Photo via Flickr cc
The tumult and unrest in the streets of Puerto Rico right now harken back to a time when many Puerto Rican New Yorkers were also agitating in the streets for long-overdue reform and change. One milestone in that history took place 50 years ago when several Puerto Rican activists gathered in the East Village to found the New York Chapter of the Young Lords. This began a flowering of Puerto Rican cultural and social ferment in the East Village, the legacy of which can still be seen and experienced in the neighborhood today. From Tompkins Square Park to the Nuyorican Poets Café, here are six of the most significant spots.
Image of the New Roots Community Farm in the Bronx by Kathleen McTigue, courtesy of International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Building on the success of the New Roots Community Farm in the Bronx, two additional New Roots Gardens are currently underway in Queens, the Sunnyside Post reports. The gardens are being planted on both sides of 69th Street near Woodside Avenue and will include vegetable beds, flowers, a greenhouse, and seating areas. As part of a Department of Transportation initiative with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and NYC Parks GreenThumb, the gardens aim to create a community space for immigrants and refugees, as well as access to fresh and affordable produce.
Nearly half of New York City’s 220,000 small businesses are owned by immigrants. To celebrate this community, the Historic Districts Council is hosting an event this weekend that highlights immigrant-run businesses in New York City. Taking place at the Bohemian National Hall on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the symposium will discuss the ins and outs of running a business in a city that is constantly changing.
“A Group of ‘Lung Block’ Children,” from Ernest Poole, The Plague in Its Stronghold, Tuberculosis in the New York Tenement, 1903. Courtesy of the Department of Records
In 1933, a new development rose on the Lower East Side. It was Knickerbocker Village, the first federally-funded apartment complex in the United States, and one of the first developments that would later fall under the umbrella of the city’s “Slum Clearance” program. The “slum” that Knickerbocker Village replaced wasn’t just any rundown collection of buildings – it was the notorious “Lung Block” between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, bounded by Cherry, Monroe, Market and Catherine Streets, which in 1903, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ernest Poole named the most congested and disease-ridden place in the city, or, perhaps, the world. But was it?
“The Lung Block: A New York City Slum and its forgotten Italian Immigrant Community,” a new exhibit opening April 25th at the NYC Department of Records curated by researchers Stefano Morello and Kerri Culhane, will revisit the neighborhood and the immigrant community that called it home. With maps, journals, photos and other artifacts, the exhibit will consider the connections between health and housing, affordability and gentrification, public health and progressive reform, and architecture and the immigrant experience.
Learn more about this community
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District. One of the city’s oldest and largest landmark districts, it’s a treasure trove of history, culture, and architecture. Village Preservation is spending 2019 marking this anniversary with events, lectures, and new interactive online resources. This is part of a series of posts about the Greenwich Village Historic District marking its golden anniversary.
Each year, immigrant history week is celebrated in late April, commemorating the day in 1907 when more immigrants came through Ellis Island than any other day in history. More than a few of those immigrants came through Greenwich Village, which has a long and storied history of welcoming newcomers from across the city, country, and globe. Here are just a few of the sites within the Greenwich Village Historic District where landmarks of our nation’s rich and varied immigrant history can be found, from the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in the country to a hub of “Little Spain.”
According to U.S. Census Bureau information released Thursday, the number of people moving into New York City’s five boroughs has fallen for the first time in decades, the Wall Street Journal reports. The city’s population saw a drop of 0.47 percent to 8.4 million–still the highest of any U.S. metro area–between 2017 and 2018. And more people left than arrived: International migration dipped, lowering the city’s population in 2017 and 2018. Overall, cities in the nation’s south and west saw the biggest population growth, with the area that includes Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington seeing the most growth of any metropolitan area.
A trend reverses
There’s a steel wall in the Hudson River that celebrates immigrants, the only place in the United States where heritage can be honored at a national monument. The American Immigrant Wall of Honor first opened on Ellis Island in 1990 to recognize the country’s many immigrants and to raise money for the site’s National Museum of Immigration and the Statue of Liberty. Currently, there are 770 panels engraved with the names of nearly 775,000 immigrants. But spots on the wall are filling up, as the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Just five panels remain empty, enough space for roughly 3,300 names.
No, not that wall
“Manhattan Island in the Sixteenth Century,” from the Memorial History of New York, 1892, via NYPL
This weekend, Lenape people hosted a Pow Wow on Park Avenue. The event, held at the Park Avenue Armory, was the first Lenape Pow Wow in New York since the 1700s. The gathering represented a homecoming for the Lenape people, who are the original inhabitants of the places we call New Jersey, Delaware, southern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and western Connecticut. Brent Stonefish, a Lenape man who lives in Ontario told WNYC, “It’s home, and today it felt like we were welcomed home.”
Currently, most Lenape belong to the Delaware Nation and live in New Jersey, Oklahoma and Ontario, but the word Lenape means “Original People,” and the Lenape are the Original New Yorkers. In fact, the name Manhattan comes from the Lenape “Manahatta,” meaning “hilly island.” Although the Lenape stove to “walk so gently on the earth,” without leaving an impact on the land, they influenced the city’s physical geography in ways we can see and feel today. From the Bowling Green to Broadway, Cherry Street to Minetta Lane, here are 10 sites in Manhattan that reflect the legacy of the Lenape.
Learn more about the first
Photo courtesy of LinkNYC
The city’s 1,742 LinkNYC Wi-Fi kiosks are the site of a new campaign to highlight facts and photographs related to immigrants’ impact on New York City’s life and culture. “City of Immigrants” will feature historic photos from the Associated Press, along with facts from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs’ annual report. For example, did you know 52% of NYC businesses are immigrant-owned, or that nearly half of the city’s population speaks a language other than English at home?
Find out more
Photo by 6sqft
It’s hard to miss the two floors of flashing, chili pepper light-adorned Indian restaurants on First Avenue and Sixth Street in the East Village. The origin of these two stacked eateries, though, is much more frequently overlooked, as is the fact that the neighborhood’s adjacent “Little India” is really more “Little Bengal.” New York’s main Bangladeshi community is often cited as being in Jackson Heights, which boasts a large South Asian population and a great representation of its diverse culture, including the beloved Patel Brothers grocery store. Less well known is that East New York also has a large Bangladeshi community, and in the 1990s, the East Village’s “Curry Row” worked to identify itself as Indian, a culture more Americans at the time were familiar with. Ahead, we look at the whole history and break down the best places to experience Bangladeshi culture in NYC.