The Bronx has been a home in the New World for many people of various backgrounds and ethnicities dating back to 1639 when Jonas Bronck’s ship anchored off the southern shores of what is now 132nd Street, just east of Lincoln Avenue. On his farm, there were people from Germany, Denmark, and even Jonas himself was a Swede, sailing under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company. Since then, the borough has played host to a number of different cultures. However despite the immigration history, the Latino community in The Bronx only grew in large numbers after the second half of the 20th century. They’re were certainly a number of Bronx Latinos living in the 19th century, but nothing compared to the enormous Hispanic population The Bronx has today. These early Bronx Latinos came from different parts of Latin America where political strife was at an all time high and revolution seem to linger in the air.
During the war of 1812, the town of West Farms saw an increase of manufacturing mills due to it’s location on the west bank of the Bronx River. As a result of such development and advancement, the first newspaper ever to be printed in The Bronx was produced in 1813. It was called the “Westchester Patriot”, a four-page publication filled with news, poetry, advertisements, and any other content that can fill in the spaces.
Unfortunately, the paper, along with other manufacturers in the area were closed down due to the influx of British good that came in after the war. Only one issue of the “Westchester Patriot” survives.
And on this issue, a M. Lopez was the printer and publisher of the newspaper every Tuesday and Friday morning. At a time when The Bronx had little to any Hispanics in its populace, the surname of this gentleman “Lopez” with the “Z” at the end, sparks one’s curiosity. One possibility is that he may have descended from Saphardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in the Middle Ages. Many of them migrated to the outer regions of Europe such as Great Britain and France. Since The Bronx was part of a British colony for almost 140 years,there is a strong possibility that Mr.Lopez was of this stock. Nevertheless, he may have been the first person of Hispanic decent to be mentioned in the annals of Bronx History.
By 1855, The Bronx was primarily a farming community. Wealthy families like the Havemayers, known for being the “Sugar Kings”, owned vast estates and plantations. One Augustus Zerega di Zerega, raised in Venezuela, found a nice place to live in the south eastern shores of The Bronx, where Ferrypoint park is today. Although Zerega descended from Italy, byway of Martinique, he was raised by his Venezuelan step-mother and later become a close friend to Simon Bolivar, the great liberator of Latin America. However, when the effects of revolution began to affect Zerega’s assets, he moved to New York City in the 1830s and later, in 1854, to the Throggsneck section of The Bronx. Today, you also have a short street called Yznaga Place off of Brush Avenue, just across the Westchester Creek. In the 19th century, Wiiliam Frederick Havemeyer, three-time mayor of NYC and forst sugar refinery owner to open in NYC, owned a large piece of property
When Zerega came to The Bronx, he brought his whole family and his entire slave workforce with him. Although his coffee merchant business was steady, it was the shipping business that the Zerega family was known for. According to historical accounts, Zerega ran his business without recording any transactions, using his unique memory . At the mouth of the Westchester creek, Zerega had his boats docked, each sporting the company’s red flag with a “Z”.
“Island Hall” as Zerega named his mansion, burned down in 1895. A year later, the family built a new structure on the same site but finally sold it to a Catholic order, who later sold it to the city in 1930 to build Ferrypoint Park and the approach for the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, Hunts Point was also a favorable place to live for those who benefited from New York City’s thriving exporting and importing business. Beautiful mansions set on manicured estates littered the landscape. One particular gentleman by the name of Innocencio Casanova enjoyed his own “Castello De Casanova”, located on the south eastern side of the neighborhood. Formerly the estate of Benjamin Whitlock, Castello De Casanova offered beautiful views of the Long island sound and its proximity to the the city was just as appealing.
Casanova was a rich Cuban importer who later became a staunch supporter of Cuban Independence during the Spanish-American War. It is reputed that Casanova, and later, his daughter Emilia Casanova and her husband, exiled author Cirilo Villaverde, worked in support of the Cuban rebels. Legend has it that Cuban rebels would navigate up Legget’s Creek in small boats to retrieve the cache of rifles and gun powder stored at Castelo de Casanova. Later, they would smuggle the contraband onto ships docked in the east River, bound for Cuba. Casanova himself has traveled to Cuba a number of occasions until he was finally denied entry by the Spanish government in 1871.
After his death in 1890, Castello de Casanova stood vacant for many years. For neighborhood kids, it was an enormous playhouse where many ghost stories were told. One popular story was that the screams of Spanish spies getting executed where heard from the bowels of the house. Today, the only reminder of this time is Casanova Street in Hunts Point.
In the mid 1850s, many countries in Latin America had already formed their own individual republics. Once independence was instituted, a number of wealthy Latinos sent their sons and daughters to America to earn a decent education. The Ursuline Academy for girls, originally located on the north east corner of Westchester Avenue and Cauldwell Avenue, was one of the ideal schools where many young Latinas from countries such as Mexico and Cuba came to earn their education. Founded by Ursuline nuns from St.Louis, today the catholic institution continues to serve young girls in The Bronx, but in a different location south of Bedford Park Boulevard.
After 1892, the Ursuline Academy building later became the first location for Lebanon Hospital. Then in 1943, the building was taken over by the Bronx Garment Center. Yet, like many factories at the time who decided to relocated to other places and therefore taking the jobs with it, the Bronx Garment Center was closed in the mid 1950s and later demolished to make way for the St.Mary’s housing projects.
Another ideal school in The Bronx was St.John’s college, now Fordham University. At the same time young Latinas were attending the Ursuline Academy, several young men from republics south of the Rio Grande attended St.John’s college and over the years, these young men started to die due to fatal illnesses. Today, their bodies lay in the cemetery on campus, near the church.
According to the archives material at Fordham University: Esteban Bellan was the first Cuban and the first Latin American to play major league baseball. He later became one of Cuba's first great baseball player-managers. Belen learned how to play the game while he was a student at Fordham University from 1863-1868. During his time at Fordham, Bellan played for the newly created Fordham Rose Hill Baseball Club. Founded in the late 1850's, the Fordham Rose Hill's played the first ever nine-man team college baseball game in the United States against St. Francis Xavier College on November 3, 1859. Bellan was born in Havana, Cuba in 1850. As was common among wealthy Cuban-Catholic families, Bellan and his brother were sent to the United States to study at Fordham, a Jesuit institution. In 1868, after his time at Fordham, Bellan (who went by "Steve") played for the Unions of Morrisania, a New York team. In 1869 Bellan joined the Troy Haymakers for whom he played third base until 1872. In 1871 the Haymakers joined the National Association, which became the National League in 1876. The Haymakers later became the New York Giants, now the San Francisco Giants. After his time with the Haymakers, Bellan played a year with the New York Mutuals and then returned to Cuba. On December 27, 1874 Bellan played in the first organized baseball game in Cuba. From 1878-1886 he served as both a player and manager for the recently founded Habana baseball team. He led Habana to multiple Cuban baseball championships (1878-9, 79-80, and 82-83). Though it is known that Bellan died on August 8th, 1932, little else is known about the first Latin American to play major league baseball The St. Johns College Catalogue of 1863-64 list Esteban Belen as a student, along with other Latinos such as Amado and Francisco Aguilera from Bayamo, Cuba, Lizardo Alcivar of Equador, Ramon Arguello and Alejandro Avila of San Miguel, San Salvador, and Francis Belden of Monterey, Mexico.
The Zaldo brothers, Charles, Henry, and Frederick from Havana, Cuba, were all enrolled as students at Fordham University from 1875-1878. During these three years at Fordham, they too learned and perfected the game of baseball. Upon returning to Cuba in 1878, the Zaldo brothers founded the Almendares Baseball Club, one of the three original Cuban baseball teams. In 1878, Habasa, Almandares, and Matanzas organized themselves professionally to form the "Liga General de Base Ball de la Isla de Cuba." Below is a photograph of Charles Zaldo as a student.
The New York Lincoln Giants, originally owned by Jess McMahon (patriarch to the world known Wrestling Family), were one of early teams in the Negro Leagues with a great track record. They won three straight eastern championships and included players legendary players like Henry "Pop" Lloyd, Dick "Cannonball" Redding, Spot Poles, Louis Santop, Grant "Home Run" Johnson, and Dan McClellan (who threw the first perfect game in black baseball history for the 1903 Cuban X Giants). Although most of the players in the league were of African-American decent, many dark skinned Latinos, mostly Cuban, played for the leagues as well. In the 1930’s, the New York Lincoln Giants were already playing at the old Catholic Protectory (now the present site of Parkchester), with a black Cuban ball player named Julio Rojo. Rojo was a superb pitcher, later becoming one of Cuba’s most memorable early 20th century baseball stars. According to local sources, when the Lincoln Giants practiced at the protectory on Sundays, it was the only day the young residents did not run away.
Although Archer Milton Huntington was certainly not a Latino, he definitely paved the way for the preservation of Hispanic culture in New York City after the Spanish-American War. Huntington was son of Collis P. Huntington, the railroad magnet who made a fortune in California. They owned a house in Throggsneck, which is now Preston High School on Schurz Avenue in The Bronx. Archer Milton Huntington was so interested in Hispanic culture that he founded The Hispanic Society of America in 1904, establishing a home for showcasing not only priceless pieces of Spanish art from Spain, but also from Portugal and all countries in Latin America. Today, The Hispanic Society of America continues to serve New Yorkers in its beautiful beaux-arts building on Audubon Terrance in upper Manhattan.
As the Spanish-American War reached its conclusion 1898, some prominent Bronxites supported the people of the independent island of Puerto Rico. One Bronxite in particular was New York State Senator Richard H. Mitchell. Mitchell had an interest for the politics that involved the small Caribbean island and in 1904, started a movement to advance the Puerto Ricans politically and economically. He began to meet with Puerto Ricans and other individuals in New York City and formed the Puerto Rican American League. Mitchell was chosen by the delegates to be the league’s president. He became the first major personality to become a link that would connect Puerto Rico to The Bronx. In the early part of the 19th century, Puerto Ricans started to populate major cities in the United States. The island was made into a protectorate by the United States after the war and in 1917, citizenship was granted. New York City was a major stop because of its thriving commercial harbors and factories. To the incoming Latinos, this meant jobs and prosperity. Cubans also started making their way into the U.S., but because of its proximity to Cuba and other reasons, Cubans found the lower regions of Florida as a stronghold. Some parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan (later to be named “El Barrio”) become home to Puerto Ricans. As time progressed, Puerto Ricans began to assimilate into New York life by familiarizing themselves with the New York transportation system and soon started to venture out of El Barrio and into The Bronx.
At this time, however, very few Puerto Ricans lived in The Bronx. Of those who did, the men first found work on the few remaining farms and the women worked as maids. In 1920, a maid from Puerto Rico was involved in one of the earliest automobile accidents in The Bronx when she was hit by a car while crossing Prospect Avenue.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, it affected not only the U.S., but the whole world as well. This dark moment in American history was called The Great Depression and it lasted throughout the 1930s. A number of factories and large businesses closed and there was widespread unemployment. This gave Puerto Ricans a good enough reason not to take advantage of their U.S. citizenships to travel to New York, or to The Bronx.
Looking through a Bronx telephone book from the winter of 1929, very few Hispanic surnames are found. Here, one will find just a handful of Garcias (bottom). In many cases, Latino surnames have been used by other people from different ethnic backgrounds. A classic example is the surname “Moran”. This surname has been shared by both Hispanic and Irish families for centuries. So if you ever come across someone with the “Moran” surname, you just might never know.
On this page, a very small group of those with a “Perez” surname are located on the center-left.
Speaking out of my personal experience and research, the “Hernandez” surname happens to be one of the most common surnames in Latin America. However, in 1929, The Bronx played host to a very small number of “Hernandez” families.
The surname “Lopez”, which happens to be an extremely popular name in Spain and in Latin America, only take up 9 lines on this page. Although not everyone in The Bronx at the time had a telephone, this just shows us those who had one where most likely non-Latino, therefore, further under-representing the Latino population.
It was not until World War II that large numbers of Puerto Ricans arrived. Poverty was still widespread on the island, and, with the country at war, the economy on the mainland was expanding. Jobs and other opportunities were available. The first Puerto Ricans arrived by boat, and started working in factories and offices. Many first settled in Spanish Harlem, but as more and more people arrived from the island, they found a place to live in The Bronx.
Areas in the South Bronx such as Mott Haven, were the areas first populated by Puerto Ricans. For every tenement apartment that was being vacated by those climbing the socio-economic ladder, a Puerto Rican family would soon occupy it. The Art Steel factory, located in the heart of Mott Haven, was one of the first to hire the newly arrived Latinos.
Some of the Puerto Ricans went into business for themselves. One of the first Puerto Rican-owned businesses in The Bronx in the 1940s was the Mayaguez Shoe Store on Brook Avenue, south of 138th Street.
As more Puerto Ricans moved in The Bronx, shops and restaurants began to cater to their needs. These included the neighborhood bodegas and local Spanish-American establishments. This Spanish-American restaurant on the corner of Prospect Avenue and 151Street advertises an event happening at the Tropicana Club in May of 1951, featuring Machito and his orchestra.
The “Carniceria” or the local butcher shop was also a neighborhood fixture for Puerto Ricans living in the South Bronx. This particular butcher shop was located on Westchester Avenue, near Jackson Avenue in 1954. Today, the parking lot of the St.Mary’s housing projects occupy the site.
As the Mott Haven area began to get crowded with newcomers, Puerto Ricans began to venture into east Morrisania and into Hunts Point. This photo was taken in 1949, looking east on 163rd Street and Intervale Avenue. As one may notice, Puerto Ricans had already begun to run the businesses in this area. Also, it was a common sight in a Puerto Rican neighborhood to see businesses like a travel agency. Even today, such business are important for those coming and going to their Caribbean ,south and central American destinations.
This shot shows the west side of 163rd Street and Intervale Avenue in 1949. One cannot help to notice the Coca-Cola advertisements.
For the younger generations, Puerto Ricans began to carve out their place in the public school system. This 1951 photograph shows Puerto Rican student who participated in a event at Morris High School. Large high schools such as Morris High School had a high number of Latinos at this time.
The cheerleading squad at Morris High School in the 1950s were mostly Latina. Here is a photo of such a squad in 1953, the year New York City saw it’s largest influx of Puerto Ricans, since the first wave of migration back in the early half of the century.
The sports world was also feeling the arrival of Latinos. Panama-born Hector Lopez was the first Latino to play for the New York Yankees. Lopez was an accomplished player, as both an infielder and outfielder on five consecutive pennant teams and two World Series championship teams during the 1960s. He was also the first non-caucasian manager in Triple A baseball.
Luis Arroyo, from Puerto Rico, played for the Yankees from 1960-63. Arroyo was the closer for the team during two World Series appearances. He was a pitcher who came in 6th place in the MVP voting during the 1960 campaign.
Cuban-born Pedro Ramos played for the Yankees from 1964-66. Ramos closed for the Yankees for two seasons, in which he accumulated a total of 32 saves. He later became an All-Star with the Washington Senators.
Pedro Gonzales of the Dominican Republic played for the Yankees from 1963-66 as second baseman and outfielder. He played three seasons until he was traded to Cleveland in 1965.
Puerto Rican Rusty Torres was a Yankee from 1971-72. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 54th round of the 1966 amateur draft. The outfielder lasted two seasons with the bombers.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Felipe Alou was a Yankee from 1971-73. After three top-15 MVP finishes in his first 13 Major League sessions, the outfielder played two seasons in pinstripes, driving in 69 runs during the 1971 season.
Bobby Bonilla grew up in a Bronx Puerto Rican family, and rooted for the National League New York Mets. As a youngster, he dreamed of becoming a baseball star and playing for his favorite team. In this case, dreams do come true. The Mets acquired him for his home run hitting abilities, but he was later traded. Although a major league star, he has never forgotten his Bronx origins, and returns home often to work with youngsters. He attended Herbert Lehman High School, at Westchester Square.
As the Puerto Rican population kept increasing in The Bronx, they began to expand into fields of government. Herman Badillo (grey suit), was elected Bronx Borough president in 1964, making him the first of Puerto Rican descent. Later on, he also became the first Congressman of Puerto Rican origin in the history of the our nation. Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Badillo was a holder of college degrees in accounting and law.
As the first Puerto Rican Democratic County Leader in New York State, Roberto Ramirez became a strong force in Bronx politics later on.
As Puerto Ricans became more involved with politics, sports, community and all other aspects of Bronx life, generations of Puerto Ricans continued to take root in.
Young Bronx Latinos and African-Americans began to co-exist in The South Bronx. This pictures shows the waiting line outside of the RKO Franklin on Prospect Avenue for a Special Christmas show sponsored by Hollywood Clothes. The store was owned by a well-known local business man named Elias Karmon who was a strong advocate for African-Americans and Puerto Ricans in the Longwood, Prospect and Westchester Avenue areas.
Puerto Ricans also began to enlist in the U.S. military in large numbers, starting with the Korean War in the early 1950s. This photo shows Raymond Medina, a former prison of war during that conflict and local resident of Prospect Avenue, receiving a proclamation from then Bronx Borough President James Lyons. Elias Karmon is standing in the background.
Starting in the 1940s, and 1950s, the Puerto Rican Theatre on 138th Street featured live performances by such stars as Tito Rodriguez and his Marimba Band, the Mexican comedian Cantinflas and the Argentine singer Libertad la Marque. Even world famous Jose Feliciano got his first break at the theatre in 1954 at the age of nine. Formerly known as The Forum Theatre, it’s name was later changed in 1948 to better suit the rapid change in the area, the theatre soon became a center of Latin American culture in The Bronx. Puerto Rican communities in the South Bronx began to grow in large number by the late 1940s. Mambo was the major sound in New York City, being brought from communities like “El Barrio” where Puerto Ricans and Cubans began to appear in the 1920s. The Mambo musical form, over the years, began to evolve into forms such as”The Cha-cha-cha”, “Pachanga”, “Latin Bugaloo” and then to “Salsa”. However, up until the 1950s, Mambo was still a popular sound that can be heard from other festivals of different ethnic groups ranging from Italians to Jews. A list of other Latin music legends who lived in The Bronx were “The Mambo Kings Tito Puente, Machito, and Tito Rodr iu ez. As well as Arsenio Rodr iu ez, Charlie and Eddie Palmieri, Orlando Mar in, Manny Oquendo, Ray Barretto, Barry Rogers, Johnny Pacheco, Joe Loco, Joe Quijano, Willie Col on, and H ect or Lavoe. The photo insert shows The Lecuona Cuban Boys , which was a popular Cuban orchestra that toured the world for over forty years. They were formed by Cuban- born Ernesto Lecuona in 1931, who did not actually play with the band, but sometimes gave a piano recital right before the performance. They played various forms of Cuban rhythms, but their specialty was the Congas.
By the 1960s, The Bronx became a seedbed of Salsa Music. More places opened for bands to play the new sounds. One example was the second floor of the Spooner theatre, located on Southern Boulevard in Hunts Point. Although the theatre itself dates back to the 1920s, the Tritons after-hours club was opened in 1960 where Salsa greats. The Hunts Point Palace was also a famous venue for Latin musicians. The flyer below shows a 1963 event that featured some greats who were residents of The Bronx at one time.
Bronx Born Willie Colon, who’s parents where also born in New York City. Willie Colon is an excellent trombone player who has played along side and produced songs for Salsa music’s greatest artists. Colon later became involved with politics and community service. However, he is still very active in music, just making a world wide hit early this year with Colombian music star Fonseca.
Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez was a percussionist who started playing bongos at the age of five. After working with local groups in Ponce, Puerto Rico, he moved to The Bronx during the 1950s. While singing and playing the congas in a Bronx bar, he was spotted by legendary bandleader Johnny Pacheco .His first album was titled Suavito, which was released in 1963. Just a year later in 1964, Pacheco and his lawyer Jerry Masucci, founded The Fania All-Stars , a combination of the best Latin singers and musicians at that time.
The Loew’s Boulevard Theater was a major venue for Latin musicians. One memorable evening in 1964, a young Cuban singer named Guadalupe Victoria Yol i Raymond, better known to us as “La Lupe” made her first debut with Tito Puente and His Orchestra. It was the very first time that her most famous bolero "Qu e Te Ped i " was heard in public. The bolero later earned her a gold record for selling over 500,000 copies. The bolero was recorded as a duet with Tito Puente. La Lupe spent her last year in the South Bronx, directly across from the church, on St. Ann’s Avenue and 140th Street. Today, the street sign commemorates her legacy, and it was named “La Lupe Way.”
Hostos Community College, originally located in an abandoned warehouse on the Grand Concourse just south of 149th Street, was created 1968 in response to the demands of Puerto Rican and other Hispanic leaders who urged the establishment of a college to meet the needs of the South Bronx. In September 1970, Hostos admitted its first class. Enrollment grew rapidly to more than 2,000 students by June of 1974. Soon after, the college r apidly expanded with new buildings. Named after Eugenio Maria de Hostos, a prominent Puerto Rican educator, the new community college offered bilingual education in the health fields. As it grew, and immigrants from so many varied backgrounds made The Bronx their home, Hostos Community College began to teach classes in varied languages, and to offer courses in other professional fields.
According to the college’s website: “The Allied Health Science Department's mission is to provide educational opportunities leading to socioeconomic mobility for students from diverse ethnic, racial, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, particularly Hispanics, and African Americans. Their programs serve as a resource for the promotion of health and wellness for the population of the South Bronx and surrounding communities. All programs within the Department of Allied Health strive to promote professional values and ethics resulting in a commitment to life-long learning.”
As Latino culture in the performing arts became more common place, certain theatre companies were created to offer programs and opportunities. The Pregones theatre began in the South Bronx in 1979. It presented plays in both Spanish and English, and became a showcase for young talent and playwrights. They offer a great educational curriculum in theatre consisting of performance workshops, public dialogues, mentorship, internships, technical training, and volunteer opportunities. With the theatre just turning 30 years in operation, The Pregones theatre is getting a brand new addition to their current building on Walton Avenue, just north of 149th Street. The main goal is to keep servicing not only the Latino community, but the South Bronx community in general.
In the late 1960s, through the 1970s, the South Bronx structural landscape began to deteriorate. This was highly due to tenants leaving their apartments without pay, leaving the landlords with debt. Other landlords would pocket the money that was intended to do repairs or pay property taxes. They would take out insurance on the building and they would hire drug addicts to set fire to the buildings in order to collect the insurance claim. At the same time, drug abuse was high and the crime rate increased with it. The Latino community was devastated because of the drug use, crime rate, and later, the A.I.D.S. epidemic. Nevertheless, Latinos found ways to maneuver through the tough times.
Many kept their spirits up. This early 1970s photos shows a summer block party on Davidson Avenue near Jerome Avenue, an area hit hard by devastation. However, young Latino and African Americans found ways to bypass the societal pressures by partaking in outdoor festivities. Although there wasn’t many recreational centers for youths as there are today, children made the best out of it. In the background, the Davidson Community Center continues to service young Bronxites today, however, in a new location nearby.
Young Latino men continued to have aspirations throughout the tough years in The Bronx. Even when the high school graduation rates were very low in the borough, Latinos continued to attend colleges like Hostos Community College and Lehman College. For many Latino men, sports was the ideal pastime to alleviate the stress dealing with societal problems.
With the introduction of Hip Hop in The Bronx, young Bronx Latinos took part in the new musical culture with break-dancing, rapping, and graffiti. Although Hip Hop was originally introduced by African-Americans in The Bronx, neighboring young Puerto Ricans began to embrace the genre as well. Here, we have two Puerto Rican B-Boys, getting ready to show us some moves.
In this photo taken in 1986 at a festival in Los Angeles, Bronx born Latino Mr. Wiggles of The Rock Steady Crew shows those in the west coast how to rock.
Graffiti has been a form of writing for thousands of years. Today, you will find ancient graffiti in Egypt’s great pyramids. In The Bronx, graffiti was frowned upon as it was used to deface and destroy public property. After a while, some graffiti artist started transforming their work into modern pieces of art. One famous Latino graffiti crew is T.A.T.S crew. During the period when graffiti covered building walls and subway cars, a number of art admirers realized that some graffiti writers had true artistic talent in their use of color and design. The admirers reasoned, if their efforts were turned to more socially acceptable forms of expression, their graffiti art would be welcomed. The members of Tats Cru used their talents to decorate walls with creative advertising or artwork, paid for, and with the permission of, each property owner. Today, the art done by Tats Cru has inspired graffiti artist all over the world.
Cubans are less in numbers in The Bronx than a place like Miami, Florida. However, The Bronx is still home to a good handful of Cubanos. Many Cubans share a lot in common with Puerto Ricans and sometimes there may be confusion between the two cultures. One thing is for sure, Cubans, along with other Latino groups, all find The Bronx as a place to feel comfortable. With so much ethnic diversity in the borough, there’s definitely no room for cultural segregation or alienation.
From the Spanish-speaking West Indian islands, the largest and fastest growing group in The Bronx came from the Dominican Republic. They first found living quarters in the western edges of The Bronx, and became neighbors to fellow Spanish speaking Puerto Ricans. There are historic account of Dominicans living in New York City in the late 1930s, but it was not until after the 1960s that Dominicans started coming to the U.S. in major droves, even today. Dominicans are the second largest Latino group in The Bronx today. As you take a stroll through neighborhoods, you will notice those bodegas which were own by Puerto Ricans for many years are now run by Dominicans. Not only bodegas, Dominicans have a strong hand in other businesses like travel, hair styling for men and women, community based businesses like free law consultations and childcare. Just the way Puerto Ricans came to The Bronx and started their climb up the socio-economic ladder, Dominicans are following the same footsteps in Bronx politics and life.
By the end of the 1990s, the largest growing ethnic group was the Mexicans. They replaced many Puerto Ricans in Mott Haven, but also spread out to Belmont, Bedford Park, Norwood, and other Bronx neighborhoods. Although Mexicans have lived in the western part of the nation for hundreds of years, it was the 1980s that brought many of them across the country to settle in places like The Bronx. Just like all other previous ethnic groups who’ve arrived in The Bronx, Mexicans came to this borough for job opportunities and prosperity. Today, Mexicans consist of almost a quarter of the workforce in The Bronx. Those who came in earlier times have established their own businesses, like this Mexican bodega on Bainbridge Avenue, just south of 210th Street. Establishments like there are very important when catering to a Latino groups who’s numbers continue to grow year by year.
Also in the 1980s, a few immigrants arrived from the South American continent. They can sometimes be identified by a flag they might place in their apartment house windows to assert their identity in a sea of Puerto Rican neighbors. In this way, residents originally from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, and Argentina can be spotted. From Central America, there has been a large migration of Hondurans who congregated in the Tremont area. There were also Panamanians, Nicaraguans, and Guatemalans who arrived.
Aventura is a Dominican-American bachata music group. The band was originally formed in 1994 in The Bronx,with members Anthony Santos, Lenny Santos, Max Santos, and Henry Santos Jeter. Self-taught and determined to break into the music industry, Aventura made their big break in 1999, with the hopes of breaking Dominican bachata music out from its traditional base and fuse it with modern popular sounds like hip hop and R&B. Christopher Carlos Rios, better known by his stage name Big Pun , was a Puerto Rican rapper who emerged from the underground rap scene in The Bronx in the late 1990s. He first appeared on albums from The Beatnuts, on the track "Off the Books" in 1997, and on Fat Joe's second album Jealous One's Envy in 1995, on the track "Watch Out", prior to signing to Loud Records as a solo artist. Big Pun's career was cut short in 2000 at age 28 when he died of a heart attack. The full-length debut Capital Punishment followed in 1998, and became the first album by a solo Latino rapper to go platinum, peaking at #5 on the Billboard 200. Sonia Maria Sotomayor is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice. Sotomayor was raised with Puerto Ricans who settled in the South Bronx and East Bronx; she self-identifies as a "Nuyorican". At first, she lived in a South Bronx tenement. In 1957, the family moved to the well-maintained, racially and ethnically mixed, working-class Bronxdale Houses housing project in Soundview (which has at times been considered part of both the East Bronx and South Bronx). Her relative proximity to Yankee Stadium led to her becoming a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees. Jennifer Lopez was born and grew up in Castle Hill, a neighborhood in the Bronx, New York. Jennifer Lynn Lopez, often nicknamed J.Lo, is an American actress, singer, record producer, dancer, fashion designer and television producer. She is the richest person of Latin American descent in Hollywood according to Forbes, and the most influential Hispanic entertainer in the U.S. according to People en Espanol's list of "100 Most Influential Hispanics". She parlayed her media fame into a fashion line and various perfumes with her celebrity endorsement. Outside of her work in the entertainment industry, Lopez advocates human rights, vaccinations and is a supporter of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.Lopez began her career as a dancer on the television comedy program In Living Color. Joseph Cartagena (August 19, 1970), better known by his stage name Fat Joe, is an American rapper, CEO of Terror Squad Entertainment, and member of musical groups D.I.T.C. and Terror Squad. Fat Joe is of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent.Born in The Bronx, he grew up in a family that was on welfare. By 1996, he weighed 300 pounds. In 2005, Stuff magazine and ContactMusic.com profiled Fat Joe's weight loss efforts. Anthony D. Romero is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation's premier defender of liberty and individual freedom. Born in New York City to parents who hailed from Puerto Rico, Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs. He is a member of the New York Bar Association and has sat on numerous nonprofit boards. Justice Luis A. Gonzalez serves as Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department. Justice Gonzalez, who is the first Latino to be appointed to this position, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Mennonite University in 1968 and his Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law in 1975. Bobby Sanabria, the son of Puerto Rican parents, was born and raised in the South Bronx. Inspired and encouraged by maestro Tito Puente, another fellow New York-born Puerto Rican, Bobby later become a leader in the Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and jazz fields as both a drummer and percussionist, and is recognized as one of the most articulate musician-scholars of la tradición living today. He has been featured on numerous Grammy-nominated albums, including The Mambo Kings and other movie soundtracks, as well as numerous television and radio work. Judy Reyes (born November 5, 1967 in the Bronx, New York) is an American actress of Dominican heritage. She is best known for her portrayal of nurse Carla Espinosa on the TV comedy Scrubs. A native of The Bronx, Reyes has five sisters including a twin sister named Joselin, who played a paramedic on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She is the cousin of pop and R&B singer, model, and actor Viancey. Hector Lavoe was a Puerto Rican salsa singer. Lavoe was born and raised in the Machuelito sector of Ponce, Puerto Rico. He moved to New York City when he was 17 years old. On his first week living in the city, he worked as the vocalist of a sextet formed by Roberto Garca. During this period, he performed with several other groups, including Orquesta New York, Kako All-Stars, and the Johnny Pacheco band. Hector was disappointed in the condition of El Barrio which contrasted with his vision of "fancy Cadillacs, tall marble skyscrapers and tree-lined streets." Hector stayed at his sister's apartment in The Bronx, instead. George Perez is an American writer and illustrator of comic books, known for his work on various titles, including Teen Titan and Wonder Woman. Pérez's family moved from Caguas, Puerto Rico in the 1940s and settled in the Bronx, where there was and continues to be a large Puerto Rican community. His parents became factory workers. Pérez started drawing at the age of five. Eventually, his family moved to Flushing, Queens, New York where George often visited a comic book store called Mike's Comic Hut. He became fascinated with comic books and their illustrations.
Among counties with a 2007 population of more than 500,000 people, Hispanic-owned businesses comprised 68.7 percent of all businesses in Hidalgo, Texas, the highest in the nation, followed by El Paso, Texas (61.4 percent), Miami-Dade, Fla. (60.5 percent), Bronx, N.Y. (37.6 percent) and Bexar, Texas (37.3 percent). http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/economic_census/cb10-107.html
A combination of the new immigration and the increase in the available housing stock resulted in a population count of 1,203,789 in 1990. That means The Bronx attracted 34,817 people in one decade, for an increase of 2.9 percent. Ten years later, in 2000, the borough’s population rose to 1,332,650, or an additional 128,861 people, for an increase of 10.7 percent in the decade of the 1990s. Thus, the number of residents in The Bronx grew by 163,678, or by 14 percent, in the two decades since the arson fires ceased. Not only is the population of The Bronx larger but it is more diverse. Puerto Ricans no longer form the only Spanish speaking group, and American-born blacks in the borough do not share the same ethnic heritage with the African-born residents, and each of them had a different set of experiences from the West Indians. Despite the tendency of demographers to categorize people by large ethnic descriptions, such as black or Hispanic, in reality there are many black, and there are many Hispanic, ethnic groups in The Bronx. Similarly, the Greeks, Irish, and Jews from the former Soviet Union have their differences. This is also true of Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. There was no ethnic majority group living in The Bronx at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Bx latino history
The Bronx County Historical SocietyThe Bronx County Historical Society
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The Bronx, New York 10467
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Edgar Allan Poe Cottage c. 1812 Valentine-Varian House c. 1758
2007 Hispanic Owned Businesses2007 Hispanic Owned Businesses
in the U.S.in the U.S.
Hidalgo, TexasHidalgo, Texas 68.7%68.7%
El Paso, TexasEl Paso, Texas 61.4%61.4%
Miami-Dade, FloridaMiami-Dade, Florida 60.5%60.5%
The Bronx, New YorkThe Bronx, New York 37.6%37.6%
Bexar, TexasBexar, Texas 37.3%37.3%
Bronx County, New York
2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates
Total PopulationTotal Population 1,382,7931,382,793
Not Hispanic or LatinoNot Hispanic or Latino 673,467673,467
Hispanic or LatinoHispanic or Latino 709,326709,326
Puerto Rican 319,427Puerto Rican 319,427
Dominican (Dominican Republic) 224,542Dominican (Dominican Republic) 224,542
THE ENDTHE END
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