The historic La Marqueta in East Harlem has a unique art installation gracing the ceiling of their outdoor space known as Vendy Plaza, through its cultural arm, La MarquetaRetoña. More than sixty artists participated in hand-painting para-sol umbrellas from Taipei, Taiwan, using them as their canvas. The installation, “Parasol Expo” creates a colorful ceiling for the food vendors, beer garden, salsa dancing, food market and live music that occupy the space every weekend.
In the spirit of the original La Marqueta, they hope to recapture the social and cultural elements of a neighborhood they call “El Barrio.” The Vendy Plaza summer activities have been so successful, that they have been extended through November 1st.
The Vendy Plaza initiative was launched last year by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and Vendy Awards, opening the gates to the public and offering free wi-fi and a stream of activities that can be found under the viaduct running from 113th Street to 117th Street on Park Avenue. The complex includes Vendy Plaza, the neighboring La Marqueta incubator and retail space, and the Urban Garden Center.
We recently stopped by La Marqueta and the kitchens of Hot Bread Kitchen, on the first stop of an Untapped Cities Behind the Scenes Tour of Harlem with NYCEDC. The colorful parasols that cover the ceiling of Vendy Plaza extend over to the La Marqueta retail space, where many of the artists have a stand. Parasol Expo is located at 1616 Park Avenue in East Harlem.
La Marqueta Retoña will be kicking-off a new event, MonumentArt today. The MonumentArt Public Art Project will produce nine large murals in the Bronx and El Barrio. La Marqueta will serve as the home-base for the project, where the public can find maps and meet some of the artists.
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