Immigrant Neighborhoods in New York City

                Upon arriving in New York City, most immigrants found themselves moving into the Lower East Side of the city. Most notably the East Village, Astor Place, Kleindeutschland (Little Germany), Alphabet City, Five Point, Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Bowery. These neighborhoods were crammed together in the area bordered by Fourteenth Street on the north, Broadway and Pearl Street to the west, Fulton Street to the south, and the East River to the east

By the turn of the 20th century, the Lower East Side became vastly diverse. Immigrants from a wide variety of ethnic origins found themselves crammed together on the piece of land only about fourteen square miles in size. Frenchman Charles Huard describes this intermixing in his New York as I Saw It…”Mixing their idioms and their native characters, all the races of the world rub elbows; Italians and Irish, Spanish and Swedish, thin Egyptians besides stout Germans, Russian peasant children rolling in the mud with little Negroes…”

Beginning in the 1900s, many of the area’s Italians and Jews began to leave the Lower East Side in search for new neighborhoods. Many moved to Brooklyn, specifically Boro Park and Brownsville, which became a heavily populated Jewish neighborhood. At the same time, many of the wealthier German Americans began moving uptown.

The Chinese American population remained in Chinatown, for the most part. By 1904, African Americans began arriving in the city, most settling in the area known as Harlem. Prior to their arrival, Harlem had been populated by mainly Italian and Irish Americans who had settled in the area several decades earlier. Although the immigrant population in the city began to disperse after this point, the Lower East Side will always be remembered as the home of the first wave of immigrants arriving in the city.
 Weil, François, A History of New York (Columbia University Press, 2004), 203.