A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 21, 2004
"Bodega" came to us from Spain, through Cuba and Puerto Rico. The term has been used regularly in New York City since at least the 1930s, but most consistently since the 1950s and 1960s immigrations.

Thomas Gage's
Travels in the New World
edited by J. Eric S. Thompson
University of Oklahoma Press, Norman
(The English-American His Travail By Sea and Land:
A New Survey of the West-India's
London: R. Cotes
Pg. 184:
...frigates, and unlade what they have brought from Spain in _bodegas_ or great lodges, built up on purpose to keep dry the commodities and protect them from the weather.

When It's Cocktail Time in Cuba
by Basil Woon
New York, NY: Horace Liveright
Pg. 33:
Prohibition in the United States may have added to the number of "American" bars, but the corner bodega has always flourished. A bodega is part grocery, part tobacco-shop, and part saloon. Generally it is a restaurant as well.

28 January 1929, Havana, "MY BODEGA" by Marie Oberlander, pg. 18, col. 1:
BEFORE the days of my initiation into the mysteries of the "bodega" or Cuban bar, I was often puzzled by the phrase, "my bodega," which I heard on all sides. How could anyone distinguish one bodega from another? They all looked alike to me.

The WPA Guide to New York City
New York, NY: Random House
New York, NY: Pantheon Books
Pg. 151:
Among the immigrants were Spaniards, who gathered in the vicinity of Fourteenth Street. Since 1920 the SPANISH COLONY has declined, but bodegas (grocery stores), carnicerias (butcher shops), Spanish benefit societies, the SPANISH-AMERICAN WORKERS ALLIANCE at 349 West Fourteenth Street, and the SPANISH CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE at 229 West Fourteenth Street still preserve the Iberian flavor.

Havana Manana:
A Guide to Cuba and the Cubans
by Consuelo Hermer and Marjorie May
New York, NY: Random House
Pg. 271:
Bodega -- grocery store.

21 July 1940, New York (NY) Times, pg. E2:
Batista won by a large majority. The new President began life as a tailor's apprentice, clerked in a bodega (Cuba's combination of grocery and bar), ...

5 April 1959, New York (NY) Times, pg. 71:
East 111th Street is typical of Spanish Harlem these days - ...tropical groceries for sale, a luncheonette called Puerto Rico en New York, stored labeled "Bodega Carniceria" and "Cubiertos de Muebles."

5 April 1964, New York (NY) Times, pg. 117:
She goes just across cobble-stoned, pushcart filled Avenue C to the bodega, which she and other Puerto Ricans simply call "the Spanish store."

1 June 1965, New York (NY) Times, pg. 29:
Pushcarts Have Given Way
to Bodegas in Bronx Area

23 December 1966, Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer, pg.16, col. 7:
Across the street was a bodega. Another grocery, down the block, was the principal number racket drop for the area.

26 July 1967, New York (NY) Times, pg. 21:
"We have had no problems," said Felix Ramos, half-owner of the Velez Grocery Store, 242 West 16th Street, a tiny bodega. "This is a neighborhood where Puerto Rican, colored and white all live together pretty good. We just keep fingers crossed."
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Wednesday, July 21, 2004 • Permalink

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