A Chinatown Grows in Brooklyn

The New York Times recently published a fascinating article about the influx of Chinese immigrants into Brooklyn and the growth of new “Chinatown” enclaves all over the borough.


It’s a wonderful depiction of the ebb and flow of immigrant communities in the city:

Just before 5 p.m., wave after wave of smiling toddlers came bounding down the stairs, their grandparents from China breathlessly in tow.

The parents soon arrived, weary from their jobs as postal carriers, police officers, restaurant owners and financial analysts. They whisked their children, fresh from lessons in math, Chinese and Spanish, into sport utility vehicles for the short trip home.

Such is the intergenerational tableau at IP Kids, a Montessori school that opened three years ago at the meeting point of Bensonhurst and Gravesend — long a hub of immigration in Brooklyn. Here, down the block from L&B Spumoni Gardens, the aging fixture of a once Italian neighborhood, and under the elevated train tracks, New York is transforming again.

With Chinese immigrants now the second largest foreign-born group in the city and soon to overtake Dominicans for the top spot, they are reshaping neighborhoods far beyond their traditional enclaves.

Nowhere is the rapid growth of the city’s Chinese population more pronounced than in Brooklyn.

As the sidewalks on Eighth Avenue overflow with new arrivals in Sunset Park, Brooklyn’s first Chinatown, and grocery stores proliferate along 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn’s second Chinatown, immigrants have been pushing southeast toward the ocean. The newcomers have created satellite Chinatowns in neighborhoods that have long been enclaves for European immigrants: Bay Ridge, Borough Park, Coney Island, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, Homecrest and Marine Park.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Photo: Brooklyn, by Mikel, via Flickr