Carmen Barañano Moneo of “Casa Moneo”, Little Spain, NYC

Carmen Barañano Moneo, who own and ran the Spanish store “Casa Moneo” on West 14th Street in New York City. According to her naturalization papers from 1937, which are available on ancestry.com, she was born on December 23, 1880 in Sestao, Vizcaya, Spain. She was a widow at the time; her husband had died on April 1, 1910 in Mexico City, having never been in the US. The store of Spanish and Hispanic groceries and dry goods was in the heart of the neighborhood known as Little Spain.

Carmen’s grandson writes:

“Casa Moneo was the trade name for Moneo & Sons, Inc. It was founded in 1929, occupying the ground floor at 218 West 14th Street. The founding family members were: Carmen Barañano Vda. de Moneo, Maria Luisa Moneo and Jesus Moneo. Some one once said: Casa Moneo is not just a store, it’s an institution: At some point in time, the popular La Bilbaina restaurant, founded by the brothers Zalbidea, occupied the first floor above.

My name is Edward Moneo, the oldest son of Jesus Moneo. Although I dabbled with working in the store on weekend and holidays, I really did not look forward to having an active part in it. My grandmother Carmen said: Eduardo, estudia para que no tengas que trabajar detras del mostrador en la tienda, which in English means: Study, so you don’t have to work behind the counter in the store. I took her advice and went to college and became a computer programmer.

When the space became available, the store was moved to 210 West 14th Street.

The store had many items: chorizos and jamon serrano from Spain, bacalao, canned seafood
from Vigo, Spain, specialty food items from Mexico and Argentina, a selection of Spanish perfumes, jewelry from Spain and Mexico, Spanish guitars by Ramirez and Tatay, professional castanets, a large selection of Spanish and Latin American records, espadrilles, greeting cards, etc., etc.

My father insisted on quality. The store always stocked the best items that could be obtained. He made many trips to Spain to visit the suppliers and select the best that they had. An example was the turron (nougat candy) made by Sanchis Mira in Jijona, Alicante, Spain. Casa Moneo introduced this high quality item into the Americas.

When my father retired and died shortly thereafter, my half-brother, Santiago, attempted to expand the business and ran into financial difficulties. The store was closed in 1988.

I too have fond memories of ‘La Casa Moneo’.”