Approximately 50 people gathered at the corner of Boulevard East and 54th Street in West New York this afternoon, as the town renamed the intersection Willy Chirino Way in honor of the 75-year old, multi-Grammy Award-winning, Cuban-American artist and philanthropist.
Chirino came to the United States in 1960 during Operation Peter Pan, escaping the Communist dictatorship in his island homeland of Cuba. Chirino began his artistic career in Miami, releasing his first album in 1974. Since then, he has recorded over 20 albums, several of which have attained platinum and gold status.
As founder of the Willy Chirino Foundation, his philanthropic efforts have been recognized by UNICEF and the Department of State. In 2006, his album “Son del Alma”, won a Grammy for Best Salsa/Merengue Album.
He celebrated his 35th anniversary in music with his latest released album “Willy Chirino Live-35th Anniversary” (“Willy Chirino En Vivo-35 Aniversario”), a CD/DVD combo of the concert. This album brought him his first nomination for Best Salsa Album at the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards. In 2014, Chirino received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in Las Vegas.