New York City ethnic enclaves

New York City ethnic enclaves

Since its founding in 1625 by Dutch traders as New Amsterdam, New York City has been a major destination for immigrants of many nationalities, naturally forming ethnic enclaves, neighborhoods dominated by one ethnicity.[1][2] Freed African American slaves also moved to New York City in the Great Migration and the later Second Great Migration and formed ethnic enclaves.[3] These neighborhoods are set apart from the main city by differences such as food, goods for sale, or even language. Ethnic enclaves provide inhabitants security in work and social opportunities,[1] but limit economic opportunities, do not encourage the development of English speaking, and keep immigrants in their own culture.[1] As of 2000, 36% of the population of New York City are immigrants.[4] As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.[5] African Americans, Jamaican Americans and Trinidadian Americans have both formed ethnic enclaves in New York. Asian ethnic groups with enclaves in New York include Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Indian Americans, Pakistani Americans and Korean Americans. European ethnic groups with ethnic enclaves include German Americans, Greek Americans, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, and Jewish Americans. Latin American groups with ethnic enclaves include Dominican Americans, Guyanese, Mexican Americans, and Nuyoricans. Middle Eastern ethnic groups have also formed ethnic enclaves.


History of immigration to and ethnic enclaves in New York City

New York City was founded in 1625, by Dutch traders as New Amsterdam.[1] New Amsterdam was a slow growing village, but was diverse, but the Netherlands never had a large emigrant population, and the colony attracted few Dutch and more people from different ethnic groups.[2] As early as 1646, 18 languages were spoken in New Amsterdam, and ethnic groups within New Amsterdam included Dutch, Danes, English, Flemish, French, Germans, Irish, Italians, Norwegians, Poles, Portuguese, Scots, Swede, Walloons, and Bohemians.[6] The young, diverse village also became a seafarer's town, with taverns and smugglers.[2] After Peter Stuyvesant became Director, New Amsterdam began to grow more quickly, achieving a population of 1,500, and growing to 2,000 by 1655 and almost to 9,000 in 1664, when the British seized the colony, renaming it New York.[7]

Colonial New York City was also a center of religious diversity, including one of the first Jewish congregations, along with Philadelphia, Savannah, and Newport.[8]

African and Caribbean

African and Afro-Caribbean people have many ethnic enclaves in New York City. Groups with ethnic enclaves include African-American, Jamaican, other West Indians and West African.

Stores in Le Petit Senegal

There is at least one community of West Africans in New York—Le Petit Senegal in Harlem, Manhattan.[9] The enclave is situated on 116th Street between St. Nicholas and 8th Avenues, and is home to a large number of Francophone West Africans.[10] Many natives also speak Wolof, an African language which is spoken alongside French in Senegal, and the neighborhood also has residents from countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Mali.[10]

African American

The Apollo Theater on 125th Street in Harlem; the Hotel Theresa is visible in the background.

The first recorded African Americans were brought to the present-day United States in 1619 as slaves.[11] New York State began emancipating slaves in 1799, and in 1841, all slaves in New York State were freed, and many of New York's emancipated slaves lived or moved to in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.[12][13] All slaves in the United States were later freed in 1865, with the end of the American Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.[14] After the Civil War, African Americans left the South, where slavery had been the strongest, in large numbers.[3] These movements are now known as the Great Migration, during the 1910s and 1920s and the Second Great Migration, from the end of World War II until 1970.[3][15]

After arriving in New York, the African Americans formed neighborhoods, partially due to racism of the landlords at the time.[3] The socioeconomic center of these neighborhoods, and all of "Black America", was Harlem, in Northern Manhattan.[16] Hamilton Heights, on Harlem's western side, was a nicer part of Harlem, and Sugar Hill, named because its inhabitants enjoyed the "sweet life", was the nicest part.[17][18]

In the 1930s, after the A train opened, Harlem residents began to leave crowded Harlem for Brooklyn.[19] The first neighborhood African Americans moved to in large numbers was Bedford-Stuyvesant, composed of the neighborhoods Bedford, Stuyvesant, Weeksville (which had an established African American community by the time of the New York Draft Riots), and Ocean Hill.[19] From Bedford-Stuyvesant, African Americans moved into the surrounding neighborhoods, including Crown Heights, and Brownsville.[20][21] After World War II a phenomenon now known as "white flight" took place all over North America, and Brooklyn was no exception. Neighborhoods that experienced this include Canarsie, Flatbush, and East Flatbush.[22][23][24]

Queens also experienced "white flight".[25] Jamaica and South Jamaica both underwent ethnic change.[25] Some of Queens' African American neighborhoods are housing projects or housing cooperatives, such as LeFrak City.[26] Other African American neighborhoods include Laurelton, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Springfield Gardens, and St. Albans.[25][27][28][29][30]

The Bronx experienced "white flight" as well, but in mostly in the 1970s, and mostly in the South Bronx.[31]

An enclave of Liberians developed in Staten Island at the end of the 20th century.

Caribbean American

According to the 2010 US Census data on there are approximately 370,000 (16.4%) Caribbean descendants in brooklyn. That figure includes persons who identify with the Dominican Republic (3.3%), but does not include the (7.4%) Puerto Rican population. Including Puerto Ricans there are approximately 560,000 (23.8%) persons of caribbean descent in Brooklyn. Similar, but not identical demographics in America can be found in Miami, but there are not as many Cubans in New York.


West Indian parade in Crown Heights

New York State has the largest population of Jamaican Americans in the United States.[32] Brooklyn, has a 3.5% Jamaican population. In 1655, Jamaica was captured by the British, who brought African slaves in large numbers to work on plantations.[32] The African slaves were emancipated in 1838, and owners starting paying wages to workers, who were now free to immigrate to the United States.[32] Many Jamaicans immigrated in the years following 1944, when the United States economy was rebuilding from World War II, seeing opportunity.[32] After 1965, when immigration quotas were lifted, Jamaican immigration skyrocketed again.[33]

Jamaican neighborhoods include Queens Village and Jamaica in Queens; Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn; and Wakefield and Tremont in The Bronx.[23][24][32][34][35][36][37]


According to the 2000 census, there are about 200,000 Haitians/Haitian Americans in Brooklyn, showing that it is home to the largest number of Haitian immigrants in New York City.[38] The neighborhood that has the largest Haitian community in New York is Flatbush, Brooklyn. The 2010 US Census indicates that 3% of Brooklynites are of Haitian descent. On Flatbush Avenue, Nostrand Avenue and Church Avenue you can find Haitian businesses, cuisine’s, music and etc. Other prominent Haitian neighborhoods include East Flatbush, Canarsie, and Kensington in Brooklyn and Springfield Gardens, Queens Village, Cambria Heights in Queens.

Asian American


Main articles: Chinatown, Manhattan; Chinatown, Flushing; and Chinatown, Brooklyn

An intersection in Manhattan Chinatown

The New York metropolitan area contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, enumerating 665,714 individuals as of the 2009 American Community Survey Census statistical data,[39] including at least 7 Chinatowns, comprising the original Manhattan Chinatown, two in Queens (the Flushing Chinatown and the Elmhurst Chinatown), three in Brooklyn (the Sunset Park Chinatown, the Avenue U Chinatown, and the Bensonhurst Chinatown), and one in Edison, New Jersey, not to mention fledgling ethnic Chinese enclaves emerging throughout the New York metropolitan area. Chinese Americans, as a whole, have had a (relatively) long tenure in New York City. The first Chinese immigrants came to Lower Manhattan around 1870, looking for the "gold" America had to offer.[40] By 1880, the enclave around Five Points was estimated to have from 200 to as many as 1,100 members.[40] However, the Chinese Exclusion Act, which went into effect in 1882, caused an abrupt decline in the number of Chinese who immigrated to New York and the rest of the United States.[40] Later, in 1943, the Chinese were given a small quota, and the community's population gradually increased until 1968, when the quota was lifted and the Chinese American population skyrocketed.[40]

Manhattan Chinatown

The Manhattan Chinatown (simplified Chinese: 纽约华埠 ; traditional Chinese: 紐約華埠; pinyin: Niŭyuē Huá Bù) is home to the largest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere[41] and is one of the oldest ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of Asia. Within Manhattan's expanding Chinatown lies a "Little Fuzhou" on East Broadway and surrounding streets, occupied predominantly by immigrants from the Fujian Province of Mainland China. Areas surrounding the "Little Fuzhou" consist mostly of Cantonese immigrants from Guangdong Province, the earlier Chinese settlers, and in some areas moderately of Cantonese immigrants. In the past few years, however, the Cantonese dialect that has dominated Chinatown for decades is being rapidly swept aside by Mandarin, the national language of China and the lingua franca of most of the latest Chinese immigrants.[42] The energy and population of Manhattan's Chinatown are fueled by relentless, massive immigration from Mainland China, both legal and illegal in origin, propagated in large part by New York's high density, extensive mass transit system, and huge economic marketplace.

The early settlers of Manhattan's Chinatown were mostly from Taishan and Hong Kong of the Guangdong Province of China, which are the Cantonese speakers and also from Shanghai.[43] They form most of the Chinese population of the area surrounded by Mott and Canal Streets.[43] The later settlers, from Fuzhou, Fujian, form the Chinese population of the area bounded by East Broadway.[43] Chinatown's modern borders are roughly Grand Street on the north, Broadway on the west, Chrystie Street on the east, and East Broadway to the south.[43]

Queens Library in Flushing Chinatown

The present Flushing Chinatown, in the Flushing area of the borough of Queens was predominantly non-Hispanic white until the 1970s when Taiwanese began a surge of immigration, followed by other groups of Chinese. By 1990, Asians constituted 41% of the population of the core area of Flushing, with Chinese in turn representing 41% of the Asian population.[44] However, ethnic Chinese are constituting an increasingly dominant proportion. A 1986 estimate by the Flushing Chinese Business Association approximated 60,000 Chinese in Flushing alone.[45] Mandarin Chinese (including Northeastern Mandarin), Fuzhou dialect, Min Nan Fujianese, Wu Chinese, Beijing dialect, Wenzhounese, Shanghainese, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and English are all prevalently spoken in Flushing Chinatown. Even the relatively obscure Dongbei style of cuisine indigenous to Northeast China is now available in Flushing Chinatown.[46]

Elmhurst, another neighborhood in the borough of Queens, also has a large and growing Chinese community.[47][48] Previously a small area with Chinese shops on Broadway between 81st Street and Cornish Avenue, this newly evolved second Chinatown in Queens has now expanded to 45th Avenue and Whitney Avenue.

Brooklyn Chinatown

By 1988, 90% of the storefronts on Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park, in southern Brooklyn, had been abandoned. Chinese immigrants then moved into this area, not only new arrivals from China, but also members of Manhattan's Chinatown, seeking refuges from high rents, who fled to the cheap property costs and rents of Sunset Park and formed the Brooklyn Chinatown,[49] which now extends for 20 blocks along 8th Avenue, from 42nd to 62nd Streets. This relatively new but rapidly growing Chinatown located in Sunset Park was originally settled by Cantonese immigrants like Manhattan's Chinatown in the past, but is now being repopulated by Fujianese (including Fuzhou people) and Wenzhounese[50][51][52] immigrants.

A second Chinatown has developed in southern Brooklyn, on Avenue U in the Homecrest area, as evidenced by the growing number of Chinese-run fruit markets, restaurants, beauty and nail salons, and computer and general electronics dealers.

Nearby in southern Brooklyn in Bensonhurst, below the D-line elevated subway along on 86th Street between 18th Avenue and Stillwell Avenue, is an emerging Brooklyn's third Chinatown. The second Chinatown and the third emerging Chinatown of Brooklyn are now increasingly carrying the majority of the Cantonese population in Brooklyn as the Cantonese dissipate from the main Brooklyn Chinatown in Sunset Park. With the migration of the Cantonese in Brooklyn now to Bensonhurst, and along with new Chinese immigration, small clusters of Chinese people and businesses in different parts of Bensonhurst have grown integrating with other ethnic groups and businesses. It is possible that a few more small Chinatowns might form as the Chinese population and number of Chinese businesses continue to grow in various sections of Bensonhurst as it can be witnessed.[53][54][55][56][57][58]


Little Manila on Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside, Queens, New York

In Woodside, Queens, 13,000 out of 85,000 (~15%) of the population is Filipino.[59] Woodside's "Little Manila" extends along Roosevelt Avenue.[59]

The first Filipino settlement in the United States was Saint Malo, Louisiana, established in 1763.[60] Mass immigration started in the late 19th century, to service the plantations of Hawaii and the farms of California.[61] The immigration quota was lowered to 50 Filipinos a year, however, Filipinos in the United States Navy were exempt from this.[61] Therefore, Filipinos settled near Naval Bases and formed ethnic enclaves due to discrimination.[61] The quota was raised in the second half of the 20th century, starting another wave of Filipino immigration, looking for political freedom and opportunity, and one which has extended until present.[61]


Indian Americans are another group that has settled in New York City, forming a few different ethnic enclaves. One of these is called "Curry Row" and is in the East Village, Manhattan, centered on 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, another is called "Curry Hill" or "Little India", centered on Lexington Avenue between 26th and 31st Streets, and another is in Jackson Heights, Queens, centered around 74th Street between Roosevelt and 37th Avenue.[62][63]

Richmond Hills is another "Little India" community. This area has the largest Sikh population in the New York City area. It is also known as "Little Punjab".

There have been three major waves of Indian immigrants, the first between 1899 and 1913, the second after India was granted independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, and the third after the immigration quota for individual countries was lifted in 1965.[64]

As of 2010, New York City metropolitan area contains the largest Asian Indian population in North America.


Pakistani Americans have a large presence in New York, with the city (along with New Jersey) hosting the largest Pakistani population than any other region in the United States. The population of Pakistanis is estimated at around 35,000; they are settled primarily in the boroughs of Queens (more specifically Jackson Heights) and Brooklyn (Coney Island Avenue).[65] These numbers make Pakistani Americans the fifth largest Asian American group in New York City. As of 2006, 50,000 people of Pakistani descent were said to be living in New York City. This figure rises to 70,000 when illegal immigrants are also included.[66] Pakistani migration to New York has occurred heavily only since the past two to three decades, reflecting the history of Pakistani migration elsewhere in the country; "Little Pakistans" or ethnic enclaves populated by Pakistanis tend to be characterised and populated by other South Asian Americans as well, including Indians and Bangladeshis and thus are dominated by South Asian culture. Pakistani restaurants, grocery markets and halal shops are abound in such areas.


32nd street in Manhattan's Koreatown, 2009.

Koreans started immigrating with the signing of the Korean-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, which allowed them to do so freely.[67] The first wave of Korean immigration lasted from 1903–1905, when 7,000 Koreans came to the United States.[67] After this first wave, the 1907 "Gentlemens Agreement" of President Theodore Roosevelt restricted Korean immigration to the United States. President Harry Truman repealed this in 1948.[67] and from 1951–1964, another wave of Koreans migrated to the United States, and a third wave lasted from 1969-1987. As economic conditions improved in Korea, many Koreans chose to stay.[67]

Korean communities in New York include Koreatown in Manhattan, Bedford Park in the Bronx, and Sunnyside, Woodside, Elmhurst, Flushing, Bayside, Douglaston, and Little Neck, in Queens.[68][69][70][71]


There is a significant community of Bangladeshis in New York City, a majority of those reside in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. The Bangladeshis in New York tend to form enclaves in neighborhoods predominantly populated by Asian Indians. These enclaves include one in Kensington, featuring Bangladeshi grocers, hairdressers, and halal markets, one in Jackson Heights, and one on Hillside Avenue, in Queens. As well as the Bangladeshis living alongside the Indians, they, in fact, own many of the Indian restaurants in Brooklyn and Queens.


Many European ethnic groups have formed enclaves In New York. These include Albanian, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian.


A street in Manhattan's Little Italy. Chinatown's influence can clearly be seen, but one can see there is a small Italian community left.

At 8.3% of the population, Italian Americans compose the largest European American ethnic group in New York City, and are the largest ethnic group in Staten Island (Richmond County), making it the most Italian county in the United States, with 37.7% of the population reporting Italian American ancestry.[72][73]

Though Italian immigration began as early as the 17th century, with Pietro Cesare Alberti, from Venice, being the first reported Italian living in the New Amsterdam colony, effective immigration started around 1860 with the founding of the Kingdom of Italy. Italian immigration skyrocketed, and lasted that way until 1921, when Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act that slowed the immigration of Italians.[74] Most of the Italian immigrants to New York were from Southern Italy, from cities, Sicily, or Naples.[74]

At one time, Little Italy, in Manhattan, had over 40,000 Italians and covered seventeen blocks.[75] Now, Chinatown has taken over all of what used to be Little Italy except for a two block area on Mulberry Street between Kenmare and Grand streets, with about 5,000 Italian Americans.[75] Morris Park, Bronx has a large Italian population.[75] Other Italian neighborhoods include Fordham, Bronx, around Arthur Avenue; Pelham Bay, Bronx; Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; South Brooklyn, Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, the city's largest Italian neighborhood (as of 2009); Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; Astoria, Howard Beach, and Ozone Park, Queens.[76][77][78][79][80][81]


A street in Clinton, Manhattan

Irish Americans make up approximately 5.3% of New York City, composing the second largest non-Hispanic white ethnic group.[72] Irish Americans first came to America in colonial years (pre-1776), with immigration rising in the 1820s due to poor living conditions in Ireland.[82] But the largest wave of Irish immigration came after the Great Famine in 1845.[82]

After they came, Irish immigrants often crowded into subdivided homes, only meant for one family, and cellars, attics, and alleys all became home for some Irish immigrants.[83] In fact, New York once had more Irishmen than Dublin itself.[83] The Irish in New York developed a particular reputation for joining the New York City Police Department as well as the New York Fire Department.

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was originally developed as a resort for wealthy Manhattanites in 1879, but instead became a family-oriented Italian- and Irish-American community.[76] Another large Irish-American community is located in Woodlawn, Bronx, but Woodlawn also has a mix of different ethnic groups.[84] One large Irish community in Manhattan was Hell's Kitchen.[85] Other sizable Irish-American communities include Belle Harbor and Breezy Point, both in Queens.[86][87]


Orchard Street in the Lower East Side

The first Jews arrived in New York City in 1654, when it was still New Amsterdam,[88] from Recife (Brazil) following the First Anglo-Dutch War to escape the Inquisition, resulting a decade later in the first known civil rights case in the New World when a Jew named Asser Levy successfully appealed to the New Amsterdam colonial council for the right to serve in the army.[89] Later German immigration brought large communities of Ashkenazi Jews. Starting then until 1820 was the first wave of Jewish immigration to America, bringing fewer than 15,000 Jews.[90] The first wave of Jewish people were fleeing religious persecution in Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Bordeaux, Jamaica, England, Curaçao, Holland, and Poland, and founded communities in New York, Newport, Charleston, Savannah, and Philadelphia.[90] From 1820 to 1880 came the second wave, in which a quarter million German Jews migrated to America.[90] A third major wave of Sephardi Jews coming from the Balkans and the Middle East after the Turkish revolution.[90] The outbreak of World War I and the Holocaust caused many German Jews to immigrate to the United States.[90] During this period, 1881 to 1924, over 2,000,000 Eastern European Jews immigrated, fleeing anti-semitic persecution in their home countries.[90] A later wave from Eastern Europe, from 1985–1990, over 140,000 Jews immigrated from the former Soviet Union.[90] 50,000 Jews a year still immigrate to the United States.[90]

New York today has the second largest number of Jews in a metropolitan area, behind Gush Dan (the area including Tel Aviv) in Israel.[91] Borough Park, Brooklyn, (also known as Boro Park) is one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the world.[92] Crown Heights, Brooklyn, also has a large Orthodox Jewish community.[93] Flatbush, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Midwood, Brooklyn, Forest Hills, Queens, Fresh Meadows, Queens and the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, Manhattan, are also home to Jewish communities.[94][95][96][97] Another neighborhood, the Lower East Side, though known as a mixing pot for people of many nationalities, including German, Puerto Rican, Italian, and Chinese, was primarily a Jewish neighborhood, though now it has become primarily Chinese.[98]


Brooklyn has several Russian American communities, including Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, and the largest Russian-speaking community in the United States, Brighton Beach.[99][100][101][102][103] Many Russians in New York are Jews from the former Soviet Union, which broke up in 1991, and most still retain at least part of their Russian culture.[103] The primary language of Brighton Beach is Russian, as seen from businesses, clubs, and advertisements.[103] A significant portion of the community is not proficient in English, and about 98% speak Russian as their native language.[103]


Polish American communities in New York include Greenpoint, Brooklyn ("Little Poland"), North Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Maspeth, Queens, and Ridgewood, Queens, around Fresh Pond Road & Forest Avenue.[104][105][106][107]


A Greek restaurant in Astoria

Astoria, Queens, is home to the largest concentration of Greek Americans in New York.[108] When one would walk down a street in the 1970s, one would see Greek restaurants, Hellenic clubs, and many Greek-owned businesses.[108] Now, Astoria has become more diverse, with Mexican Americans, Colombian Americans, Pakistani Americans, and Russian Americans all calling Astoria home.[108] Many Greeks are leaving Astoria for Whitestone, Queens, but many of the buildings in Astoria are still owned by Greeks.[108]

The largest Greek migration to the United States began around 1910 and ended around 1930, with most migrating for the economic opportunity, but as living conditions in Greece improved in the 1980s, Greek migration slowed.[108] However, Astoria remains New York's "Little Greece".[108]


Albanians first immigrated to the United States from Southern Italy, Greece, and Kosovo in the 1920s. Later, in the 1990s, after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, many Albanians flocked to the United States.[109] Two neighborhoods that became Albanian are Belmont (especially near Arthur Avenue) and Morris Park (especially around Lydig Avenue, the most highly populated Albanian American community in New York). Both are 20th-century Italian-American neighborhoods in the Bronx.[110][111]


There is a small Ukrainian American community in the East Village, centered around Second Avenue between 6th and 10th Streets.[112] The community was there when the East Village was still referred to as the Lower East Side, and was a moderately large community.[112] Though it has since declined, the number of Ukrainians in the neighborhood may have been as high as 60,000 after World War II.[112]


The Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District runs from Wyckoff Avenue to Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood.

Germans starting immigrating to the United States in the 17th century, and until the late 19th century, when Germany was the country of origin for the largest number of immigrants to the United States.[113] In fact, Over one million Germans entered the United States in the 1850s alone.[113]

German American ethnic enclaves in New York City include the now-defunct Little Germany, in Manhattan and the extant Yorkville, Manhattan.[114] Little Germany, or as it was called in German, Kleindeutschland, was positioned in the Lower East Side, around Tompkins Square, in what would later become known as Alphabet City.[114] The General Slocum disaster in 1904 wiped out the social core of the neighborhood, and many Germans moved to Yorkville.[114] Yorkville, part of the Upper East Side, is bounded (roughly) by 79th Street to the south, 96th Street and Spanish Harlem to the north, the East River to the east, and Third Avenue to the west.[115] The main artery of the neighborhood, 86th Street, has been called the "German Broadway".[115] For much of the 20th century, Yorkville was inhabited by German and Hungarian Americans.[115]

The Queens neighborhoods of Ridgewood and Glendale include small populations of Germans. Ridgewood notably includes Gottschee expatriates from modern-day Slovenia.


Lapskaus Boulevard in Brooklyn recalls a Norwegian enclave, which became mostly assimilated in the late 20th century. This neighborhood also hosted New York's principal Finnish enclave.

Latin American

Many ethnic enclaves in New York City are Latin American-centric. Latin American ethnic groups with enclaves in New York include Argentinians, Brazilians, Colombians, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Haitians, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans.

More than half of the population Jackson Heights, Queens, are immigrants, primarily South Asians, and Latin Americans, including Argentinians, Colombians, and Uruguayans.[116]

Most Brazilian Americans in New York can be found in two areas.[117] The first and primary of these is Astoria, Queens, and a section of West 46th Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.[117] In Astoria, the area around 36th Avenue and 30th Street is the most Brazilian in character.[117] However, this area is not solely a Brazilian neighborhood, as it is also a Bengali, Pakistani, Indian, Mexican, Arab, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Dominican, and Italian neighborhood.[117] The top three languages in the area are (in this order): Bengali, Spanish, and Portuguese (the native language of Brazilians).[117] The other Brazilian neighborhood, 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, was officially named "Little Brazil", but resident Brazilians call it "Rua 46."[117]

One of many Latin American groups represented in New York, Colombian Americans have a very strong presence in Jackson Heights and a nearby neighborhood, Elmhurst, especially along Roosevelt Avenue.[118][119]

New York City has a few Guyanese communities, both primarily Indo-Guyanese.[120] One is in Richmond Hill, Queens, on Liberty Ave between Lefferts and Van Wyck, and the other is in Ozone Park, Queens, around 101 and Liberty Avenues.[120][121] The Indo-Guyanese originated in India.[120] After the abolition of slavery, South Asians were brought to Guyana to work as indentured servants.[120] These South Asians were Hindu and spoke Caribbean Hindi.[120] The descendants of these indentured servants later immigrated to New York.[120]

New York City has a few Ecuadorian American ethnic enclaves. A part of Southside Williamsburg in Brooklyn is Ecuadorian in nature, with Spanish being the language spoken on the streets, bodegas advertising goods in Spanish, and churches advertising bingo games in Spanish.[122] Other Ecuadorian neighborhoods include Tremont, in the Bronx, and several neighborhoods in Queens, including Jackson Heights, Corona, and Ridgewood, have significant Ecuadorian communities.[123][124][125][126]


The Hub is the retail heart of the South Bronx, a Hispanic neighborhood with a large Dominican population.

Immigration records of Dominicans in the United States date from the late 19th century, with New York City having a Dominican community since the 1930s. Large scale immigration of Dominicans began after 1961 onward when dictator Rafael Trujillo died.[127] Other catalysts in Dominican immigration were the invasion of Santo Domingo in 1965, and the regime of Joaquín Balaguer from 1966-1978.[127] In part due to these catalysts, starting in the 1970s and lasting until the early 1990s, Dominicans were the largest group of immigrants coming into New York City.[128] Now, Dominicans compose 7% of New York's population and are the largest immigrant group.[129] Major Dominican neighborhoods in New York include Washington Heights, Manhattan, Bushwick, Brooklyn, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Corona, Queens, Sunnyside, Queens, Woodside, Queens, and the South Bronx, particularly the Soundview, Hunts Point, and Fordham-Bedford sections.[127][128][129][130]

The Dominican population of Woodside is concentrated on three blocks of identical apartment buildings.[128] More immigrants groups are found in large numbers in Woodside, including Irish, Chinese, Koreans, Islamics, Mexicans, and Colombians.[128] Another Dominican neighborhood, the South Bronx, became infamous for poverty and arson, a lot by landlords seeking insurance money on "coffin ships" of buildings.[131] By 1975, the South Bronx was the most devastated urban landscape in America, and had experienced the largest population drop in urban history, given the exception of the aftermath of war.[132] The South Bronx has started to recover, and most of it has recovered from the damage done in the 1970s.[132] Also, by 1984, the traditionally heavily Italian neighborhood of Corona had instead become heavily Dominican, and Corona experienced rapid economic growth - 59% - as compared to the rest of the city experiencing 7%, as well as having the most overcrowded school district in the city (as of 2006).[125] Washington Heights is another Dominican neighborhood, but the first Hispanics to call Washington Heights "home" were Puerto Ricans and Cubans, after World War II, while Dominicans and Mexicans came later.[133] The Dominican population of Washington Heights is significant, and candidates for political office in the Dominican Republic will run parades up Broadway through the 150s and 160s.[133]

In some of these neighborhoods, shops advertise in Spanish and English, the Dominican flag flies proudly from windows, storefronts, and balconies, and the primary language is Dominican Spanish.[129]


Mexican Americans, as of 2003, were New York's fastest growing ethnic group.[134] Close to 80% of New Yorker Mexicans were born outside the United States, and Mexicans are now New York's third largest Hispanic group, after Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, and more than 60% of Mexican New Yorkers reside in Brooklyn and Queens.[134] In Brooklyn, Sunset Park and Bushwick have the highest concentration of Mexicans, and Crown Heights has a large Mexican population, while in Queens Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights have the largest Mexican populations, while Corona and Kew Gardens also have sizeable communities.[134] Spanish Harlem has the largest Mexican community in Manhattan, around 116th Street and 2nd Avenue.[134][135]

Puerto Rican

A café in Loisaida

Puerto Ricans have been immigrating to New York since 1838, in 1910 only 500 Puerto Ricans lived in New York, but by 1970 that number skyrocketed to over 800,000, and 40% of those lived in the Bronx.[136]

Brooklyn has several neighborhoods with a Puerto Rican presence. These include Bushwick, East Williamsburg, East New York, Cypress Hills, Williamsburg, and Sunset Park.[23][137][138][139]

Ridgewood, Queens, also has a significant Puerto Rican population, as does neighboring community Bushwick, Brooklyn.[140]

Puerto Rican neighborhoods in Manhattan include Spanish Harlem and Loisaida.[141][142] Spanish Harlem was "Italian Harlem" from the 1880s until the 1940s.[141] By 1940, however, the name "Spanish Harlem" was becoming widespread, and by 1950, the area was predominately Puerto Rican and African American.[141] Loisaida, the Puerto Rican community east of Avenue A, is still Latino in character, despite the "gentrification" that has affected the East Village and the Lower East Side since the 1960s.[142]

In some places in the South Bronx, Spanish is the primary language.[136] Throughout the 1970s, the South Bronx became known as the epitome of urban decay, but has since made a recovery.[132]

Middle Eastern

Several Middle Eastern ethnic groups have immigrated to New York, including Egyptian and Israeli, forming ethnic enclaves.

Astoria, Queens, has an Egyptian American community, dubbed "Little Egypt", centered on Steinway Street between Broadway and Astoria Boulevard.[143] It features many Middle Eastern cafés, restaurants, and shops, including other business from countries like Afghanistan, Morocco, Lebanon, and Syria.[143]

North Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is an ethnic enclave centered around Israeli Americans.[144] There is also a small community of Israelis centered around Kings Highway, also in Brooklyn.[145] Israelis first immigrated to the United States after 1948, when Israel won its independence from the United Kingdom, and the United States has experienced two large waves of immigration from Israel.[146] The first was during the 1950s and early 1960s, 300,000 Israelis immigrated to the United States, and another wave, starting in the mid-1970s and lasting through the present, in which 100,000 to 500,000 Israelis have immigrated to the United States.

There is also a significant Middle Eastern population in Midwood, Brooklyn.[146]

See also


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