Ground broken on new Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center in Manhattan

Ground broken on new Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center in Manhattan

NEW YORK -- There is a historic project under construction in Inwood, a new theater highlighting and supporting the work of immigrants in New York.

The People's Theatre Project is behind the new Immigrant Research and Performing Arts Center.

Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda was on hand Wednesday to help break ground on the multi-million dollar arts and cultural center he says will usher in a revitalized uptown.

The project is expected to foster enhanced creativity and community for Inwood and Washington Heights.

Vida Tayabati and three other company members from the People's Theatre Project performed inches away from Gov. Kathy Hochul and entertainer extraordinaire Miranda.

The occasion was the rising of a cultural center on the ground floor of 407 W. 206th St. It's a $37 million new home for young artists like Tayabati.

"I am Iranian. We have people from China, Korea, Africa, all over, different places," Tayabati said. "We are gathered here at PTP having the same goal, showing that we can collaborate together, we are the same."

It's People's Theatre Project's first permanent home in its 15-year history.

Hochul and Miranda got a tour from Mino Lora, PTP's executive artistic director.

"It's a 19,000 square-foot cultural center. There are rehearsal rooms, sound booths, dressing rooms, green rooms and art gallery space, and a state of the art theater. So 'Centro Cultural Inmigrante' will be coming in 2026 to serve our community and citywide artists," Lora said. "It is for immigrants. So we have social workers across the city who refer unaccompanied minors to us and we work with them to build their skills through theater. Some of the young people who performed today came as unaccompanied minors a few years ago. Separated from families, crossing the border by themselves, and here they are sharing those stories."

Miranda personally donated $1 million to the center.

"As someone who grew up a few blocks from here, to have a theater in our neighborhood is incredible. A Latina-owned, Latina-run theater in Inwood, woah," Miranda said. "This is a joyous day because this is a real dream come true for the many artists who grew up in Washington Heights and Inwood, and now will get to make theater in the actual neighborhood where they live."

"The recognition now going from this day going forward, immigrants stories are American stories and they must unfold right here in this place and must be transported to other neighbors and other venues," Hochul said. "This is a place, when this all is said and done, that will magically transform this venue into a place where dreams do come true."

Many of the dignitaries gathered Wednesday promised to be back in 2026 at the river to cut the ribbon.

On the floors above the cultural center there will be affordable residential rental units, part a separate project with a more than $400 million price tag.

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