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Rincon Criollo Casita

About this listing

The oldest and largest casita in New York

Place Details

Borough : Bronx
Neighborhood : Melrose
Institution, Gathering Place

Place Matters Profile

Casitas are small houses surrounded by gardens created to recall the look and feel of the Puerto Rican countryside. One of the city's oldest and largest, Casita Rincón Criollo, currently occupies its second city-owned site in the Melrose neighborhood of the South Bronx. Also known as “La Casita de Chema” after founder José Manuel “Chema” Soto, or simply “La Casita,” Rincón Criollo was built in the late 1970s, when Soto and his neighbors reclaimed an abandoned, garbage-filled lot on the corner of 158th Street and Brook Avenue. One day Soto had had enough of the sights of destruction that daily greeted him in his neighborhood, known more than any other part of the city for its scope of devastation in the 1960s and 1970s. Choosing a vacant lot he passed regularly with his daughter, he plunged in and began clearing debris. Other residents joined him, and soon around fifty people...

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On The Web

New York Latino Journal "Rincón Criollo: More Than Just a Little House in the Bronx"


Anonymous Nominator

New York City's oldest "casita," little houses surrounded by gardens reminiscent of the Puerto Rican countryside, was reclaimed in the late 1970s as a site for neighbors to gather, garden, hold community events and pass down musical and cultural traditions.

Jose Manuel "Chema" Soto

Nominator submitted place name to the Census of Places that Matter.

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