Staycation Guides: Hispanic Heritage Month

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As New York City moves along the road to recovery, more shops, restaurants, attractions and hotels—at limited capacity, with new health and safety protocols in place—are opening up. Locals and visitors can help support them, and in doing so remind themselves what makes NYC the most exciting destination in the world. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, we're highlighting ways to explore Hispanic and Latino neighborhoods, restaurants and cultural sites in the five boroughs—in recognition of the many contributions the community has made to the City's past and present. Wherever in the borough you may decide to go, make sure to follow the guidelines from the Stay Well NYC Pledge and check each individual business’ own rules.

East Harlem ("El Barrio")

Located above 96th Street in northeastern Manhattan, East Harlem was home to the borough's first Little Italy. After the First World War, a new wave of émigrés from Puerto Rico settled in the neighborhood and Italian Harlem gradually became the neighborhood known as "El Barrio."

El Museo del Barrio. Photo: Molly Flores

Things to do

El Museo del Barrio anchors the upper end of Manhattan's Museum Mile. Its collection specializes in Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American art, including current exhibit Taller Boricua: A Political Print Shop in New York. The museum is open on weekends, with reserved timed tickets.

Across the street at theMuseum of the City of New York, exhibits on view include Activist New York, which explores social activism in NYC, and Who We Are, marking the 2020 census. The museum is open Thursday to Monday; entry is by timed tickets.

Where to eat

Amor Cubano offers authentic Cuban dishes such as vaca frita and ropa vieja. Try a mojito alongside your meal.

Washington Heights

North of Manhattan’s Harlem is Washington Heights, also known as “Little Dominican Republic.” This area is home to one of the City’s most fascinating attractions, The Met Cloisters, which houses medieval art among awe-inspiring Hudson River vistas.

Courtesy, Morris-Jumel Mansion

Things to do

Located in Fort Tryon Park, The Met Cloisters is made up of relocated Romanesque abbeys, with a collection dedicated to art and treasures from the Middle Ages. The museum is open Thursday to Monday, with entry by timed ticket or reservation.

When Roger Morris and his wife, Mary Philipse Morris, built Morris-Jumel Mansion in northern Manhattan in 1765, it was as a country retreat. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington transformed the aerie into a headquarters; it was later used as an inn, and then again as a rural residence. Each room of the museum recreates a different phase of this history. Guests are encouraged to reserve self-guided tours and tours of the mansion and grounds in advance. More information can be found here.

The Hispanic Society Museum & Library recently debuted the free public art installation Treasures on the Terrace: Highlights from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, at Audubon Terrace. Drawing on the museum’s world-renowned collection, large-scale photographic reproductions feature 19 works from Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Peru.

Where to eat

El Floridita has been serving up a fusion of traditional Cuban and Dominican flavors for more than two decades. Another neighborhood option is Caridad Restaurant, which was a favorite of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s grandmother.

Jackson Heights

Around 60 percent of this Queens neighborhood's residents were born outside the United States, bringing cuisine and culture from Latin America and elsewhere. Jackson Heights is also home to one of New York City’s largest LGBTQ+ communities.

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Things to do

Admire architectural masterpieces, including The Chateau and The Towers, both on 80th Street.

Arepa Lady. Photo: Alexander Thompson

Where to eat

Try Colombian specialty sancocho (a beefy dish with a rich broth, potatoes, green plantains and yuca) at Los Arrieros Restaurant. There’s also the locally famous Arepa Lady, serving up grilled corn cakes that encase cheese, pork and more.

Courtesy, Innside by Melia

Where to Stay

AC Hotels by Marriott
AC Hotels, founded by Antonio Catalan, celebrates classic modern design at its Times Square and Lower Manhattan properties.

Innside by Melia New York NoMad
The Melia hotel chain originated in Spain's Mallorca, and Innside made a name for itself in Germany as a pioneer of lifestyle hotels. The brand’s NoMad hotel is expected to reopen in early October.

More Cultural Experiences and Tours

The Whitney Museum of American Art's Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945showcases nearly 200 works by more than 60 Mexican and American artists. The exhibit explores the impact Mexican muralists such as José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros had on their counterparts in the US. Advance tickets are required.

Consider a Spanish-language guided tour to explore and learn more about neighborhoods and sites across the City. Join guides on socially-distanced private tours of the five boroughs by booking through companies including CITYORK,See USA Tours and Volatour.

Virtual Events

The New York Botanical Garden has reimagined its annual Fiesta de Flores event with at-home digital programs in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The program highlights the vibrant cultural traditions and fascinating botanical heritage of the plants and people of Latin America and the Caribbean region through musical performances, recipes and more.

For its 50th anniversary, Ballet Hispánicois honoring Latinx cultures with salsa steps, favorite family recipes and other virtual programming.

The East Village’s Nuyorican Poets Cafe, which takes its name from a term that represents a fusion between the cultures of New York City and Puerto Rico, was founded by poets Miguel Algarin, Miguel Pinero and Pedro Pietri, who believed that art could reinforce social and political justice. The café currently offers free, virtual writing workshops.


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