A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 19, 2010
Little Mexico (Port Richmond, Staten Island)

Port Richmond (Staten Island) has been the home of many Spanish-speaking immigrants since the 1990s. The nickname “Little Mexico” has been cited in print since at least 2005, but gained wide publicity from news stories in 2010, after anti-Mexican violence.


Wikipedia: Port Richmond, Staten Island
Port Richmond is a neighborhood situated on the North Shore of Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, USA. It is along the waterfront of the Kill Van Kull, with the southern terminus of the Bayonne Bridge serving as the boundary between it and Mariners Harbor, the neighborhood which borders it on the west. Formerly an independent village, it is one of the oldest neighborhoods on the island. In the 19th century it was an important transportation and industrial center of the island, but this role has vanished nearly completely, leaving a largely blue collar residential area bypassed by the shift of development of the island to its interior after the 1960s. The formerly bustling commercial center along Richmond Avenue (now Port Richmond Avenue) had been largely abandoned at the time, But in recent years many small businesses have opened in the area with the commercial activity shifting inland to Forest Avenue (or leaving the neighborhood altogether and relocating to the Staten Island Mall when the latter opened in the summer of 1973).
(...)
Demographics
Make the Road New York, a community outreach program that serves Port Richmond along with two other distressed New York City communities describes Port Richmond as being “predominantly populated by poor and working class Latinos and African Americans, including many immigrants.”

The organization cites the average yearly income of a family of three in the neighborhood as being below $19,000.

Tensions between Blacks and Hispanics
The African-American community that had long occupied Port Richmond’s decaying quarters began to see a large influx of Mexican immigrants move in alongside them starting early in the 1990s. The Mexicans transformed many boarded up storefronts along Port Richmond Avenue and quickly made the commercial strip the center of Latino culture on Staten Island. Still many of Port Richmond’s Mexicans line busy neighborhood streets every morning looking to be picked up for work as day laborers. Since they often commute on foot and usually have money in their pockets, the immigrants have long been targeted for violent muggings and meaningless attacks on Port Richmond streets, usually by African-American youths. The tensions between the area’s long-time inhabitants and its new comers have been well documented for years.

New York (NY) Daily News
MEXICAN MAFIA GROWS IN S.I. STIRRING FEAR, COP CRACKDOWN
BY CARRIE MELAGO and JOSE MARTINEZ DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Sunday, June 12th 2005, 6:56AM
AT THE FOOT of the Bayonne Bridge, in the Staten Island neighborhood known as Little Mexico, crime is down - falling by more than 6% this year.

Thekursh’s Blog
This Comedy Stuff
By thekursh
Last nights’ show was at The Looney Bin in Staten Island, and tonight I have to go back on to that shitty Island to do a show in Port Richmond which is the equivelent little Mexico.
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This entry was posted on January 28, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Wall Street Journal
NY CRIME JULY 24, 2010
A Spike in Bias Crimes in Staten Island
Port Richmond Sees Rise in Robberies and Attacks Targeting Latinos; ‘Little Mexico’ Takes Root, and Tensions Grow

BY SUMATHI REDDY
One sign stands out among the postings for mammograms and English classes at an immigrant center in Staten Island.

“Have you been witness to any abuse on the street?” it asks in Spanish. “Have you been the victim of any abuse?”

Since April, Latinos have been the victims of seven robberies or attacks in Port Richmond that police have classified as bias crimes.
(...)
Now, the downtown is known as the “Little Mexico” of Staten Island.

Associated Press
Attacks against Mexicans inflame tensions in NYC
By CRISTIAN SALAZAR (AP) – 08/16/2010
NEW YORK — When Rodolfo Olmedo was dragged down by a group of men shouting anti-Mexican epithets and bashed over the head with a wooden stick on the street outside his home, he instinctively covered his face to keep from getting disfigured. Blood filled his mouth.
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Many of those began to coalesce around the Port Richmond neighborhood, which had long been predominantly black and low-income. The neighborhood’s main commercial thoroughfare, once marked by empty storefronts, suddenly came alive with Mexican businesses selling pinatas, bars playing Spanish-language heavy metal, and grocers stocking chilies and tomatillos. The neighborhood developed a new nickname: “Little Mexico.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • (0) Comments • Thursday, August 19, 2010 • Permalink