Manuel Cruz dedicates himself to making tattoos everyday for 10 hours at a time. As a member of the Firme Rydaz’, a Bronx-based low rider bicycle crew, he keeps his Mexican traditions alive through work in tattoo and art. Firme Rydaz represent a new generation of the West Coast inspired subculture of cholos. Their movement venerates folkloric and revolutionary Mexican icons like La Virgen de Guadalupe, Pre-Hispanic figures, Mexican muralismo, and Chicano power. Every year they make a pilgrimage for the Virgen de Guadalupe from the Bronx to 14th Street in Manhattan by foot or by bike. It’s a tradition they hope to keep in New York for years to come. Los Firme Rydaz represent an urban tribe whose goals are self-expression and self-empowerment. They stay tough.
Place of Birth: Mexico City
Parents: Manuel Cruz & Ofelia Herrera. Mi jefe es de Matamoros, Puebla y mi jefita de San Miguel Allende, Oaxaca.
Occupation: Airbrush & Tattoos
Aspiration: To represent the culture of Mexico and to do better for my family.
When did you move to NYC and why?
I arrived to NY in 1997 at the age of 17. Vine a NY porque aqui siempre a vivido mi hermano y por buscar una oportunidad en la vida!
Which neighborhood do you live in the city and why?
I live in the Bronx because this is where I first arrived.
Name a New York moment.
The first time I went to the city and there was a Mexican parade.
How do you keep it Mex in the City?
Trying to keep our Mexican culture alive. Yo mantengo y represento la cultura mexicana atravez de mi arte. Los tatuajes que hago trato que siempre lleven el toque mexicano. Algo que me represente y me identifique.
Share the best piece of advice a close relative or someone dear to you gave you?
My dad told me to be loyal and respectful to people.
What’s your drink of choice?
Name three songs on your mind right now:
Serenata sin luna”
Who is your favorite designer?
Homies by David Gonzales
Tell us your favorite Mexican expression.
A bailer y a gozar que el mundo se va acabar.
What Mexican do you most admire and why?
My dad because he is a hard worker and a dedicated person.
Describe a fun or interesting fact about you.
I am active and loyal to art.