Taking Wing in Spanish Harlem: The Dos Alas Mural
By S. F. |
Getting off the 6 train that runs on the Lexington line, I see construction signs all around and many bodegas. I am in Spanish Harlem, home to many Hispanics. As I walk to the street mural called “Dos Alas,” I pass through a neighborhood filled with a diverse crowd of people. I see many brownstones, many buildings, and other murals by the stores done in multiple colors. These murals adds spunk to the area, and they make the streets look alive and not like any old plain grey street. When I arrive at “Dos Alas,” it is bigger than I expected it to be.
Located at 105th Street and Third Avenue, “Dos Alas”—or “Two Wings” in English— represents the revolutionaries Che Guevara and Albizu Campos leading the Latino people. The street mural presents both icons with the Cuban and Puerto Rican flags, symbolizing how these Caribbean cultures are united. The name “Two Wings” originates from a Lola Rodrigues poem quoting a verse “Cuba and Puerto Rico are two wings of the same bird,” which also appears on the mural. Guevara and Albizu were the voices of their people, fighting for the rights that they weren’t given.
As a child growing up, I would go with my mother and sister on trips to Spanish Harlem during the summer. Back then, I didn’t fully understand what these murals meant. I just thought that some random person had done some graffiti. In my childish mind, I didn’t think that they meant so much to the people of the community and that they represented a population similar to my own. On those trips we would go to the pool that was in Jefferson Park, and while walking through the neighborhood, I would see the brightly-colored murals on the walls.