Communities

Bangladeshis

Bangladeshis are a relatively new immigrant group to America, but since the first intrepid Bangladeshis arrived in New York during the mid-1970s and early 1980s, the population has grown by thousands each year. As of 2009, the American Communities Survey estimated that 61,755 individuals who were born in Bangladesh were living throughout the five boroughs. Roughly half of New York´s Bangladeshis live in Queens, though there is a sizeable and growing population in Brooklyn. The Bronx is also now 12 percent Bangladeshi. Very few – only about 2,500 – live in Manhattan.

If you have a story or an idea about the Bangladeshis, get in touch with Charlotte Stafford at cks2130@columbia.edu.

Brazilians

Brazilian migration to the United States began in the 1990s following the nation’s economic crisis the decade before. Nearly 17,000 Brazilians live in the metropolitan area. Although “Little Brazil” exists on 46th Street in Manhattan, most of New York’s Brazilians actually live in Queens.

If you have a story or an idea about the Brazilians, get in touch with Nia Phillips at nkp2114@columbia.edu.

Cubans

Cubans began immigrating to metropolitan New York City in the 1960s following the Cuban Revolution. Once one of the largest Latino ethnic groups in the city, the Cuban population has decreased every year.

Just over 40,000 Cubans live in New York City and Hudson County, New Jersey, according to the 2010 Census. New Jersey, however, has the second largest population of Cubans in the United States outside of Florida.

If you have a story or an idea about the Cubans, get in touch with Nia Phillips at nkp2114@columbia.edu.

Dominicans

More than 600,000 Dominicans live in New York City, according to the 2010 Census. They live mostly in the Inwood and Washington Heights neighborhoods of Manhattan. Forty-six percent of Latinos in Inwood are Dominican, and 40 percent of Latinos in Washington Heights are Dominican.

The migration of large numbers of Dominicans started during the 1960s because of political unrest in the Dominican Republic. The next wave of immigrants between the 80s and the 90s were also based on politics back home, but also for hope of better job opportunities in America.

If you have a story or an interesting idea about Dominicans, get in touch with Mea Ashley at mea2169@columbia.edu.

Egyptians

In the 1960s, waves of Egyptian immigrants began moving to New York in an effort to escape Gamal Abdel Nasser´s repressive regime and search for a better life.

Many Egyptians now live in Astoria, Queens, and today, there are close to 20,000 Egyptians living there. There are almost as many Egyptians in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, but Astoria has earned the nickname “Little Egypt,” widely known for its Egyptian restaurants, cafés and hookah bars.

If you have a story or an interesting idea about Egyptians, get in touch with Magdalene Castro at mc3674@columbia.edu.

Indians

There are around 192,000 Indians living in New York City, mostly in Queens. “Little India” enclaves, neighborhoods with a high concentration of Indian shops, restaurants, and residents, can be found throughout the city, including in Hillside and Jackson Heights.

In recent years, there has been a trend of Indians moving out of the city and into the suburbs of New Jersey, but many still come to New York for its many religious organizations and cultural events.

If you have a story or an idea about the Indians, get in touch with Colleen McKown at ckm2129@columbia.edu.

Iranians

The Iranian community is fairly consistently dispersed throughout the city and its surrounding boroughs. They are varied in religion – some are Muslims while others are Jews or Zoroastrians – as well as in profession, with many working as medical doctors and professors.

While some Iranians have been here since the 1950s and 1960s, most arrived in the 1980s after the Islamic revolution in their country. Today, they have integrated into American society and play a large role in New York’s cultural diversity.

If you have a story or an idea about the Iranians, get in touch with Rebecca Sanchez at rls2201@columbia.edu.

Irish

The Irish are one of the city’s largest ethnic groups. The first official census in 1790 shows a significant number of Irish immigrants in New York.

The community is centered mainly in Yonkers and Woodlawn Heights in the Bronx and in Sunnydale, Woodside and Maspeth in Queens.

If you have a story or interesting idea about the Irish, get in touch with Lorelai Germain at ag3289@columbia.edu.

Italians

The love affair between Italians and New York City began in the late 19th century, when poor living conditions back home pushed Italians, mostly from the south, to pursue better-paying jobs in cities like New York. Some northern Italians pursued positions of prominence, but most found jobs in labor and construction, helping build important city structures, like the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, that still stand today.

Among the 625,000 Italian-Americans still living in New York, nearly 90 percent were born in the United States. The wave of Italians immigrating to New York has receded, but neighborhoods like Morris Park and Bensonhurst have a strong sense of Italian culture that still persists across generations.

If you have a story or an interesting idea about Italians, get in touch with Yvonne Bang at yjb2108@columbia.edu

Jamaicans

Of the approximate half million Caribbean immigrants in New York City, about 200,000 of them hail from the island of Jamaica. Jamaicans represent the third largest group of foreign-born people in the city, surpassed by only the Dominicans and the Chinese. Jamaican immigrants have established communities in all five boroughs but Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx stand out in terms of both population and commerce. Jamaicans tend to identify with West Indian and Caribbean culture in general and put less emphasis on their own country.

Neighborhoods like Jamaica, Crown Heights and Flatbush are a melting pot of Caribbean culture. The food, shops and music boast national pride. Flags fly high for countries like the Bahamas, Aruba and Jamaica. Uniquely, nations celebrate not only themselves but also their homeland neighbors and the people revel in the collaborative cultures of the communities.

If you have a story or an idea for a story about the Jamaicans, get in touch with Christina Thorne at cmt2168@columbia.edu.

Liberians

New York City is home to the largest number of Liberians outside of Liberia. Most are refugees from their country’s civil war, which ended in 2003 after more than 200,000 people were killed.

Most American-Liberians live in the Park Hill projects in Staten Island.

If you have a story or interesting idea about the Liberians, get in touch with Shaukat Hamdani at sah2188@columbia.edu.

Malians

According to the African Services Committee, an organization that serves African migrants in New York, one in 20 New Yorkers is African-born. Among these are many Malians, living mainly in Central Harlem and The Bronx.

The first wave of Malians to come to the U.S. was in the late 1970s due to the economic and political situation in Mali. After a decade or two of intense work, they sent for their wives and had children. Most of them do not have professional skills, so they survive by doing hard labor, and most are entrepreneurs running various small businesses.

If you have a story or an idea about the Malians, get in touch with Ntshepeng Motema at nm2630@columbia.edu.

Mexicans

Mexicans are the fastest-growing Latino community in New York City. In 1990, 58,000 Mexicans represented just over three percent of the city’s population. By 2010, that number increased to more than 340,000, more than 14 percent of the total Latino population in New York.

They are, however, one of the least politically organized ethnic groups because of their recent increase in migration to the city. Mexicans have the largest foreign-born population of migrants among Latinos.

If you have a story or an idea about the Mexicans, get in touch with  Griselda Denise Ramirez at gdr2109@columbia.edu.

Palestinians

An estimated 12 percent of all Palestinian-Americans live in the New York area. Many of them live either in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge or in Paterson, New Jersey. In fact, the Palestinian community in Paterson is so predominant that Main Street in downtown Paterson is also known as “Little Ramallah,” because 65 out of the 83 villages surrounding Ramallah are represented there.

The Palestinian community has become increasingly isolated since the terrorist attacks in 2001 but these neighborhoods remain warm and hospitable to those that visit.

If you have a story or interesting idea about Palestinians, get in touch with William Denselow at wd2215@columbia.edu.

Puerto Ricans 

There are about 725,000 Puerto Ricans living in New York, which makes them the largest Hispanic community in the city. Large numbers of Puerto Ricans came to New York during the Gran Migración or “Great Migration” during the 1940s.

Puerto Ricans in New York go by many names, including “Boricua,” “Nuyorican,” and “Puertorriqueño.”

If you have a story or an idea about the Puerto Ricans, get in touch with Michael Orr at mho2109@columbia.edu.

Senegalese

The Senegalese are a growing ethnic group in New York City.  According to the 2006-2010 5-Year U.S. Census Average, there are 2,895 people with Senegalese ancestry in New York City, although the actual number is thought to be around 20,000.  The Senegalese began immigrating to New York City in large numbers around the mid-1980s.

The most concentrated group of Senegalese people can be found in a small neighborhood of Central Harlem known as Le Petit Sénégal, or Little Senegal.  Le Petit Sénégal does not have strictly defined borders, but it is generally thought to include a few blocks surrounding West 116th Street, particularly those between Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X boulevards.

If you have a story or an interesting idea about the Senegalese, get in touch with Jay Devineni at jrd2174@columbia.edu.

Sri Lankans

The Sri Lankan community in New York City lies between Queens and Staten Island. The earliest Sri Lankans moved to New York in the 1980s during civil unrest in their country.

The community has Sri Lankans from every economic and social demographic and is one of the fastest-growing, most quickly integrating communities in New York.

If you have a story or an idea about the Sri Lankans, get in touch with Dhiya Kuriakose at dsk2143@columbia.edu.

Syrians

The first major wave of Syrian migration began in the 1890s. Many of these first immigrants were Christian men from what is now Palestine, Lebanon and Syria.  At the turn of the century, an area known as Little Syria flourished in Lower Manhattan.

Over time, new waves of immigration have brought a more diverse Syrian population to the U.S. Today Syrian communities are thriving across New York, with unique hubs in Brooklyn and northern New Jersey.

Syrians today bring a rich religious diversity, entrepreneurial spirit, and political engagement to the neighborhoods were they live. With the ongoing unrest in Syria today, it is as important as ever that the stories of Syrian-Americans are heard.

If you have a story or an idea about the Syrians, get in touch with MaryAlice Parks at mlp2117@columbia.edu.

Trinidadians

The two-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago is about the size of the state of Delaware and has a population similar to the city of Dallas, Texas. The Caribbean nation, often referred to as either Trinidad or “TNT,” celebrated 50 years of independence on August 31, 2012. Thousands of Trinidadians and Tobagonians – Trinis, for short – have come to the United States and form the eighth largest foreign-born community in New York City.

A vibrant community with African, Indian, British, and French roots, Trinis live primarily in two distinct neighborhoods: Flatbush, Brooklyn and Richmond Hill/Ozone Park, Queens.

If you have a story or an interesting idea about the Trinidadians, get in touch with Stephen Jiwanmall at ssj2126@columbia.edu.

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