Casa Amadeo: a Historic Latino Music Store

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Casa Amadeo is a piece of Latino music history as the oldest Latino music store in New York City. Actually, it’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The owner is Puerto Rican Mike Amadeo. You might have heard his name in El Gran Combo’s song “Que Me Lo Den en Vida”. That’s because that song is one of over 200 songs Mike Amadeo has written. That’s about the same amount as Ruben Blades.

Brief History of Casa Amadeo

I read about Casa Amadeo in an article on the “Welcome 2 The Bronx” website. Mike’s father, Titi Amadeo, was an accomplished musician and songwriter. He moved his family from Bayamon, Puerto Rico to the Bronx in the late 1940’s.

Victoria and Rafael Hernandez
Siblings Victoria and Rafael Hernandez were the original owners of Casa Hernandez.

This old record store located in the South Bronx was originally named Casa Hernandez. It was owned by Victoria Hernandez, the sister of the great Puerto Rican songwriter Rafael Hernandez, who started it back in 1941.

In the late 60’s Mike Amadeo bought the music store from Victoria, in a time the population began to move out of the Bronx. Drugs and crime became regular neighbors of Casa Amadeo. However, Mike persisted in keep the store at 786 Prospect Street.

The store became an icon in New York City, and fans and artists visit frequently. They’ve become part of Mike’s extended family.

Bronx Honors Mike and Casa Amadeo

In May 2014, the Bronx honored Mike Amadeo by naming a Prospect Street the “Miguel Angel (Mike) Amadeo Way”. You can find an article about it HERE.

Mike Amadeo at Bronx honoring ceremony
Mike Amadeo recieves proclamation to name Prospect Street the “Miguel Angel (Mike) Amadeo Way”.

I guess Mike’s wishes came true! El Gran Combo recorded his song “Que Me Lo Den en Vida” as part of their album “Pasaporte Musical” back in 1998. It’s a song about telling whomever that if they are thinking of honoring him, to please do it while his alive to enjoy it, not after he’s dead, like is regularly done.

It’s work for Rafael Ithier and El Gran Combo, as they have received numerous honors. It turns out to have also worked for Mike.

Here’s an interesting video of Mike performing the song and then talking about the history of Casa Amadeo.

More on Casa Amadeo

Casa Amadeo, and its owner Mike, have done a herculean job in keeping not only a business alive, but also a culture relevant for the community of Puerto Rican and Latinos in New York City. Like Juan Pablo Diaz writes and sings in his album “Fase Dos”, “aqui o alla, la patria se hace donde quiera”.

So, if you want to learn more about Casa Amadeo, please to go the “Welcome to the Bronx” link HERE.

Enjoy!

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