East Harlem, or "El Barrio" has been predominantly Puerto Rican since the 1950’s, and although its demographics have shifted, its cultural identity with Puerto Rico remains something that can be seen across the neighborhood and throughout the presence of numerous community heritage organizations (The Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center is named after the Puerto Rican poet).
This was one of the reasons East Harlem was chosen as a sampling study in the first place, but rather than providing a medium for visual public communication, murals in East Harlem are sometimes used to negotiate and enforce certain cultural ties with Puerto Rican public histories.
The first example of this is the mosaic of Julia de Burgos on 106th st. and Lexington ave. Completed in 2006, this mosaic mural was completed with the cooperation of outside organizations by Manny Vega. Although Burgos was a resident of East Harlem, she was also Puerto Rican, whose flag is clearly represented in the mural. In an odd twist from traditional murals and graffiti art, this site was constructed with the goal of longevity as seen by the method of embedding the mural into the wall of the building.
Another reference to Puerto Rican culture can be seen in the mural on Lexington ave. and 3rd st. of Cuban singer, Celia Cruz, painted by James de la Vega.