An Italian neighborhood during the 1800s and early 1900s, East Harlem—now known as "El Barrio"—welcomed a wave of Puerto Rican emigrants beginning in the 1920s. You can see the influence of the “Nuyorican” community (New York plus Puerto Rican) in cultural institutions like El Museo del Barrio, which focuses on Latin American and Caribbean artists. There are also a slew of Cuban, Mexican and Spanish restaurants in the neighborhood. Vestiges of the Italian era remain, evidenced in longtime establishments like the always-booked Rao’s and the decidedly old-school Patsy’s pizzeria—a former hangout of Yankee Joe DiMaggio.
East Harlem, known as "El Barrio," is home to vibrant arts and culture.
See some of our favorite snapshots from the MCNY show.
Explore the roots of New York City’s street art on this 2-hour guided walking tour through East Harlem. See stencils, larger-than-life murals and other examples of the region’s vibrant and creative outdoor art scene. Learn about street art as expression, rebellion and therapy and what it says about the artists and community from your knowledgeable guide, a professional artist. See iconic landmarks and underground cultural spots on this fascinating foray into New York’s street culture.
About El Museo del Barrio: El Museo del Barrio—located on Fifth Avenue's Museum Mile in East Harlem—specializes in Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American art, the only museum in New York City with these cultures at its core. While you're in the neighborhood: If you're in the mood to visit a restaurant whose menu features nearly every imaginable traditional Italian dish, simply walk north on Fifth Avenue until you reach Gran Piatto d'Oro. The typical flavors of El Barrio (Spanish Harlem), though, are Latin ones—and they can be found throughout the area.
Hosts programs that celebrate the diverse cultures of the African Disapora.
The Poet’s Den Gallery and Theater hosts art and photo exhibitions, film screenings, concerts, dance performances and dramatic productions—both original works and classics by the likes of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde.
Stickball—a baseball variation specially developed to be played in busy urban areas that lacked parks and fields—flourished in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, thriving among the City's many immigrant communities.
Part old-school bakery, part modern-day coffee shop, Aromas whips up a wide array of freshly baked goods each day—including both traditional and gluten-free cookies and brownies, cupcakes, muffins, biscuits, sticky buns, croissants, cannoli, custom cakes for special occasions and seasonal holiday snacks like pumpkin cake and caramelized apple bread pudding.
This family-owned and -operated Latin music emporium is one of the City's hidden cultural gems, stocked with a comprehensive selection of popular and hard-to-find recordings of salsa, bachata and meringue music on CD and vintage vinyl—as well as live performance DVDs of stars like Tito Puente and Edwin Colon Zayas, collectibles and Latin instruments like congos, djembes and classical Spanish guitars.