Then and Now: A look at Hunts Point

Beyond Hunts Point's rough exterior is an area filled with music and creativity.

In this week's Then and Now, News 12 The Bronx's Jenny Mayer takes a look at Hunts Point, an area known for its food market, crime rate and prostitution. But beyond some of the not so glamorous parts of Hunts Point, is a place with a rich musical history.

Back in the 1800's, Hunts Point was a weekend destination for Manhattan elite. Mansions and bathing clubs were once part of the area's coastline. At the turn of the century, Hunts Point grew to meet the demand of German, Italian and Jewish immigrants.

By the 40's and 50's, a large migration of Cubans and Puerto Ricans began influencing the music coming out of the area. Hunts Point's grand music halls showcased local talent like Orlando Marin and Tito Rodriguez.

Then in the 70's and 80's, crime, drugs and arson ravaged Hunts Point. But inside the music halls, musicians found a safe haven. The beauty and grace of Latin music played on while the area was devastated economically and socially over the next 30 years.

From mambo to rap, various art forms in Hunts Point now reach a larger audience making it the vibrant art community that it is today. Artists who grew up in the area see it as a place that is defined by creativity not commerce and boundaries.

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