Why should Hollywood have more fun than East Harlem? A businessman, actor and former City Council candidate wants to create an “El Barrio Walk of Fame” on E. 106th St. between Third and Lexington Aves. to honor East Harlem stars and legends.
“I want to give it to the people who do something for El Barrio,” said Edwin
Businessman, actor, and former City Council Candidate Edwin Marcial wants to give back to the East Harlem community. ‘I see so many artists in Harlem that deserve to be there,’ he tells The News.
Marcial. “I see so many artists in Harlem that deserve to be there.”
He dreams of a block dotted with marble plaques that would bear the likenesses of luminaries from the theater, music, dance, art, film and government, along with a brief bio and the name of the sponsor.
Local officials say they can see what Marcial means.
“A Walk of Fame in El Barrio would be another way to celebrate the many cultural icons and community leaders that have hailed from our neighborhood,” City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem) said in a statement. “I look forward to working with members of the community to make this a reality.”
Incoming Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also promised to lend a hand.
“We don’t always know our neighborhood history or neighborhood heroes, and this would be a great place to highlight some of that,” Brewer said.
The project — which would cost an estimated $500,000 per side of the block — is being spearheaded by Teatro Moderno Puertorriqueno Inc., an East Harlem arts and culture organization that Marcial heads.
A committee would select nominees and choose one man and one woman each year.
Marcial plans to reach out to divorced couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony to be the keynote figures of the annual enshrinement, which he describes as a red-carpet event accompanied by street vendors.
“It’s a way to empower the artists in East Harlem and the community,” said Marcial, who expects a portion of the project to be completed by 2015, if all goes well.
But the ambitious community man has a long road ahead.
Marcial, 74, who launched three failed bids for the East Harlem City Council seat, still needs the approval of Community Board 11, of which he is a member. Members have asked that he provide more information after the holidays.
He also needs the green light from City Council and the city Department of Transportation.
Marcial said he would request money from the city, but he intends to raise much of the dough on his own.
It’s unclear, he says, how much it will cost to maintain the Walk of Fame, but he believes the attraction will attract tourists and their wallets to the neighborhood.
Already , Marcial says, a local politician could be one of the first on the far-from-approved Walk of Fame, but he remained coy, saying: “It’s going to be a surprise.”
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- NYC & Company’s Spotlights East Harlem/El Barrio (harlemworldmag.com)
- East Harlem’s Maria Calas (video) (harlemworldmag.com)