An Open Letter to City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito Concerning the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center

I am writing to you on behalf of my husband, myself, and all our friends who have been attending the Latin dance night at Julia de Burgos Cultural Center. We have been dancing there since the site opened. It’s a wonderful way to preserve the rich history of Latin music and dance, especially since most of us are over 50 and remember Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Joe Cuba, whose wake we attended, Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe,and many others.

I can’t think of a better way to promote harmony among people than by congregating at Burgos every Wednesday night. There are dancers from so many varied ethnic and religious backgrounds that it is an excellent representation of multicultural activity. I have never witnessed a harsh word, argument, or altercation in all the years I have dancing there. People come for their love of Latin music and dance. We socialize, talk about old times, eat, drink, take photographs together, and most importantly, share our passion for mambo, cha cha, and merengue. And it is a passion! Every week someone celebrates a birthday with a huge cake, which is offered to friends and acquaintances alike. I celebrated mine on November 17, and I was so happy to have such a spot where camaraderie is at its height.

Unfortunately, you have a reputation of being unsupportive of small business, low-income tenants, and affordable housing, in favor of big business and multinational corporations. I suppose that closing Burgos is in line with your present political leanings and aspirations. If I am wrong about this, please respond to this email. I would like to hear your side.


Jan Mayrick

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