Little Galicia

La Voz de Galicia – 13 de decembro, 2019 →

Cristina PatoWe were taking a stroll around my neighborhood, the West Village, a little corner of Manhattan that during decades welcomed as many Galicians as it did artists, a neighborhood where the White Horse Tavern (a favorite place of Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, and Bob Dylan) coexisted with restaurants like El Faro or the Sevilla, both run by Galicians. I explained to them that though the area is now one of the most popular and expensive areas in Manhattan, in its day it had a micro-neighborhood called Little Spain (yes, like the new restaurant owned by the famous chef José Andrés).

Luisa and Inés heard my declaration of love for a place that was not so different from the neighborhood where I grew up, the old heart of Ourense. I told them that fifteen years ago when I arrived in New York to study, the Galician community welcomed me as one of its members, and I told them how tears welled up in my eyes when I discovered that the history of Galicians in Manhattan was centered in the Village, in the same place where all my idols in art and literature lived…And how I ended up living there, in a beautiful studio (which I call Lilliput) owned by a man from Celanova who, in turn, is the co-owner, along with another man from Celanova, of the restaurant Sevilla: my own little Galicia in New York.

Then I invited them to dine there, and Tito de Lima, the Peruvian singer and guitarist who performs at the restaurant, when he discovered that I had brought with me a couple of Galician friends, began singing to them our popular classics, in Galician.

The story of Tito, the Peruvian, is enough for another column. After all, how many people who are not from Galicia have a Galician repertoire as ample as his? But at that moment, with my friends, with Lloves, Bienvenido, Roberto, and Cexo, I thought about the idea that New York is also «where the world is called Celanova»…

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