Mexico celebrates two hundred years of independence this week.
Officials in Mexico City prepared a massive event for the bicentennial, full of speeches by visiting dignitaries. As is the custom, President Felipe Calderon reenacted Mexico's 1810 declaration of war against Spain.
"All around the country, this ceremony is repeated in every city, in every town in Mexico, and in every city around the world where there is a Mexican community," the Consul General of Mexico in New York, Ruben Beltran, said.
This week also marks the beginning of "Celebrate Mexico Now" festival, which kicks off on Thursday and continues for two-weeks. The festival highlights the adventurous cultural scene in Mexico City, bringing artists, musicians, writers, and film makers to New York to show their stuff. The festival's events will likely be well attended. More than 178,000 people born in Mexico now call New York City their home, up 30 percent from 2000, according to US Census figures. Over 294,000 people of Mexican origin live in the Big Apple, compared to 186,000 people in 2000.
Beltran says that makes the Mexican community New York's fastest growing minority.
"We are so proud of what Mexicans are doing here," Beltran says. "On the one hand, you have Mexicans fueling the hospitality sector of New York. But also, you have Mexicans working for Wall Street and Mexicans with PhDs and Masters degrees."
Here are some of WNYC's Celebrate Mexico Now festival picks:
- Check out the young Mexican pop wonder, Natalia Lafourcade, perform at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 7:30 PM. Her 2009 solo album, 'Hu Hu Hu' got her a Grammy nomination for “Best Latin Pop Album.”
- Grab a taco or tamale at one of the 24 restaurants participating in the festival's "Authentic Mexican Restaurant Week". (We like Chavella's Restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn!)
- Ever see those "City Noir" books in your neighborhood bookstore? Well, there's one for Mexico City, too. Writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II reads from the anthology of short mysteries set in 'hoods across Mexico City at NYU's King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, 53 Washington Square South on Sept. 16 at 7 PM.
- The School of Visual Arts will host a program of Mexican short films from the Morelia International Film Festival. For the last seven years, a small, disgustingly picturesque colonial town in the central "hot lands" of Michoacan has been home to one of Mexico's hottest film festivals. See the festival's best on Friday, Sept. 17 at 7 PM at the School of Visual Arts at 209 East 23rd St.