How the 'Latin Motown' Is Remixing Itself for a New Generation of Consumers

Fania Records, the label that launched salsa, is now in the DJ booth

A few weeks before Christmas last year, a bit of history was made at a former door factory in New York’s industrial district of Maspeth in Queens. Inside the 50,000-square-foot warehouse—now a performance space called the Knockdown Center—750 fans of Latin pop converged under twisting LED spotlights as DJs Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez and Jose Marquez fed their mixes though the gut-punching PA system. Off the dance floor, a wall-sized installation of classic salsa albums stretched into the distance, offering the opportunity for selfies, while a nearby pop-up shop did a brisk trade in caps, T-shirts and hoodies.