Press "Enter" to skip to content

Carlos ‘Chino’ García mosaic unveiling brings outpouring of love and accolades

BY BONNIE ROSENSTOCK | Herman Hewitt was speaking of his longtime friend and colleague Carlos “Chino” García, who was being memorialized with a stunning mosaic, created by muralist Juan Carlos Pinto.

“I felt that we must honor our people while they are still with us,” Hewitt stated.

A close-up of the mosaic. (Photo by David Sanders)
Herman Hewitt with García. Barbara Caporale is in background at right. (Photo by Bonnie Rosenstock)

The unveiling event took place, accompanied by live music, joyful dancing and speeches, on Sat., Nov. 26, at the Olean for All People’s Garden at 293-295 E. Third St., between Avenues B and C.

Realtor Hewitt, who created one of the first Black-owned businesses on the Lower East Side and is president of the board of directors of the LES People’s Mutual Housing Association, declared, “Today is Open Mike Day.”

From left, David Jester; his wife, Taina García Jester, Garcia’s daughter; Maraluna Rivas Mico, daughter of the late Loisaida poet and activist Bimbo Rivas; and Garcia’s grandchildren, Mia and Kailo. (Photo by Bonnie Rosenstock)

Community leader Frank González said, “Thanks to Chino, we saved Casa Adela [restaurant], started the CommUnity Fridge [on E. Ninth Street and Avenue B], which we named after him, and we brought back ‘The Gift of the Magi.'” (Photo by Bonnie Rosenstock)
Indeed, dozens upon dozens of García’s past and present fellow community activists, old-timers and newcomers, friends and family — his daughter Taina, son-in-law and two grandchildren came in from California — and LES neighbors spoke about how he inspired them and touched their lives over the years.

Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, who represents Manhattan’s East Side, including the Lower East Side and East Village, is a longtime friend of García. (Photo by Bonnie Rosenstock)

García, 76, co-founder of the beloved former CHARAS/El Bohio Community and Cultural Center on E. Ninth Street, was in a wheelchair and is currently in rehab at the Gouverneur Health nursing facility on Madison Street. But on this day, he looked the picture of health as he was lauded and loved.

Garcia addresses the crowd. (Photo by Bonnie Rosenstock)
Neighbors, friends and current and past LES activists who came out to honor García. (Photo by David Sanders)

Pinto said in an e-mail, “Chino taught me that Art is not a privilege of the rich. It is a human right. This homage is a natural action. I think we will do a full wall of leaders and activists here. Chino deserves that kind of respect.”


  1. Dianna Maeurer Dianna Maeurer December 13, 2022

    Beautiful mosaic, great tribute.

  2. John Penley John Penley December 8, 2022

    You should put one up for Jerry The Peddler aka Gerald Wade. He was arrested hundreds of times while protesting nonviolently for squatters, Tent City and affordable housing. He also never accepted money to leave a building and give it to a real estate developer. Partially, because of Jerry, hundreds of former squatters got apartments.

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.