In the Heights begins with our protagonist, Usnavi, chasing Graffiti Pete, a graffiti artist, away from his bodega at the crack of dawn. It is one of the hottest days of the summer, and bodega owner Usnavi shows up to the store, only to discover his refrigerator is broken. Usnavi desperately tries to find a plan to save the milk from spoiling, even as customers pour into the bodega, eager for their morning coffee (“In The Heights”). Abuela, the neighborhood grandmother, comes by the store and tells Usnavi to use condensed milk as an alternative. The entire neighborhood calls her Abuela because she has cared for so many people in the neighborhood as a matriarch would her own children; she basically raised Usnavi, whose parents died when he was still young.
As Abuela leaves, the Rosarios enter. They run the local cab company, and are proud that their brilliant daughter, Nina, attends Stanford University. Daniela and Carla from the neighborhood salon enter next, gossiping