Heading farther east on 116th Street from the Malcolm Shabazz Mosque, you’ll come to Spanish Harlem, filled with discount clothing stores, toy shops, beauty and wig salons, storefront churches, bakeries selling towering wedding cakes, pet stores selling homing pigeons, botanicas, and the sounds of salsa. Most of the residents here are of Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican ancestry.
Otto Chicas Rendon (60 E. 116th St., between Madison and Park Aves., 212/289-0378) is New York City’s oldest and best-known botanica, selling everything from crystal balls to herbs and love potions. Founded in 1945, the store has been so successful that it now sells wholesale to botanicas around the country.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition