The People of Chinatown
Chinatown is a surprisingly diverse neighborhood. Since the 1800’s the area today called Chinatown has been home to the highest number of immigrants in New York, representing a variety of ethnic groups. In the mid-1800’s, the Irish, Germans, and freed slaves resided here and by the late 1880’s and into early 1900’s the next wave of immigrants brought Eastern European Jews, Chinese, and Italians. Today, the majority of Chinatown's inhabitants are from the Guangdong, Toisan and Fujian Providences in China as well as Hong Kong. The Cantonese community today is well established in this area whereas the Fujianese people, who come from Fujian Province on the southern coast of mainland China, are considered the “new immigrants”. The neighborhood is also home to Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Burmese, Vietnamese, Filipinos and West Africans, among others.