CANTINA ALLEY CULTURE,
ARTWORK & FINDINGS
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ABOUT WHAT MAKES CANTINA ALLEY UNIQUE AND INNOVATIVE
EL SANTO MURAL
This towering mural of Mexican icon El Santo, is located on our west wing of Cantina Alley, on the other side of the wall containing our main bar.
El Santo became a cultural phenomenon after his 1951 weekly comic series and more than 50 films that helped found the Lucha Libre horror genre that dominated the 1950s and 1960s. Las Mujeres Vampiro (Vampire Women) came out in 1962 and was one of his most popular films.
Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, more widely known as El Santo, or in English The Saint, was a Mexican Luchador enmascarado, film actor, and folk hero. El Santo is one of the most famous and iconic Mexican luchadores, and has been referred to as one of "the greatest legends in Mexican sports"
TIP: The best way to get a clear shot of this towering artwork, is to stand as far away from it as possible, near our East wing, and take it when no one is seated underneath him at one of our large group tables.
Cantina "Paletero" cart
Our custom made Paleta cart is usually parked near the front wooden gates of our location, but is often moved around to support themes and photos from Cantina Alley.
Being a paletero takes a lot of strategy and savvy.
If you grew up in a certain kind of neighborhood, you know exactly what those bells sound like. They produce a distinct, bright ring that somehow echoes on the streets the same way it does at Cantina Alley.
The paleta business began in the 1940s in the city of Tocumbo, Michoacán in Mexico (which has a large paleta statue to celebrate the frozen treat).
Tocumbians Ignacio Alcazar and Agustin Andrade introduced paletas to Mexico City in the 1940s, and the ice pops eventually made their way to the U.S.
Today, paletas are a summer staple in the city. Consisting of a relationship between suppliers and vendors to choosing the right mix of flavors to attract a diverse clientele.
TIP: The best shot of this iconic staple of Mexico, is to take a photo of you or a friends with your hands on the cart, as if you are a true Midtown Paletero.
Cantina "VOCHITO" vw taxi
With the growth of Uber and rideshares and the economy in Mexico changing, the "vochito" taxi is slowly disappearing, but at Cantina we celebrate this iconic Mexico vehicle parked right outside of our gates.
It might seem odd that a German car drove itself into Mexico’s heart. However, the classic Beetle’s simple design and inexpensive upkeep made it a practical choice for many. It was popular with companies that purchased the Vochito as a fleet car.
Sometime in the early '90s, government decided to change taxi and other public transport such as Peseros panel color to green, in order to give an impression of "eco transport", and the VWs started to be called "taxis ecológicos" (ecological taxis).
TIP: The best shot of this iconic vehicle is to get low to capture the foreground from the tires to the hood and to capture the beauty of the candypaint and chrome finishes.
Cantina "perrito" rooftop dog
This may be one of the random-est things you see at Cantina Alley or the most natural depending on if you have travelled to Mexico and explored some of the inner city neighborhoods, you have probably seen the many barking dogs on people’s roofs.
But why are their dog’s on roofs? You may ask.
An anonymous rescue organization in San Miguel, Mexico, was asked to answer this question about why the dogs are on the roofs.
The organization explained that in the many homes in the cities have no yards, so the roof acts like a yard (similar to a New York apartment).
The main reason dogs are placed on roofs, however, is for security, the group explains.
The dogs are meant to dissuade people from burglarizing, though the group added that since in most cases the dogs can’t get down, they can’t do much other than bark. Intruders can easily enter most homes from the lower levels that the dogs can’t reach.
Interestingly, it’s actually illegal to keep your dog on your roof, but that doesn’t seem to dissuade many.
So, are they stuck on the roofs? Yes and no. Many of the dogs cannot get into the house from the rooftop, however some houses are built in such a way that the dogs can get into the house via stairs or a window.
TIP: The best shot of this nostalgic pooch is to shoot el perrito during the daytime as it gets dark up there when the sun sets. Also a nice cloudy day so the sunlight doesnt over/underexpose the shot.
Cantina "presencia de america latina" mural
Presencia de América Latina (Presence of Latin America), also known as Integración de América Latina (Integration of Latin America) is a mural painted by Mexican artist Jorge González Camarena between November 1964 and April 1965. . Its principal theme is the unity and brotherhood of the different Latin American cultures.
This mural was impressively recreated at Cantina Alley by local legendary artist Shaun Burner & Miguel Perez. It is located in our staff parking area, facing 24th Street.
The mural describes the history of Latin America through the use of angular, symbolic images, which emphasize the value of fraternity between the different ethnicities of the Spanish American world. The work is read chronologically from right to left.
TIP: The best shot of this beautiful mural is to shoot it from far away to capture its entire beauty from left to right. Best to capture later in the evening as the sun can over/underexpose the large mural in bright conditions.