Hispanic Heritage Tour Of Woodlawn Cemetery

Published on October 01, 2009, 11:11 am
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Founded in 1863, the Woodlawn Cemetery has a long tradition of serving New Yorkers of all cultures, religions and ethnic heritages.
Among those at rest in the 400-acre burial ground are many individuals who took great pride in their Hispanic Heritage and made
great contributions to the growth and diversity of New York. Heroes, Artists, Entertainers, Business Leaders and Sports Figures are
among those in Woodlawn’s care.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, The Woodlawn Cemetery will offer a tour of famous and influential Hispanic men and women memorialized one of the most historic and notable cemeteries in the country.

Woodlawn’s Hispanic Heritage Tour will take place Sunday, October 4 at 2:00 p.m. during one of the most beautiful times of the season. Those who fought for freedom during the era of Jose Marti, celebrated figures in the world of entertainment, and the entrepreneurs who connected the Caribbean to New York through commerce are featured on this bilingual tour.

Stops include the mausoleum of Celia Cruz – one of the most successful Salsa performers of the 20th century – the grave sites of Carmen Mantilla and Cuban revolutionary Ambrosio Gonzales, baseball hall-of-famer Alejandro Pompez, and the memorial to sculptor Charles Lopez. The tour will also visit the resting places of landscape architect Diego Suarez and sugar importer Manuel E. Rionda. Tour details follow:

Name: Hispanic Heritage Tour of The Woodlawn Cemetery.

Description: A bilingual tour celebrating influential Hispanic figures buried at Woodlawn.

Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, children under 6 are free.

Reservations: Recommended.

Date: Sunday, October 4, 2:00 p.m.

Location: Jerome Avenue Gate (near Bainbridge Avenue), The Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY 10470.

Contact: For reservations, readers can contact Brian Sahd, Executive Director, Friends of the Woodlawn Cemetery, 718-920-1470, friends@thewoodlawncemetery.org.

Directions: The Woodlawn Cemetery is the last stop on the IRT #4 Train. The cemetery is also accessible from the Metro North Railroad Harlem Line (Woodlawn Station). For those traveling by car, Woodlawn can be reached from the E. 233rd St. exit off the Major Deegan (#13) and the Bronx River Parkway (#10).

The following is a list of some notable Hispanic men and women buried at Woodlawn:

Celia Cruz (1920-2001), Walnut
The “Queen of Salsa” was born in Cuba, leaving her native land in 1959 following the take over of Fidel Castro. For over fifty years she performed with several celebrated bands; her most enduring performances were with “El Maestro,” the legendary Tito Puente. This Grammy winning artist was also known for her flashy stage costumes, colorful wigs and signature line “Azucaaar!”

Manuel Delvalle Jr. (1969-2001), Chapel Hill
He was a graduate of the University of Maryland, spirited sportsman and lover of dancing and music, Manny was a member of Engine Company Number 5, remembered for getting his fellow firemen to participate in the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Delvalle was among the His memorial depicts his smiling face, his service to his community and his pride in his Puerto Rican heritage

Ambrosio Gonzales (1818-1893), Lot A
He was the first to shed blood for Cuba in the fight for freedom and also served as a Colonel in the American Civil War fighting for the Confederacy. Celebrated as the “Confederate Cuban,” Gonzales memorial is inscribed with quotes from Jefferson Davis and Jose Marti.

Charles Lopez (1870-1906), Cherry
Born in Mexico, he came to New York in his early youth and began his professional career as a sculptor with John Quincy Adams Ward and later studied in Paris. Among his works are the figures on the Appellate Court Building in New York. He won a gold medal at the St. Louis Exposition and was a member of the National Sculptors Society.

Carmen Miyares de Mantilla (1848-1925), Arbutus
Of Puerto Rican and Cuban parents, Carmen De Mantilla moved to New York with her family in 1870. She ran a boarding house at 51 E. 29th Street where she housed friends and Cuban exiles known to be revolutionists. Among those who stayed in the house was Jose Marti, leader of movement to free Cuba. Many believe that the couple had a daughter, Maria (mother of actor Cesar Romero) Marti raised and educated the young girl who was his legal goddaughter. In a letter, written right before his death, Marti wrote of Carmen: “I’ve never known a better woman in this world. I can’t nor will I ever, think of her without seeing how clear and beautiful life is.”

Jose Maria Munoz (1844-1893), Lakeside
Quietly resting in a beautiful private mausoleum, Jose Munoz was among those early entrepreneurs who capitalized on connecting South America to the United States. Munoz was a director of the Central and South American Telegraph Company.

Alejandro Pompez (1890-1974), Cosmos
In 2006, this son of Cuban immigrants, Alejandro Pompez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Alex Pompez owned the Cuban Stars of the Eastern Colored League, and later the New York Cubans of the Negro National League. Following the demise of the Negro leagues, Pompez was hired as a scout for the New York and San Francisco Giants, where for 25 years he worked to open the door for Caribbean players to enter the major leagues. He helped sign future stars such as Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and the Alou brothers.

Diego Suarez (1878-1974), Hazel
A native of Bogota and the great Grandson of General Francisco de Miranda, Suarez served as the press attaché to the Columbian Embassy. He was a noted landscape architect, acknowledged for his work on the Vizcaya Gardens in Miami. He married Evelyn Marshall (1889-1979) a pioneer in the field of improved maternity car in the U.S. and the founder of the Maternity Center Association in Manhattan.

Luis Eduardo Torres (1970 –2001), Salvia Plot R2 G40A
Born in Colombia, walked across the Mexican border with little money and hardly any knowledge of English. He started out getting lunches for traders on Wall Street, moved up to putting up numbers on the tally board and then went to work on September 10, 2001 as a Senior Trader at the firm of Cantor Fitzgerald.

Ferdinand Yznaga (1853-1901), Lawn
Of Cuban descent, Yznaga was a major figure in New Orleans New York and Newport Society. His family owned plantations in New Orleans and Cuba. It was after his sister’s marriage to the Duke of Maneville that Yznaga was introduced into the elite social circles. He became a close friend of William Kissam Vanderbilt in addition to serving as his banker. When he was buried at Woodlawn, Vanderbilt hired the firm of McKim Mead and White to create his memorial.


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