Casa Amadeo is a great local spot to explore and support—especially during Hispanic Heritage Month—as it’s one of the oldest vinyl shops in NYC.
In order to understand the history of Casa Amadeo, we first must address Almacenes Hernández—potentially NYC’s first Puerto Rican-owned music store. According to the National Park Service, Almacenes Hernández was opened in 1927 by Victoria Hernández, after moving from Puerto Rico to NYC with her family in 1919. Victoria and her two brothers, Rafael (one of Latin America’s greatest composers) and Jesús, were all musicians. The store gave them the opportunity to explore their passion while supporting the family.
Almacenes Hernández was eventually sold to Puerto Rican record producer, Luis Cuevas, in 1939. It wasn’t until 1941 that Victoria and Rafael opened their second music store, Casa Hernández (now known as Casa Amadeo). Its opening coming just before the post-WWII Puerto Rican migration to NYC when many Puerto Ricans made their way to the Southern part of the Bronx, shared the NPS.
According to the NSP, “music stores were integral elements of the burgeoning Latin music scene in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, continuing through the 1950s “mambo era” and the later development of salsa.” Casa Amadeo became a common gathering place for musicians to find work and “where new migrants flocked to hear and buy the sounds of home.”
The Bronx music store was later sold to musician Miguel Angel “Mike” Amadeo in the late 60s, where it officially took on the moniker we now recognize it as.Casa Amadeo still resides in the apartment building where Victoria had lived and where Rafael would spend his time in NYC after having moved to Mexico, shared the NPS.
“Casa Amadeo retains many of the original features from its humble beginnings and continues in the tradition of providing music for the community…it embodies the history of the development of Latin music in New York City and its role in the Puerto Rican migration experience,” wrote the NPS.
The Amadeo family continues to keep the more than half a century-old shop alive and its historical significance intact. Shoppers can spend all day exploring the store’s wide array of vintage sounds from CDs to vinyls.
Where: 786 Prospect Ave, The Bronx
When: Monday – Saturday (Hours Vary)