Posted on February 24th,2014
by Bohemia Agent Andrianna Kourdi
Although I have been living in New York City since 1996 I am not a native New Yorker. I immigrated from Greece to study ballroom and latin dance. When I was looking for a place to call home, I chose Astoria for obvious reasons. I was also advised by several New Yorkers not to live or walk around above 100th street in Manhattan – an area which I now work and walk around happily everyday.
As I furthered my studies and my career as a professional ballroom/latin dancer and teacher, I was exposed to the now very popular dance called salsa. Salsa is fun, sexy, fast and very soulful. I fell in love with it and most importantly I fell in love with salsa music. I have a collection of 5000 songs and I listen to salsa music almost every day.
Now, if you ask someone where salsa music originated they will most likely say it was born in Cuba or Puerto Rico. To everyone's surprise, salsa music was actually born in NYC in the 1970's. To be more specific, it was born in Spanish Harlem or "El Barrio " above 100th street by Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians. It was their way to feel connected to their islands by playing music. This type of nostalgia is something only an immigrant can feel. I feel very proud and humble showing homes in Harlem where Latin music history was made by immigrants like myself.
Please check out the http://www.elmuseo.org where Puerto Rican/Latin American art and culture is presented and preserved.