This is a multi-layered portrait of growing up in New York City's El Barrio in the late 1940s and 50s, set against that neighborhood as it exists today. It includes archival footage and interviews with four generation of New Yorkers of Puerto Rican heritage. The filmmaker, Carlos de Jesus, remembers the values that sustained the community even in the midst of poverty -- respect for elders, discipline, religious beliefs and mutual support. Today he sees a frightening deterioration in the community. Violence, drugs, the breakdown of the family, and a culture of instant gratification are eroding the fragile web of connections that once existed. It is this sense of connection that can make the difference between children who value life or treat it with dangerous indifference. The annual stick ball players reunion brings together the past and the present. Many of the "old timers" have moved beyond the neighborhood, and pursued higher education and professional careers. A superintendent of schools; a consultant for the corrections department; a stockbroker; and the filmmaker, a professor and artist, are part of the old gang. Their lively reminiscences bring the past to life. Carlos de Jesus was motivated to make this film in part by his desire to find a sense of community for his own child. He mourns the fact that her ties will not be to the El Barrio of his youth, but to a community he has to forge himself.