Tito Puente NYC Memorial Plans Moving Forward

Tito Puente photographed in 1950.
Gilles Petard/Redferns

Tito Puente photographed in 1950. 

Plans for a New York City memorial to mambo king Tito Puente are moving ahead.  

According to news from NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose office has spearheaded the funding of the project, the public is invited to the “final meeting” to select the artist who will create the memorial on Wednesday. The meeting will take place at the Julia Burgos Cultural Center in upper Manhattan.

Proposals for the memorial by East Harlem artists who are in the running can be viewed until Wednesday at El Museo del Barrio, on Fifth Avenue and 104th Street, just blocks from where Puente grew up.

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In August 2000, three months after Puente’s passing, East 110th Street from Fifth to First Avenue was christened Tito Puente Way.

It has taken much longer for the proposal for a statue of the effervescent timbale player and international legend to reach this point. “Almost 20 years,” according to the announcement from Mark-Viverito’s office.

The finished memorial is to be placed at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, down the street from where Puente lived with his family as a boy in the 1930s. The iconic Latin artist would have been 93 years old now.

“Tito Puente was a one-of-a kind musician who made an indelible mark in the Latin music industry and the Puerto Rican community,” Mark-Viverito said in an earlier statement.


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