The Bronx: Latinland USA, a Tiki Tiki Guide
This essay is part of Latinland USA: A Tiki Tiki Guide, a Hispanic Heritage Month series of city guides.
The Bronx Latin Experience
The Bronx is often stigmatized; many believe it’s a borough of burned down buildings, poverty and despair. But there is a beauty if you are willing to take the time to look, in its people, its history and especially in its revitalization.
For me, The Bronx truly represents Latinos in their pride and resilience. As a Bronx resident for more than 10 years, I’ve come to think of it as my home, more so than Queens, the borough where I grew up.
The Bronx is a borough that celebrates Hispanic Heritage all year long. And in a way, Howard Cosell’s infamous words still ring true: The Bronx is Burning – with passion, inspiration and sabor!
Come see for yourself – Experience and Explore The Bronx.
The Arts at Lehman Center
The Arts at Lehman Center is comprised of the: Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Lehman College Art Gallery, Lehman Stages, Music at Lehman as well as other art events and programs.
From your favorite Freestyle artists to the Kings of Salsa to Tango Buenos Aires – As the borough’s premiere concert hall, there is something for everyone at The Lehman Center for the Performing Arts.
Now through January 6, 2012, the Lehman College Art Gallery is featuring El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files 2011. The exhibit hosts “the most innovative, art created by Latino Caribbean American artists currently working in the greater New York area.”
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Within walking distance of Yankee Stadium, The Bronx Museum of the Arts “is a contemporary art museum that connects diverse audiences to the urban experience.” The Museum really involves the community and provides family programs, a teen council and teacher resources.
Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education
The Center empowers youth and their families by creating a culture of learning through high quality social, cultural, and educational opportunities. The Casita Art Gallery exhibits works by the Scholostic Art Awards winning students and the Casita Presents boats a 375 theater to provide Bronx residents with the opportunity to attend cultural events. Some “Casita Kids” include Tito Puente, Rita Morena and Tina Ramirez (founder of Ballet Hispanico).
En Foco is a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing and supporting photographers of diverse cultures, primarily, those of African, Asian, Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander heritage. The organization also provides workshops to assist photographers in developing their craft. Its touring gallery program hosts temporary exhibits in public libraries, universities, banks and other community spaces.
La Cocina Boricua
Located on Westchester Avenue, off of Castle Hill, La Cocina Boricua is a quaint restaurant that offers traditional Puerto Rican cuisine with a sophisticated flair. Don’t be intimidated by the chic décor, La Concina Boricua is an affordable family friendly restaurant.
The Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos
Enrramá is a multimedia exhibit (Oct 5 – Nov 2, 2011) celebrating Afro-Dominican culture along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. The installation will feature photography, videos, musical instruments and crafts.
Bronxites refer to it as the Bronx Riviera. Orchard Beach is always alive with Salsa – on any given day you will hear groups of men and woman, playing instruments, listening to music, singing, laughing, reminiscing about the good old days. I personally enjoy the beach most on a cool fall afternoon. Strolling along the beach, digging my feet in the sand, listening to the water. And in the distance, I can hear the scratch of a guido and the faint brush of a palm against a drum.
Founded in 1979, The Pregones Theater is a “Bronx-based ensemble whose mission is to create and perform original musical theater and plays rooted in Puerto Rican/Latino cultures.” Set to debut in mid-October, Fly-Babies Piojos is a new musical comedy that will make you “Itch. Scratch. Laugh.”
Nestled in the Parkchester section of the Bronx, the family-owned and operated Taqueria Tlaxcalli is where you will find authentic Mexican cuisine. On nights when I don’t feel like cooking, this is my go to take out spot. But it’s a great night out with friends, family or a first date.
Lisa Quinones-Fontanez is a secretary by day, MFA Creative Writing CCNY student/blogger by night and Mommy round the clock. Lisa also is the author of AutismWonderland. Her writing has been featured in Pot Luck Magazine, Being Latino and BronxMama.