Since our founding in 1868 and in accordance with our by-laws, the primary objective of the Centro Español - Spanish Benevolent Society is to "promote, encourage and spread the spirit of fraternity and solidarity among Spanish and Hispanic-American residents of this country."
In those early years, the Society served as an essential support system for Spaniards immigrating to the United States – providing food and shelter; tending to their health care needs; arranging afterlife services; and acting as their de-facto home away from home in New York. While the needs of our members have changed greatly since that time, the Spanish Benevolent Society still remains committed to assisting individuals who come from Spain to seek a new way of life in New York.
Spaniards of all kinds: tourists, artisans, professionals and many others have benefitted form our little corner of Spain in the Big Apple. It has served as a meeting ground for political dissidents and revolutionaries, avant-garde poets and artists – including the groundbreaking director Luis Buñuel and the modernist poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who wrote sections of his famous anthology "Poet in New York" during his stay at the Society. It is even said that Picasso stopped in for a taste of home.
The Centro Español – Spanish Benevolent Society is also committed to the historical preservation of our dynamic community. Our Society is the final remnant of the once-thriving enclave on 14th street between 7th and 8th avenues known as "Little Spain." The Society was the heart of the block then and will remain at the core of the revival of our "Pequeña España". Finally, as the first non-native settlers of this great nation and the linguistic homeland to 50 million American citizens who speak the Spanish language we feel it is our obligation to promote and enrich the close linguistic and cultural ties between Spain and the United States.
Housed in a graceful brownstone on 14th street – at the crossroads of Greenwich Village, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District – Centro Español members share a love for Spain, Spanish culture and cuisine. We believe in a diverse, multi-cultural Spain and support the expression and promotion of all her languages and customs. At the Society we hold several events each week that are topical and relevant expressions of our diverse culture.
The Spanish Benevolent Society is an American not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. Our Society and building on 14th street are member-owned and we receive our support from membership and corporate partnerships.