A short guide to taino cultural institutions
La Fortaleza is growing!
coming soon: Connecticut, Buffalo, Rochester, Philadelphia, florida
El Taller Boricua
At the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, 1680 Lexington Ave (at 106th)
A longtime staple of the arts community in El Barrio, this gallery honors both contemporary art and a more traditional aesthetic. Read an interview with co-founder and artistic director Marcos Dimas.
El Museo Del Barrio
1230 5th Avenue (at 104th)
A major neighborhood institution and supporter of local artists, El Museo often features exhibits relevant to El Barrio's rich cultural past and present.
Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Ave (at 103rd St)
Although the MCNY encompasses the entire city in the scope of its exhibits, its location gives it a special connection with East Harlem, as evidenced in its "I'm a Neighbor" program:
"If you live or work in East Harlem above 103rd Street, visit the Museum free of charge. Mention “I’m a neighbor,” and the suggested admission charge will be waived. Employees may be asked to show ID."
The National Black Theatre
2031 5th Avenue (at 125th St)
Committed to building an environment that encourages "dignity, respect, and self-love", the NBT is a new theatre in a neighborhood where many residents have pushed for more venues for the performing arts.
National Jazz Museum in Harlem
104 E. 126th St (at Park Ave)
This museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the neighborhood's illustrious jazz history.
Manna House Workshops
338 E. 106th St (at 1st Ave)
Gloria DeNard, founder
Founded in 1967, Manna House is East Harlem's oldest performing arts center. Read interviews with founder Gloria DeNard and Carlos Prescod, Assistant Director.
The Poet's Den
309 East 108th St, Suite 1R
Raphael Benavides, director
Nestled on a quiet street, the Poet's Den hosts a number of artistic events ranging from poetry readings to dance performances. Read an interview with director Raphael Benavides here.
134 E. 104th St (at Lexington)
Owner: Jorge Vargas
"I've seen four generations in this neighborhood", says owner Jorge Vargas. His shop, Justo, is a local fixture where all sorts of old-time remedies can be found on the shelves. Asked to sum up his products, Jorge says simply: "I sell hope."
176 E 106th St, 3rd floor
This gallery is owned and operated by the artist and longtime Harlem resident TAFA.
Opus 118 Harlem School of Music
103 E. 125th St #7 (at Park Ave)
Provides quality musical instruction for children as a way to expand their horizons, awaken creativity, and promote peace.
Media Noche Gallery
1355 Park Ave (at 102nd)
Judith Escalona, director
A site for contemporary and cutting-edge art. Director Judith Escalona says that her approach is about "blending the local with the international."
Stickball Community Gallery
230 E. 123rd St (b/w 2nd and 3rd Aves)
Carlos Diaz, founder
Small and relatively new to the neighborhood, this gallery is packed with reminders of El Barrio's cultural heritage. Says owner Carlos Diaz: "Stickball is alive and thriving, [but] some kids today don't even know it exists. I want to change that mindset."
Raíces Latin Music Museum
Ramon Rodriguez, Executive Director
Previously housed at the Harbor Conservatory on 104th St, this museum is in the process of finding a new permanent home. Its collection of Latin music, especially salsa, is the largest and most diverse in the country.
Choir Academy of Harlem
2005 Madison Avenue (at 127th)
Provides musical and choral training for neighborhood youth, grades 6-12.
323C East 108th St
Jonathan Chanduvi, owner
Currently featuring art by Gabriel Castelan. Visits by appointment only.
Our Buffalo Connection:
El Batey Puerto Rican Center
175 Rano Street, Buffalo, NY 14207
Offers cultural dance and percussion classes for both kids and adults; rich history and connection of their African & indigenous descent through these cultural expressions called Bomba and Plena. Students are empowered by a strong connection to Puerto Rico's rich traditions and history.