Federico García Lorca once again achieved Poet in New York status when a mural depicting the Spanish literary lion went up in Bushwick a couple of years ago. Now he’s returned to Manhattan, where he studied at Columbia in 1929 and penned “Sleepless City: Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne.” The poem is quoted in this new mural by Spanish artist Raúl Ruiz and Brooklyn’s own Cern.
Ruiz, better known as Sex, El Niño de las Pinturas, has been making his mark outside of his usual stomping grounds of Granada: after adding some color to a building on East 13th Street earlier this month, he painted the above tribute to Lorca on the Soho location of City Rooms, a hotel that has (no joke) a Katz’s Deli themed room (basically just a regular ol’ room with this drawing done by a “Brooklyn artist”).
You can find the freshly painted piece at the corner of Canal and Lafayette. We’re assuming that’s Lorca’s duende peeking out from the C in City Rooms, and a look at the ol’ Garcia Lorca in New York map shows why the jazz cats might be there. In an October 21, 1929 letter to his family, Lorca wrote this of Chinatown:
The other day I got really lost in the city for the first time. I went out to do some errands and took the El. But instead of taking the Sixth Avenue line, I took the Ninth Avenue one, and it took me in the opposite direction to where I was going, a place totally unknown to me. It was a great city of low wooden houses, full of Chinese people and Chinese signs with a deafening music of player pianos and jazz orchestras. Lunch time came and I ate at a Chinese restaurant for 60 cents, a very strange meal, everything cold, but undeniably tasty. The water was a little Chinese boy, ten years old, a little toy, with a little red dress, and he left the plates on the table with the silence almost of a reptile but in an exquisitely aristocratic way.
Of course, you can’t get a 60-cent lunch in Chinatown anymore, but hey, just a couple of blocks from the mural there’s still a $5 buffet.