This profile was last updated in 2005
Activities and Schedule
Spiritual consultations in the Santeria tradition are available daily.
Physical Description of the Center
This botanica is situated on the south side of 116th street. The street houses many small shops, as well as other botanicas.
The entrance to the store has several large tureens which are surrounded by offerings of fresh flowers and fruits.
A wide corridor runs through the center of the store. The shelves closest to the entrance contain tall candles of assorted colors and statues of saints. The shelves in the back of the store are stocked with bath oils and religious books. The sales counter is located in the back left of the botanica. Traditional bead necklaces hang above the counter, and behind it the shelves are filled with a selection of smaller-sized perfumes and oils.
Religious consultations are performed in a back room to the right of the sales counter.
Francisca y Iyalorde is one of the most recent botanica establishments in New York. It was opened in late 2002 by Miguel, who arrived in the United States from Cuba as part of the Mariel boatlift, and his Puerto Rican wife, Suzy. Miguel and Suzy co-run the botanica, and their energetic granddaughter is often present. Both Miguel and Suzy belong to a Bronx-based Santeria community.
Botanicas as Religious Centers
Because botanicas sell the materials needed to carry out ritual endeavors and often provide space to perform religious consultations, they are the most visible “centers of religion” for the oft-private Afro-Caribbean religions (e.g. Santería, Espiritismo, Palo Mayombe). Most employees at botanicas are involved to some degree in an Afro-Caribbean religious community and have ties that extend beyond the capacity of the botanica.