Fans Seek To Honor Cuban Music Legend Arsenio Rodriguez With Bronx Street Name

If some of his die-hard fans get their way, the “Father of Salsa Music” may soon have a street named in his honor.

In the late 1930s, legendary musician Arsenio Rodriguez fused traditional Cuban music with African congas, trumpets and piano to create Son Montuno , which evolved into modern salsa music.

“He was black, blind and an immigrant. But he broke through all of that and left behind such a legacy,” said musician Aurora Flores.

Flores is among a contingent of supporters pushing to rename the intersection of Intervale Ave. and Dawson St. in Longwood after Rodriguez. The group planned to petition Bronx Community Board 2 Wednesday night.

“That intersection was the center of his universe,” said Jose Rafael Mendez, a community historian. “He lived in that area. And all the clubs he played, like the Hunts Point Palace, were practically a stone’s throw away.”

Rodriguez, who was of Congolese descent, was born in Cuba in 1911. A childhood accident left him blind but never hampered his musical talent.

He became the master of a Cuban guitar called “tres” and was dubbed “El Ciego Maravilloso” (The Marvelous Blind One).

Rodriguez emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1950s a fter enjoying great success in Cuba.

He died on Dec. 31, 1970 in Los Angeles, having penned more than 200 songs.

Last fall, some fans raised $2,000 for a grave memorial for Rodriguez at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale.

The street renaming is the next fitting tribute, supporters said.

“Arsenio Rodriguez is more than deserving of a street named in his honor especially in the Bronx which boasts itself as the ‘Borough of Salsa,’” said Flores, bandleader of Zon del Barrio.

“There’s not a park, not a cultural center or a street in the Bronx to honor his memory,” added Mendez. “We’d like to rectify that.”

Source: NYDailyNews