Latino Soldier is Honored with a Landmark: There is a Plaque Commemorating Emilio Barbosa at Bennett Park

Isaac Vallenilla
 | February 22, 2023

Credit: Nuestro Stories

In the Big Apple (as New York is so often referred to), there are many places where you can appreciate the Latino influence. Some of the places we can mention are the Sol de Puerto Rico and Lopez Playground. In addition to the parks Teatro Pregones/ Teatro Itinerante Puertorriqueño, New York is also the home of recognized institutions such as El Museo del Barrio, the Repertorio Español, and Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music. There are even streets named after musicians such as Celia Cruz Way and Machito Square! The list goes on and on. 

There is another notable Latino who deserves all the flowers he can get and New York has made sure of that. We are talking about the Latino soldier Emilio Barbosa. He has a plaque in a park where Fort Washington once stood, which is now known as the highest land site in Manhattan. 

Unpacking the beauty behind the highest land site in Manhattan 

It is located between Fort Washington Avenues and West 183rd Street in the Hudson Heights neighborhood of Washington Heights in northern Manhattan. The park in it was named Bennet Park in memory of James Gordon Bennett (1795-1872) who purchased the land in 1871. The land was managed by several different people after Bennett’s death. However, it was not until 1929 that the park named was officially inaugurated. 

Now, let’s talk about the much-deserved plaque and acknowledgment of the bravery of Barbosa. 

Who was Emilio Barbosa?

Barbosa was a Nicaraguan immigrant who grew up in Washington Heights. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Unfortunately, Barbosa was killed in action while aboard the USS Nevada BB-36. The ship was hit by a Japanese kamikaze plane. The plane struck the ship’s main deck resulting in the deaths of 10 other Marines.

Barbosa was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” (for Valor) for his heroic service during the attack.

On August 30, 1996, the Emilio Barbosa memorial plaque was erected in Bennett Park. The plaque recognizes his “valor and duty to the country, along with the other Marines who sacrificed their lives so that we may live in freedom.”

Read more: This Is New York’s First Movie Theater Owned by an Afro-Latina

Things You Should Know Before You Go:

  • Bennett Park occupies the highest land site in Manhattan. During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington located his base of operations on this strategic high point.
  • Three years later after the opening of Bennett Park, the Honor Grove Association of Washington Heights planted an American elm tree in the park to commemorate the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.
  • James Gordon Bennett was a prominent newspaper publisher and editor widely recognized as a pioneer of American journalism.

Address: W 183rd St Fort Washington Ave.

Experience it here.

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