Terraza 7 is no ordinary commercial venture for Freddy Castiblanco. It began with his dream to run a bar and a community center in one. And Terraza 7 has, in fact, emerged into just such a place that gives as much as it gets, located in one of the most culturally colorful corners of New York City.
From the start, Castiblanco and his father transformed an old garage into a bar. The stage was built over a steel mesh floor, so customers dancing below on the lower level could peer up to see musicians tapping their feet. Stools were made from repurposed beer kegs, while a second floor expands the small space to accommodate more action, dancing and gatherings.
Cuban-born Master Percussionist and Composer Arturo Stable takes the stage at Terraza 7 — Photo courtesy of Terraza 7
The prime action is live musical performers by Grammy Award-winning artists like Oscar Stagnaro, Aquiles Baez and Juan Medrano Cotito, as well as many local musicians, all of whom know how to connect, get people moving and present polished and sure performances.
Local jazz musicians, songwriters, Folklorists and bold experimentalists, among others, find a common place at Terraza 7 to hang out and exchange ideas to collaborate and create music and art.
Through Jazz and Folk music of the immigrants that thrive in Queens, music workshops, progressive activism and community and political partnerships, owner and active community member Castiblanco has built an intercultural bridge – a dialogue among cultures, if you will.
Terraza 7 is a chance see and participate in a cultural experiment that could lead to solidarity on many fronts.
Terraza 7 pulsates with a diverse array of Latin beats, Afrofunk, Jazz, Immigrant Folk and poetry almost every night of the week — Photo courtesy of Terraza 7
Every night on the amazing hanging stage on the second floor offers an amphitheater effect – not a bad place to view the action from. There's some sort of action: live music; a literary event (First Tuesdays Literary Readings have been taking place here for eight years.); film screenings; or workshops.
Workshops are a bargain here: Diego Obregon, master percussionist from the Pacific region of Colombia, led a workshop for $30 a class. Ricardo Gallo offered individual piano classes for $50 a class or $400 for 10 classes. And Cecilia Macuilxochitl Ortega conducted a 90-minute jam session called "Fandango" to play, sing and dance around a wooden platform called the Tarima for $15 per class of five to 10 people.
Loved by locals and Queens newcomers, Terraza 7’s owner even encourages nonprofits in need of a space to run meetings or fundraisers to make use of the premises.
There's free Wi-fi on-site, and usually a $5 to $10 cover charge.
Terraza 7 40-19 Gleane St. Elmhurst, NY 11373 718-803-9602 TRAINS 7/82 Ave.