The Celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month

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When I had gotten wind that the Croton government’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the non-profit Croton Business Council wanted to recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to find out not only the origins of National Hispanic Heritage Month but to also highlight our local business owners of Hispanic descent.  It also gives me the chance to pay homage to my late Cuban-Spanish-American father.

Every year from September 15th to October 15th Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month.  The celebration was created to recognize the positive impact that Hispanic Americans have had on the country. “Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America,” according to the Library of Congress.  Instead of the observance beginning on the first of the month, it starts on September 15th. This is significant because it is the anniversary of the independence of many Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their Independence Days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively. Rounding out the celebration month, October 12th is Día de la Raza (“The Day of Race”) in the U.S. and in certain Latin American countries as well. Spain refers to this holiday as Día de la Hispanidad (“Hispanic Day”) and Fiesta Nacional de España (“National Day of Spain”) and combines it with the celebration known as Fiestas del Pilar.

Observation of this celebration started in 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson declared it to be a week-long event. In 1988 it was extended to 30 days and ultimately enacted into law by President Ronald Reagan. Given this focus on National Hispanic history, below is a list of Hispanic-owned businesses in Croton-on-Hudson. I hope that as a community we will support and celebrate them together.
I cannot mention the Hispanic Business Community without recognizing the devastating, untimely death of the local business owner and shoe repairman, Jorge Sanchez.  It was a loss that hit this community hard. I was honored to spend time speaking with Jorge’s family, to extend my deepest sympathies on behalf of the Croton Community, and to remember what a kind man and talented cobbler he was and how he will be missed by everyone. His family asked me to share his obituary, and his photo, as seen on Channel 12 News.
Jorge Fabian Sanchez, from Tarrytown, NY was an uncle, brother, godfather, brother-in-law, and friend to many.  He passed on April 14, 2020.  He was just 45 years old and was turning 46 on May 13th.  He was born in Ecuador and came to the United States where he became a shoe repairman.  He owned his own business in Croton-on-Hudson where he was loved by many.  He was a selfless, caring, devoted, and humble man who always put others before himself.  He is survived by eight siblings, and many nieces and nephews that looked up to the person he was.
“Although we lost our angel to COVID-19 he will forever be in our hearts. We have comfort in knowing that he will Rest in Peace alongside his parents. Until we meet again.”
Jorge’s family would like to find someone who would be willing to carry on his legacy.  If anyone is interested in finding out more about purchasing his business, please call 914-564-5806.

Hispanic-Owned Croton Businesses, Listed in Observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month:

Carmen’s Unisex Hair Salon

Carmen always has a smile on her face and her services include color, haircuts, and make-up (by appointment).  She takes walk-ins and appointments and has provided extra outdoor seating for anyone waiting in safety.  She and her daughter are welcoming and talented and have cultivated quite the following.  She has a car for children to sit in while getting their $12 haircuts.  She also offers discounted dry haircuts to seniors on Wednesdays for $12.

Croton Auto Repair

Located across from the new Baked by Susan location. Julio is a talented, full-service auto mechanic, who also offers oil changes and is reasonably priced. He had worked for years at Hudson View Auto, decided to branch out on his own. In just the short time he has been open he is already known for doing those extras that keep people coming back. I spoke to a very pleased senior citizen customer, who mentioned he cleaned the leaves out of her windshield and wiped the car down inside before she got in (and she was just there to have her engine light checked!) “It’s the little things that make the difference,” she said.

Irma’s Hair Salon

Always cheerful Irma opens her the cute space in the upper village at 7:30am for the convenience of her clients. She offers $12 haircuts to seniors on Wednesdays, and $12 haircuts to children as well. She cuts both men, women, and children’s hair and welcomes the new business!

The Mexican Deli

This brand-new deli is located next to the laundromat on Grand St. near the Grandstand. It is a bodega-style deli selling milk, eggs, cleaning products, and condiments including dry food. The idea for people to stop in and grab something without having to stop at the big stores. Rodolfo said they are still waiting on approval so they can open their deli counter. Let’s all help them grow!

Upper Village Blooms

When you walk into this charming little shop you will realize it is not just about beautiful flower arrangements. It is a gift store filled with thoughtful unique items from hostess gifts to holiday gifts or a place where you can find a little something for yourself. Catherine and Janelle are incredibly talented and offer creative suggestions for any of your needs.

Franki’s Grill

Franki’s has become a big favorite with the local kids. Whether it is his close proximity to the schools or a menu that appeals to all ages, he stays very busy. If you order one of his hot sandwiches, chicken fingers or burgers, and fries, he does not disappoint. Franki’s offers mainly takeaway service. Limited indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Maracas Mexican Grill & Bar

Maracas offers $5 drink and food specials for their Happy Hour which includes margaritas and sangrias Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available including booths which are a customer favorite when seated inside. They offer a wide variety of Mexican food which includes a children’s menu. Take-out and delivery are available.

Mex-To-Go

Mayra is always coming up with delicious seasonal items to keep her take-out menu fresh. Whether you are in the mood for tortilla soup, rotisserie chicken dinner, or a burrito, this is a great little Mexican take-out place. There is a picnic table out front for those who want to eat there. She has developed quite a local following.

Pronto Pizza & Restaurant

Whether you are in the mood for chicken bacon ranch pizza or a chicken marsala dinner, Pronto is more than just a pizza place. The restaurant is available for seating along with outdoor space as well. Note: Monday and Tuesday they offer $10 pizza deals for pick up only. Curbside pickup and delivery are available.

Hudson River Deli

When you come into this deli you will most likely come across Matilda and Rosa. This mother and daughter team create a daily, behind the counter buffet of Latin food. If you like shellfish, they often serve up some delicious combinations. If you feel a cold coming on you must try the best chicken soup around. I must warn you though, unlike American traditional chicken noodle soup with shredded pieces of chicken, this authentic soup has parts. Do not let that scare you away! Ask for the broth or pull out the wing or leg and cut it up and throw it back in because the broth is as delicious as it is medicinal! My kids asked for seconds!!

Yuka’s Latin Fusion

Yuka’s has become quite popular with its Latin-infused menu. From Sangria Sunday, Taco Tuesdays, Mojito Wednesday to Ladies Thursday there is always a fun special to be had! There is even something for the kids too! Sunday Kids eat Free (kids’ menu only-with adult meal $15). Indoor and outside seating is available including extra seating out front. Available for take-out. Claudia prides her self on her consistency when it comes to her food. Bravo Claudia!
*Please note that if you are a Hispanic Business Owner and do not see your business here and would like to be added to the list, reach out to [email protected] and we would be pleased to include you.
For more information about being part of the Croton Business Council, please contact [email protected]
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee was created to develop and implement programs designed to create a spirit of diversity and inclusion for all that live, work in, and visit Croton-on-Hudson. Additionally, the Committee promotes the diversity goals of the Village and encourages respect and tolerance for those individual differences that enrich our community.  You may contact members of the committee at the following email address: [email protected]

Writer’s Note

Researching this article and writing this piece has reminded me how much I miss my late father. He like many of these business owners had overcome so much to achieve success. I am reminded of the stories of my father and his family in their Havana home where he had servants and drivers and was surrounded by so much opportunity. Only to watch everything he knew get taken. He was talented and smart and received both an engineering and football scholarship to Purdue, even after he skipped his senior year of high school. Only to leave at the age of 16 to take care of his sister and mother because his father was never going to be able to come back to America. Nobody on my grandfather’s side would be back. He heard of schoolboy friends who went to jail for just using their voices. My son is 16 and I can’t imagine him ever having to go through anything like that. Today I not only honor my heritage but I honor my dad. I honor the grandfather I never met and the home I will never see and the family I will never introduce to mine. My father loved raising us in Croton because it was a safe place where everyone looks out for one another. My parents lived in our house for thirty-one years. His biggest joy was offering security and creating a home his kids would want to come back to. He never wanted us to know the pain he carried and I suspect that is why he never spoke of it. I often wondered why my siblings and I came back to this area to raise our kids after so many years away. I think today I found my answer.

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