumstances included flooding, destruction of roadways, contamination of the water supply, loss of crops and livestock, food shortages, lack of access to urgent medical care, human fatalities, and much more. Learn more about Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Puerto Rico and the immediate aftermath here and here.
Sources: NPR: We've Never Gone Through This: Hurricane Maria Knocks Out Puerto Rico's Electricity | NPR: With Power Out And Phones Down, A Struggle To Reach Loved Ones In Puerto Rico
In the show, Atabey is an incorporeal entity that exists in the Timestorm. It prepares Alexa and Beni for their quests.
In real-life folklore, Atabey was the supreme goddess or Earth Mother in the creation myth of the TaÍno, the native people of the Caribbean. Although there are many versions of this myth, most portray Atabey as responsible for creating the sky, water, and children who created the land, plants, and animals.
Sources: Wikipedia: Atabey | The Tainos: Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus (Rouse)
NEWARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
In the show, Clara Ventura is a librarian at the Newark Public Library North End Branch.
In real-life life, the building that houses the current main branch of the Newark Public Library was dedicated in 1901. Today there are an additional eight branches - including the North End Branch on Summer Avenue - that make up the Newark Public Library System. The Newark Public Library is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is home to the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center, which consists of the Hispano-American Room, the Hispanic Reference Collection, and the Puerto Rican Community Archives.
Sources: Newark Public Library
In the show, the twins watch a transmission of Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit on the hologram in the chopper’s windshield. The scripted version of this moment was inspired by this archival video.
In real life, Roberto Clemente was an Afro-Puerto Rican right-fielder for the Pittsburg Pirates. He began playing professional baseball at the age of 18. On September 30th, 1972, during his final at-bat of the season, Roberto made his 3,000th career hit (a double). Three months later, on New Year’s Eve, Roberto was on a flight to Nicaragua that was supposed to deliver emergency relief packages to victims of a recent earthquake. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff, killing all on board. Roberto Clemente was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame following his death. His number, 21, was retired by the Pittsburg Pirates.
In the show, Celestina Cordero is a teacher at the San Juan Public School for Girls. She’s fighting to receive basic supplies for her students.
In real life, Celestina Cordero y Molina was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1787. Her parents were both freed slaves. Celestina began teaching in San German, and later, started a school for girls in 1820. Celestina believed that all children had a right to an education, regardless of race, class, or gender. Despite teaching 116 students, Celestina had to make eight appeals to the Council of San Juan before being officially accredited as an educator. She then had to fight to receive her teacher’s salary. At the time of Celestina’s death in 1862, she was living in poverty and her tireless work as an educator went mostly unrecognized.
s: El Post Antillano (Spanish) | Puerto Rico y Yo (Spanish) | Wikipedia: Celestina Cordero
In the show, Rafael Cordero is a teacher at the San Juan Public School for Boys. In the scene that takes place in his classroom, Rafael refers to “Little Francisco” and we hear “Alejandrito" recite lines from Shakespeare.
In real life, Celestina’s brother, Rafael Cordero y Molina, also an educator, is known as the Father of Puerto Rican Public Education. Rafael taught many young boys who went on to become famous such as painter Francisco Oller and dramatist Alejandro Tapia y Rivera. Rafael’s funeral was attended by over 2,000 people. He went on to be the subject of many works of art and venerated by the Catholic Church.
MORE ON CELESTINA CORDERO
In the show, Rafael Cordero thanks Celestina for leading the way as an educator, and being the first in their family to start a school.
In real life, although Rafael Cordero began teaching boys out of his house in 1810, Celestina was the one who first formally applied for an official teaching license from the council of San Juan. In 1820, Rafael was working in Celestina’s school when it finally received accreditation as an official San Juan public educational institution.
ROMÁN BALDORIOTY DE CASTRO
In the show, Román is a seminary student (and former student of Rafael Cordero) who runs errands for Celestina Cordero.
In real life, Román Baldorioty de Castro attended Rafael Cordero’s school on Luna Street during his early years, and El Seminario Conciliar de San Idelfonso as a teenager. He later went to Spain to study at the Central University of Madrid. Baldorioty de Castro eventually became a professor and a political activist. He fought for the abolition of slavery and Puerto Rico’s right to self-determination and spent many years advocating for Puerto Rican autonomy. The Spanish government was so threatened by his co-founding of the Autonomist Party of Puerto Rico that they jailed him in el Castillo San Felipe del Morro as a dissenter. The main highway leading to the San Juan International Airport is named after him: the Baldorioty de Castro Expressway.