Letter from the Editor
This article was created as part of a series for our campaign, #LoveKnowsNoWall, aimed at uniting people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion, or creed. It’s meant to remind us that NYC is full of diverse people who love living together.
To explore this theme, we hit the streets of NYC, one of America’s most diverse cities, and spoke with hundreds of New Yorkers across the city’s five boroughs. We visited the most iconic locations and ventured into the heart of NYC’s ‘littles’. We asked them what their favorite spots are and heard incredible stories about the journeys they took to arrive in the Big Apple. (Learn more here.)
To help share these extraordinary narratives, we’ve captured the inspiring stories of five remarkable individuals, each of whom come from a different background, all with one unifying characteristic – a shared love for their home, New York City. (You can check out the video here.) We also compiled the information from this article into an infographic. You can check it out here. It acts as an ultimate guide to navigating and discovering culture in NYC.
Let’s see New York City through each other’s eyes.
Over the last four centuries, New York’s cultural communities have played a revolutionary role in fostering the state’s growth, vibrancy, and success. Established by the Dutch as a trading post in 1625, New York quickly opened its arms to the world, becoming a major gateway for immigrants. Viewed by many as one of today’s most incredible cities, New York symbolizes the beauty of embracing diversity.
[bctt tweet=”Give me your tired, your poor, I lift my lamp beside the golden door. – Lady Liberty”]
Today, over 200 nationalities reside within the state making it one of the most ethnically and racially diverse places in the world. According to the latest Census Bureau reports, over 38% of New York City’s citizens are foreign born. In another country wide study, based on 2010 census data, New York City ranked fourth as the most diverse city in America.
You’ll notice that in the infographic above, New York City does not rank high in terms of neighborhood diversity. In fact, for this category, it drops to 47% – ranking 49th. This is a reflection of the city’s ethnic enclaves: neighborhoods dominated by one ethnicity.
Spanning across New York City’s five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island – these clusters were initially formed for various reasons. Nonetheless, since their establishment, they’ve grown into wonderful cultural hubs and within each community, a prevailing sense of unity and support can be found.
Wander to Richmond Hill in Queens and you’ll find yourself immersed in Guyanese culture. Hop over to Brighton Beach and dig into the best stuffed pirozhok you’ll ever eat outside of Eastern Europe. Step off the 7 train at Jackson Heights’ Little Columbia and you’ll soon be walking to the beat of booming salsa and cumbia music.
From theatre to music, dance to literature, fashion to food – New York hosts a vibrant mix of world influence. Allow the next several paragraphs to take you on a walk through New York’s eclectic neighborhoods.
Centered around West 116th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem, Little Senegal, or, Le Petit Senegal, is home to African immigrants from Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, and other West African nations. Throughout the years, Harlem has served as a key site, making New York history. It played a huge role in the Harlem Renaissance, paving the way for a rebirth of African American arts. It was also an integral location during the Civil Rights and Black Arts movements.
[bctt tweet=”Our mission is to confront isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. -Kofi Annan”]
Senegalese Americans uphold a strong sense of business, as many came to America in hopes of jumping into the city’s booming economy. Businesses offer everything from beautiful, traditional African clothing to a wide array of electronics, including cell phone plans with discounted rates for calls to West Africa. There are also dozens of Senegalese owned beauty parlors and restaurants spread throughout the neighborhood. However, despite their drive to make a living in the big city, many African immigrants make it a point to uphold traditional West African values, specifically those related to the importance of family.
Mosques along the block fill daily with men and women wearing Senegalese attire and restaurants buzz with diners chatting in Wolof. The community has a comforting air of home. Events such as the Senegalese Independence Day celebration and an annual soccer tournament help keep the community close to their roots. Restaurants like Le Baobab and Africa Kine serve delicious traditional Senegalese food. Red Rooster, owned by an Ethiopian born/ Swiss raised chef, specializes in African soul food. There’s also a permanent outdoor market, Malcolm Shabazz, that offers an array of fantastic local fare as well as traditional African goods and souvenirs.
While a vibrant African-American culture still thrives in Harlem, an influx of African immigrants over recent years has added to the area’s liveliness. West African culture certainly has its own distinct traditions, but there is a strong unity between all the black communities living Harlem. In this sense, Little Senegal is an exceptional example of integration and acceptance.
West 116th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem
- Experience Little Senegal’s culture at the Senegalese Independence Day celebration every April 4th, or at one of the community soccer tournaments.
- Malcolm Shabazz is your one-stop-shop for African souvenirs and traditional African food.
- Hit up Le Baobab and Africa Kine for delicious Senegalese food.
A wonderful slice of Seoul, Koreatown (aka, K-Town), is a highly concentrated strip along West 32nd Street in Manhattan. Korean restaurants, neon-lit bars, karaoke clubs, 24 hour spas – the neighborhood thrives with culture and life morning to night.
[bctt tweet=”Defeating racism, intolerance, and all forms of discrimination will liberate us. -Ban Ki-moon”]
New York hosts the second largest Korean population in the US. In addition to K-Town, many Korean Americans also reside in Flushing, Queens. In fact, there’s a bit of an ongoing debate as to which enclave boasts the best food – Flushing or K-Town.
While it’s a hard question to answer, K-Town is certainly the more booming epicenter in terms of overall Korean culture and even those living in Flushing frequent the area.
West 32nd Street between Fifth Avenue and the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Broadway, in Manhattan.
- New York hosts the second largest Korean population in the entire US.
- Enjoy a night out at one of K-Town’s hip karaoke clubs, followed by 24 hour Korean BBQ – sing your heart out, then eat your heart out!
From the 1880s to 1940s, a community of mostly Arab Americans flourished in the area that would soon later become the site of the World Trade Center. Like the millions of immigrants who entered the United States through Ellis Island, those who came from Greater Syria (which included areas of today’s Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan) emigrated for various reasons, many avoiding Ottoman (later Turkish) army conscription, oppression, or poverty. They moved to this Lower Manhattan neighborhood, around Washington Street, with the hope of opportunity.
Dozens of shops, an Arab-Christian church, restaurants offering kibbee and Arabic coffee – this enclave was in full swing for years. By 1908, over 70 linen business were operating in Little Syria. However, in 1930, New York’s skyscraper era was ushered in, destroying 5 of the tenements Syrians called home. The final push to Little Syria commenced with the construction of the Brooklyn battery tunnel, forcing the neighborhood to disseminate. Today, only three buildings from the era can be found: St. George’s Melkite Church, a tenement, and the Downtown Community House.
[bctt tweet=”Catch MoMA’s screening of Stars in Broad Daylight by Oussama Mohammad, Feb. 20th”]
Although the initial Little Syria has mostly vanished in terms of buildings, the culture and legacy still live on. Today, Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue is home to many of New York’s Arab Americans. In light of recent events, many museums and cultural institutions have also made it a point to acknowledge the amazing contributions of the Arab American community. Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration recently featured an exhibit, Little Syria, NY: An Immigrant Community’s Life and Legacy, and the Museum of Modern Art is currently dedicating its entire 5th floor to showcase the art and works of artists from some of the majority-Muslim nations whose citizens have been affected by the recent immigration ban.
The original Little Syria, once in Lower Manhattan, has mostly vanished as a result of the city’s skyscraper era construction. Today, most of New York’s Arab American community live in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue and Bay Bridge areas.
- Catch MoMA’s screening of “Stars in Broad Daylight” (1988), by Oussama Mohammad, a Syrian filmmaker exiled in Paris, on February 20th, 2017.
- There are three buildings from Little Syria that still stand today: St. George’s Melkite Church, one tenement, and the Downtown Community House.
Yemeni American Community
The first Yemenis migrated to America in small numbers, during the late 1800s, settling alongside early Syrio-Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants. Following the construction that disrupted Little Syria, many Arab Americans were forced to relocate to other parts of the city. Many moved to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and the New York metro area. In 1965, New York saw a big surge in Yemeni immigrants, and again in the 1990s, after many Yemenis lost their jobs as a result of the first Gulf War.
Most of the Yemenis who moved to America were men. They came in search of work to support their families back at home. Today, most of New York’s Yemeni American population have established a well knit community in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
[bctt tweet=”We want to say to the world: No ban, no racism; we want to protect the Constitution. -Nader Moharram”]
New York’s Yemeni community is predominately Muslim, both Sunni and Shi’ah. Some strictly follow halal regulations, while others are more flexible in this regard. There are two Yemeni mosques in Brooklyn: one on Atlantic Avenue and the other on 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge.
Most Yemeni Americans are merchants who own and run their own stores in neighborhoods across Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. A handful of Yemeni restaurants can be found throughout New York City; however, Brooklyn’s Yemen Cafe remains a favorite among the locals.
The national dish of Yemen, widely cooked in the US, is saltah, which literally translates to ‘soup’. While there are many varieties, the traditional version is a heavily spiced chicken or lamb stew served with lentils, beans, chickpeas, and coriander, all on a bed of rice. Shafut, a refreshing green yogurt soup poured over pieces of bread, is another popular dish. Bread is a huge dietary staple in Yemenis cuisine. Traditional homemade bread, khubz tawwa, is typically baked each morning and meant to last for the entire day’s meals. Lahuh, a pancake-like bread made from sorghum, is eaten on special occasions. Bint al sahn is a sweet bread dipped in honey and clarified butter.
In addition to Arab art exhibits, like the one mentioned above at MoMa, New Yorkers can embrace Arab arts and culture at an annual comedy festival, hosted by the Arab community. Founded in 2003 by comedians Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid, the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival usually takes place every fall. Other institutions dedicated to empowering the Arab community include The Arab American Association of New York and the Muslim Community Network.
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
- Sample traditional fare, like slatah and lahuh, at the famous Yemen Cafe on 5th Avenue.
- Don’t miss the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit, showcasing the art and works of artists from majority-Muslim nations, many of whom’s citizens have been affected by the recent immigration ban.
In the 1880s, immigrants from Naples and Sicily flocked to New York City. Initially, Little Italy was quite large – spanning across 50 blocks. More of a Neapolitan village than a mere neighborhood, the area reached its peak in 1910 and operated with its own language, customs, culture, and financial institutions.
[bctt tweet=”Remember that all of us descended from immigrants and revolutionists. -FDR”]
Made popular by mafia films like The Godfather, today’s Little Italy is mainly centered in and around Mulberry Street in Lower Manhattan. While some parts feel slightly like a tourist trap, there are plenty of authentic spots and the neighborhood lures with its European-feel. Cobblestone streets are full of gelaterias and bakeries, including Ferrara, NYC’s famous Italian bakery that’s been around since 1892. You can also find some of the city’s best Italian dishes in this neighborhood. Rubirosa, one of Little Italy’s most popular restaurants, serves “to die for” meatballs. On Grand Street, you can find the famous DiPalo Fine Foods, a family-owned gastronamia, or Italian market, that has been catering to chefs, tourists, and locals since 1910. The market’s spread represents all 20 regions of Italy, featuring a wide variety of high-quality, handmade cheeses, cured meats, olive oil, speciality vinegars, and much more.
But food isn’t the only draw to Little Italy; the area is also quite popular among fashionistas, boasting some of the best consignment shops and top designer boutiques. In addition, September’s Feast of San Gennaro, a colorful street festival that takes place over the span of 11 days, annually attracts locals and tourists alike. While this festival only comes around once a year, there are several cultural centers dedicated to preserving and educating the public on Italian American history and culture scattered across the city that welcome visitors year round. Such institutions include the Italian American Museum and the Westchester Italian Cultural Center.
Mulberry Street, Lower Manhattan
- Indulge in a cannoli (or three) and some gelato at Little Italy’s famous Italian bakery, Ferrara.
- Sample the best handmade cheeses, cured meats, olive oil, speciality vinegars, and much more at Dipalo Fine Foods.
- Witness Italian American culture come alive during September’s Feast of San Gennaro, a colorful street festival that takes place over the span of 11 days.
New York City is home to several Russian American communities, including South Beach and New Dorp in Staten Island, as well as Bay Ridge, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, and Midwood, all of which are in Brooklyn. The largest, however, is Brooklyn’s southernmost area, Brighton Beach.
Little Odessa, a neighbourhood just blocks from Brighton Beach boardwalk, has been keeping Russian culture alive since the first immigrants settled the area in the 1800s. Also referred to as Little Russia by the Sea, it’s home to the highest concentration of Russian immigrants outside the eastern hemisphere. About 98% of the community speak Russian as a native language and it continues to stand as the preferred dialect, especially in matters of business. Signs, advertisements and newspapers are also most likely to be in written in Cyrillic, an alphabetic writing system used across Slavic languages.
Today, the culture of Little Odessa thrives in its food emporiums serving traditional delicacies, and its odd shops selling everything from Putin mugs and matryoshka nesting dolls to fur coats and Harry Potter novels translated to Cyrillic. There are also luxurious Russian bath houses, serving both locals and tourists, and a James-Bond-like club scene where the Vodka and Cognac flow to the beat of traditional folk dance music.
[bctt tweet=”The American identity has never been a singular one. -Aberjhani”]
Saint-Petersburg Global Trade House, a Russian goods store, is a definite staple of the neighborhood. It’s the perfect spot to find traditional books, music, and videos, as well as translations of popular English works. Brighton Bazaar, on the other hand, is your go-to for Russian speciality foods. You can enjoy hot buffets featuring favorite dishes like stroganoff, chicken kiev, pirozhki, and plov; or, satisfy your sweet tooth with an apple danish or dried fruit cake. One of the most popular sit-down restaurants among locals is Café Restaurant Volna. Winter Garden is another beloved spot to lounge and enjoy Russian cuisine. There are also some very interesting fusion pop ups, such as the ‘At Your Mother-in-Law’ Korean-Uzbek café.
In addition to the live music and dance you’ll find at local bars and clubs, Brighton is also home to the Millennium Theatre, which features many Russian traveling theatre groups. The theatre hosts performances exclusively in Russian, highlighting musical performers, acting groups, and comedy troupes.
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
- New York is home to the highest concentration of Russian immigrants outside the eastern hemisphere.
- Saint-Petersburg Global Trade House, a Russian goods store, is your go-to for Russian books, music, and souvenirs.
- Dig into traditional Russian cuisine at Café Restaurant Volna or head to Brighton Bazaar and hit up one of the hot buffets featuring favorite dishes like stroganoff, chicken kiev, pirozhki, and plov.
In the East Village, around Second Avenue between 6th and 10th Streets, a small Ukrainian American community has planted its roots. During the days when the East Village was still referred to as the Lower East Side, the number of Ukrainian Americans was quite large. Since then, the number has declined quite a bit, but there still remain a few hidden gems that continue to keep the Ukrainian culture alive.
The Ukrainian Museum, dedicated to folk art, ancient documents, and photography, is one of the best places to learn about the Ukraine. Since the 1980s, the Arka Store has been selling authentic Eastern European clothing, souvenirs, and other goods. Their loyal clientele includes locals who have emigrated from Czech Republic, Albania, Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine.
East Village, Second Avenue between 6th and 10th Streets
- Ukrainian Americans were amongst the very first immigrants present in New York City, arriving as early as the 17th century, when the city was called New Amsterdam.
- Learn about Ukrainian art and culture at the Ukrainian Museum located in the East Village.
In the late 1960s, Washington Heights experienced a great influx of Dominicans. Today, the Dominican Republic flag hangs high and Spanish dominates the neighborhood. Street stalls sell Dominican fare and bachata livens up the streets from morning to night. The Heights is home to one of the greatest concentrations of Dominicans outside of the Dominican Republic.
[bctt tweet=”The president, cabinet, and Congress are not America. We are America. -America Ferrara”]
Among the many specialty restaurants, El Malecon is favorite, serving up classic Latin dishes such as mangu (mashed green plantains) and sancocho, a Dominican-style stew. Dominican American fashion is another huge part of the community’s culture. There are dozens of boutiques and an equal amount of fashion shows. Washington Heights has by far become one of the most culturally vibrant neighborhoods on the Island of Manhattan.
- The Heights is home to one of the greatest concentrations of Dominicans, not only throughout the five boroughs, but outside of the Dominican Republic.
- Dominicans are New York City’s largest Latin community, representing more than 25% of Latino New York City.
- Dance to bachata at one of the many rum houses and get your hands on delicious local food at El Malecon.
Astoria, Queens is home to a small, yet lively, Croatian community. Not too far from Midtown Manhattan, this pocket of culture is a gem for amazing food. Located beneath Rudar Social Club, also known as the the United Miners Soccer Club, is one of the best restaurants to grub on authentic Croatian cuisine. While there are many other great Croatian restaurants, this one holds a special spot in the hearts of Croatian Americans. Among the most popular dishes is brodetto a la adriatico – a Croatian seafood speciality with Italian influence. Fuzi and njoki are also Club specialties.
Rudar Social Club was initially founded In 1977, after a group of Croatian miners from Istria, an area near the Italian Alps, arrived in New York. Homesick and yearning for authentic Croatian food, the Club started out as a private place where men gathered after their soccer games to eat good food, drink good beer, and enjoy one another’s company – just as they did back in Croatia. It quickly grew into a second home for the community, and later morphed into an important hub for members to share and preserve their culture. Each year, the Club hosts an Anniversary Dance. The entire Croatian community attends this festive event and guests from all of New York are welcomed to join.
- Rudar Social Club is one of the best restaurants to grub on authentic Croatian cuisine.
- Open to guests, the Club’s annual Anniversary Dance is a great way enjoy Croatian music and culture.
The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel. While not an ethnicity per se, Jews and Jewish culture have had a strong influence on New York for centuries. Jews migrated to America from various nations all throughout the 1800s. In the early 1900s, New York saw a huge influx in Eastern Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. They founded the Zionist movement in the US and were active members of the Socialist party. Since 1930, American Jews have also played an integral role as a part of the liberal New Deal coalition of the Democratic Party. After World War II, many refugees fled to America, and again in 1970, from the Soviet Union.
[bctt tweet=”Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American Life. -JFK”]
Today, the Lower East Side serves as a pivotal area for Jewish history; in fact, it’s written in stone, literally. Many buildings have Yiddish inscriptions or other telltale signs that they were once a Jewish institution. While many of these structures remain a thing of the past, there are a considerable number of currently running museums, dedicated to preserving and educating the public about the Jewish journey and culture.
Housed in a residential building that was once home to millions of newcomers – Jewish amongst others – is the Tenement Museum. Through stories of the buildings past, this museum brings the immigrant experience to life. Located in the Upper East Side, the Jewish Museum also offers a glimpse into history, with over 30,000 works of art and Judaica items. One of the museum’s permanent exhibits is The Jewish Journey, which explores how the Jewish experience has evolved over the years. Another noteworthy institution dedicated to Jewish culture is the Museum at Eldridge Street. Housed in a synagogue built in 1887, the museum hosts tours of the sanctuary, features various exhibits, offers educational programs, and often celebrates diversity with festivals especially dedicated to traditional cuisine. The Museum of Jewish Heritage, located at Battery Park, takes a unique approach for a Holocaust museum. Focusing on the totality of Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries, before, during, and after the Holocaust, the museum caters to children, using interactive technology to convey the stories of survivors and refugees.
[bctt tweet=”In diversity there is beauty & there is strength. -Maya Angelou”]
New York City’s synagogue culture has also evolved over the years. While there are plenty of traditional houses, there are also a number of new, more progressive synagogues. For example, the music-filled B’nai Jeshurun or Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, which was founded in 1973 as a spiritual community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Jews.
Jewish artists have also made noteworthy contributions to New York culture, especially in theatre. Broadway musicals include the works of luminaries such as Irving Berlin, the Gershwin brothers, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, Barbra Streisand and many more. One of the most widely known Jewish shows, Fiddler on the Roof, has established itself as one of theatre’s most beloved classics. Yiddish theatre, plays written and performed primarily by Jews in Yiddish, the language of the Central European Ashkenazi Jewish community, began in New York around 1886. Today, there are several theatres dedicated solely to Yiddish productions.
Local Jewish community centers. communal events, myriad holidays, a plethora of Jewish delis serving up the best of traditional cuisine – it’s a culture that’s been deeply integrated into the roots of New York itself.
Throughout NYC’s five boroughs.
- New York City is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel.
- From Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof to traditional Yiddish productions, Jewish theatre is a thriving art in New York City.
Richmond Hill in Queens has long been home to a hodgepodge of immigrants. However, since the 1970’s, many Caribbeans, the largest population being from Guyana, have been residing in the area. A small country in the northeast coast of South America, Guyana is home to a mixture of South Asians (mainly from east India) and Afro Caribbean peoples. Today, New York City’s Guyanese community accounts for the fifth largest group of immigrants in the city.
[bctt tweet=”No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin. -Nelson Mandela”]
Little Guyana offers an incredibly unique intersection of cultures. All along Liberty Avenue are stores selling colorful Indian fabrics and saris. Music shops blast ‘chutney’ – a genre that blends sounds of the Far East with fast tempo Caribbean beats.
Food stalls lure with the delicious smells of Afro-Indian fusion dishes. Doobles, a street sandwich consisting of fried bread, curried chick peas, Caribbean spices, cucumber, coconut, and a hot pepper sauce, are one of the most popular street food. Mangos and melons served with chili, roti, and addictive coconut buns are other drool-worthy treats. The Little Guyanese Bake Shop offers some of the best Guyanese sweets, breads and cakes in the city.
With a bustling atmosphere during the day, evenings are typically reserved for fun and relaxation. Numerous bars and rum joints open up at night, offering live music. Indo-Guyanese have also settled in Bushwick and Canarsie; however, Richmond is home to largest and liveliest pocket.
Richmond Hill, Queens
- New York City’s Guyanese community accounts for the fifth largest group of immigrants in the city.
- Must-try street food: doobles, (a sandwich consisting of fried bread, curried chick peas, Caribbean spices, cucumber, coconut, and a hot pepper sauce).
- Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Little Guyanese Bake Shop.
Jackson Heights is perhaps the most ethnically diverse county in the city. ResIdents range from Mexican, Puerto Rican, South American, East Asian, and, last but certainly not least, South Asian. Comprising the majority of Jackson’s Heights’ population, immigrants from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have staked their claim on 74th Street between Roosevelt and 37th Avenue.
[bctt tweet=”Reaching unity in diversity will be the beauty & test of our civilisation. -Mahatma Gandhi”]
Little India greets with the aroma of incense and tantalizes with the smell of spices and curry houses. The streets are lined with sweet shops and dozens of store windows display gorgeous fabrics and colorful saris. Booming Bollywood tunes can be heard from the all directions and a wide range of languages fill the streets. It’s a little slice of India and its South Asian neighbors, right in New York City.
The Butala Emporium boasts an extensive selection of Indian clothing, textiles, incense, instruments, Bollywood films, and much more. While there is no shortage of Indian food stalls and restaurants, there’s a beautiful juxtaposition with latin food. To the right of a samosa stall is a Mexican taco stand, and to its left is a Colombian ajiaco stall. You’d certainly not be mistaken to say that Jackson Heights doubles as a global ethnic food market.
- New York City is home to the largest Indian population in North America.
- The Butala Emporium is your one-stop-shop for Indian clothing, textiles, incense, instruments, Bollywood films, and much more.
- Home to dozens of ethnic communities, Jackson Heights doubles as a global ethnic food market.
This list only scratches the surface of New York’s multicultural neighborhoods. In the Nolita district of Manhattan, you’ll find Little Australia, where you can grub down on famous burgers named after Sydney’s beaches at Ruby’s Cafe. Greenpoint, Brooklyn is home to Little Poland – the best place to get your hands on pierogies, kiełbasa, babkas, and kolorowe. The many Chinatowns, Little Greece in Astoria, Little Columbia in Jackson Heights, Little Panama in Crown Heights – the list goes on and on. In many respects, these neighborhoods offer a place that feels like home, while also acting as a catalyst for integration with the rest of New York City.
The words written at the base of Lady Liberty by poet Emma Lazarus read: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free … I lift my lamp beside the golden door”. Despite trying times, these words are still heartfelt by many Americans. And they should remain as true for today’s immigrants as they were for the 12 million immigrants who came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. Afterall, New York’s greatest resource is, without doubt, it’s people.