Downtown Archæologies

The New Rican Village

by Tabitha

Dancers @ The New Rican Village
The New Rican Village
Related Nodes

tompkinsSquarePark  pyramidClub  performanceArt 


In what is now the location of the Pyramid Club, The New Rican Village was a cultural arts center located on 101 Avenue A between 6th and 7th streets. A center where Puerto Ricans and Latinos can express the Afro-Latino arts. As illustrated in the artifacts, the New Rican Village was a forum for Puerto Rican dance, music, theater, visual arts and poetry. It predominantly established the Puerto Rican Arts. Founder of The New Rican Village, Eddie Figueroa who was a member of the Young Lords, established this cultural arts institution to reflect the aesthetic of Puerto Rican roots with a twist of avant-garde. Establishments were important because they set a foundation for centers like The New Rican Village that centers around Nuyorican Arts.

It started with one of the Young Lords Party announcements at Tompkins Square Park in 1969. To highlight activism by the Young Lords within the context of the Lower East Side. In an interview Eddie, just before his passing in 1990, elaborated on why the Lower East Side was ideal for an inter-arts institution like the New Rican Village, “There was all this energy down on the Lower East Side and so I opened up the New Rican Village there. We brought together all of the arts, with philosophy, a belief system, a dream vision, all of these things together without a business perspective–that’s what allowed the shit to fly, cause it was so fuckin’ loose. You could come in and create whatever it is that you wanted to do man.” Many known names in New York Puerto Rican communities, like Pedro Pietri, Miriam Colon Jerry Gonzalez, and Sandra Maria Estevez were able to headline and showcase their work at the New Rican Village. Figueroa’s intentions were to fuse the old traditional Puerto Rican roots with the new culture of Puerto Ricans in New York City.

The NRV was open from 1976 to 1979, but continued to open in other locations. Figueroa’s bad business decisions resulted in the lack of funds for The New Rican Village. After a successful run of about four years, Figueroa gave up the space, but refused to sell any interest of his ventures to any outside investors. He then continued the ultimate goal of the New Rican Village, “A Puerto Rican Renaissance” in other venues.