ABOUT: “People come into a place like this and they just want to talk to you… about a book they've read, or an author they love,” says Aurora Anaya-Cerda, owner of La Casa Azul Bookstore. One of East Harlem’s newest gems, La Casa Azul comes replete with outdoor garden, small stage, basement gallery, and a nifty countertop that serves both as kitchen and checkout counter. The name is a nod to Frida Kahlo's home in Mexico, and also an indication of Anaya-Cerda's larger mission: to provide the community with books that both promote and preserve Latino culture. With a Manny Vega mural outside, hot café brewing inside, and a full schedule of arts events in the evenings, La Casa Azul has effortlessly become the place that Anaya-Cerda intended it to be all along: a "place where people share their stories" and a "home for the literary arts" in El Barrio.
COMMUNITY VISIONS: Anaya-Cerda is interested in creating more opportunities for the families and the youth of the neighborhood; “being an educator, [I think] it’s important for art to be shown to children." She also hopes to see-- or, true to her entrepreneurial spirit, set up-- a professional network for local artists and business owners interested in the ar