Victoria Hernández Interview, Tape 3
Continuation of Ruth Glasser interview with Victoria Hernández. Ms. Hernández talks about the music groups she enjoyed while growing up. She discusses Hispanic “big bands” in New York City and their appeal. She provides her opinion on various matters, musical and the like. Ms. Glasser also talks about her brother and his experiences. She talks about living in East Harlem and the Puerto Rican migration to that section of Manhattan which used to be predominantly Italian and Irish. She talks about the Mafia, Irish gangs and the dangerous dealings that came along with the Prohibition Era. Ms. Hernández talks about how Puerto Ricans slowly trickled in and started bringing in their music. She tells stories about her experiences in East Harlem and her piano music students. She opens her first business in 1927.
Victoria Hernández came to New York in 1919 with relatives. After working as a seamstress, she bought a storefront in 1927 and started Almacenes Hernández (The Hernández Music Store). The store served as a central hangout for Latino musicians and Ms. Hernández was a central part of this music scene, earning the nickname “La Madrina” from the musicians. Ms. Hernández herself was an accomplished violinist, cellist and pianist, but dedicated herself to the business aspect of the industry and was one of the only women playing such a key role in it.