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The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center (The Clemente)

About this listing

Puerto Rican/Latino cultural advocacy institution focused 

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Lower East Side
Institution, Arts and Entertainment, Caribbean/ American, Performance

Place Matters Profile

Written by Janelle Velez

The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center is a beacon for all age groups that attracts them to take part in the rich artistic and social diversity of their neighborhood. Located on Suffolk Street in the Lower East Side, the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center is a Neo-Gothic building originally known as P.S. 160, one of the many public schools designed by the architect Charles B. J. Snyder. Known as “building that never sleeps” because it is open seven days a week, this cultural center celebrates Puerto Rican culture, showcases the work of talented artists, and provides functional spaces. Whether it is a hall to dance in or a studio to paint in, artists are enabled to createdisplay, perform, and thrive in this cultural center.

Over the course of more than 100 years, the physical establishment has gone through various phases. First it was a...

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“The Clemente”, accessed on November 22, 2017,

Corretjer, Juan Antonio y Clemente Soto Velez, “Nacionalismo Puertorriqueño”, accessed November 22, 2017

Joy, Badillo Emilia, “The Sugar Industry of Puerto Rico”, accessed November 22, 2017,

Velez, Janelle. Interview with Anita Romero-Warren . Personal Interview. New York. November 2017.

On The Web


Janelle Velez

Nominated through Dr. Marta Gutman’s Race, Space and Architecture course, Spitzer School of Architecture, City College, New York, Fall 2017

Picking a place to nominate is not the easiest thing to do when you live in a city like New York. There are so many places that have historical, social and cultural significance. Your nomination, in my opinion, should be a place that sparks your interest, and with regard to the theme of the class, have a connection to race, space, and architecture. Personally, my space helped me learn about my Puerto Rican heritage, a part of my life that has not been addressed by my family. Through my nomination and the decision to look into the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center, I learned about the importance of preserving your cultural roots. Despite the fact that immigrants come to New York to live the American Dream and often adapt to the new culture, they still need a place where they can take remnants of their country and incorporate them into their everyday lives.

The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center is a beacon for all age groups that encourages them to take part in the rich artistic and social diversity of this neighborhood. 

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