Tag Archives: Harlem

Growth of Mexican Community Uptown Spurred by Job Access, Lower Rents

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by Lindsay Armstrong —
Although Dominicans are still the dominant group, the Mexican population doubled between 2000 and 2013.
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — It’s long been possible to get a good bowl of sancocho or to sip a morir soñando in Upper Manhattan — but alongside these Dominican classics, Mexican dishes have begun to appear.

Whether it’s tacos al pastor from El Pitallito Restaurant on Broadway near West 161st Street or a glass of horchata from one of many local street vendors, these options are some of the most visible signs of Northern Manhattan’s growing Mexican community.

The Mexicans population in Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill more than doubled from 5,054 people during the 2000 census to about 11,214, according to the most recent data from the American Community Survey, which provides a five-year estimate based on data collected between 2009 and 2013.

“There is definitely an increase,” said Juan Aguirre, director of the Mexican cultural organization Mano a Mano. “We see it as we go to all of the schools in the neighborhood and see many Mexican and Mexican-American students.”

Aguirre said that his group moved to its current location at West 155th Street and Broadway two years ago after failing to find a space in East Harlem. There is an established Mexican community there, but Aguirre found his organization couldn’t afford the neighborhood.

So, a local artist who has worked with Mano a Mano suggested that he look farther north.

“In the beginning we thought it was not going to be a very good decision, because when you think of Washington Heights, you think Dominicans, not so much the Mexican community,” Aguirre said.

A trip to the neighborhood convinced him that the population was large enough for Washington Heights to be a viable location.

Since making the move, Aguirre said that the community has grown even more.

“In the last year, there’s been an increase of zip codes from Washington Heights,” he said. “That’s how we identify people when they come for services. We have seen them more and more from the Heights in the past year.”

The growth in Washington Heights mirrors a citywide trend. Between 2000 and 2010, the Mexican population in New York City jumped 83 percent — from 187,259 to 342,699, according to a report from CUNY’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies based on census data. 

If the population continues to grow at the same rate, Mexicans will become the largest Latino national group in the New York City metropolitan area sometime in the early 2020s, the report said.

Uptown, the area that has seen the most growth is the southern part of Washington Heights, roughly between 155th and 170th streets, the population data shows.

About 1,753 people living in this section of the neighborhood identified as Mexican, according to the 2000 census. That number increased nearly four-fold to 6,892 by 2013, according to the American Community Survey.

City Councilman Mark Levine, who represents an area that includes Washington Heights between West 155th to West 165th Streets, said the change is most noticeable when visiting local schools and churches.

“It’s become a very visible presence,” Levine said of the Mexican community.

Levine speculated that some of the population growth could be due to people moving from other areas of Manhattan. 

“I think it’s partly because East Harlem, which has traditionally had a Mexican enclave, has just gotten too expensive,” he said. “Of all of Northern Manhattan, the southern Heights probably remains the least gentrified, especially the housing east of Broadway.”

While there are Mexican communities in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, Levine noted that Washington Heights could be more appealing because it provides commuters easier access to jobs throughout Manhattan.

Laura Lopez, who was born in Mexico and has lived in the West 180s for seven years, agreed, noting that there are also plenty of jobs within the neighborhood.

“People move here for the jobs,” she said in Spanish.

Lopez works at Taqueíra Los Jarritos on Nagle Avenue, a Mexican-owned café that opened two years ago.

Although she speaks limited English, that hasn’t hindered her ability to work in a largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood due to the dominant Dominican population. 

“Everybody wants to come here to work,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s more possible to get a job around here than in other places.”

As the Mexican population grows, more businesses open to serve it, creating even more jobs for members of the community.

At El Pitallito, another new restaurant, manager Jonny Flores said the clientele hails largely from the nearby Mexican community.

“A lot of them used to be from different places [in New York], and then they all moved here,” said Flores, who is Mexican and has lived in the area for eight years. “[It’s} because the rent is cheaper.”

Yordi Moran, 21, who is Mexican and has lived in Inwood for 11 years, said he has also noticed the increase.

“There’s always been Mexicans in this area, but you see more now,” said Moran, whose family owns a Mexican-style grocery store, Villita, on Dyckman Street. “We also sell more Mexican products than before.”

For him, there is an even simpler explanation for the growth.

“The parents had their kids, and now the kids are grown and having kids, so the community is growing,” he said.

Either way, Levine said that the Mexican community has brought positive changes to the neighborhood.

“I think they’ve really helped to re-invigorate the southern Heights,” he said. “They’re a very welcome addition to the neighborhood.”

Mexican Community Grows in Washington Heights and Inwood

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Mountain Bird Will Soar Once More in East Harlem

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The critically acclaimed poultry-centric restaurant that shuttered last year will reopen in September.

The husband and wife team of chef Kenichi and Keiko Tajima will reopen Mountain Bird in collaboration with Tastings Social on September 1. The official name of the restaurant is the rather unwieldily sounding Tastings Social Presents Mountain Bird and will initially be open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, with weekend brunch and Sunday service dinner service expected in the near future. Mountain Bird was forced to shutter due to “landlord issues” back in June 2014 despite garnering critical acclaim. After operating a pop-up at the Tastings Social location the Moutnain Bird team secured itas their permanent home. When they reopen they will be serving  the same poultry-focused French menu including the head-to-toe tasting plate and turkey burger stuffed with Mornay sauce.
Here is a look at the menu:

Mountain Bird Menu

The post Mountain Bird Will Soar Once More in East Harlem appeared first on Harlem Restaurant Row.


Click here to read the full post

Mountain Bird Will Soar Once More in East Harlem

| Click here to read more |

The critically acclaimed poultry-centric restaurant that shuttered last year will reopen in September.

The husband and wife team of chef Kenichi and Keiko Tajima will reopen Mountain Bird in collaboration with Tastings Social on September 1. The official name of the restaurant is the rather unwieldily sounding Tastings Social Presents Mountain Bird and will initially be open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, with weekend brunch and Sunday service dinner service expected in the near future. Mountain Bird was forced to shutter due to “landlord issues” back in June 2014 despite garnering critical acclaim. After operating a pop-up at the Tastings Social location the Moutnain Bird team secured itas their permanent home. When they reopen they will be serving  the same poultry-focused French menu including the head-to-toe tasting plate and turkey burger stuffed with Mornay sauce.
Here is a look at the menu:

Mountain Bird Menu

The post Mountain Bird Will Soar Once More in East Harlem appeared first on Harlem Restaurant Row.


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Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Lupulo Ascends, Tempura Matsui Arrives

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AdvertisementWelcome to Grub Street’s weekly survey of the most-talked-about, must-visit restaurants in New York City. The list below features spots both new and old ranked according to one important, ever-fluctuating (and admittedly subjective) metric: Who has the most buzz? Perhaps a famed chef has taken over the kitchen, or there’s a new dish you absolutely must order. Maybe the restaurant is just brand-new, or the critics are raving about it. Whatever the reasons, these are the hottest restaurants in New York right now.

1. Lupulo (Last week: 7)
This week, Pete Wells becomes the latest critic to be won over by the charms of George Mendes’s Portuguese pub (a regular occurrence these days). In a two-star review, Wells writes, “you can find clarity in the smells of garlic and wood smoke that fill the dining room … The restaurant may be unfocused, but the cooking isn’t.” All of which is to say, get over to 29th street soon.

2. Seamore’s (1)
In time for summer: a new local-seafood spot from Meatball Shop co-owner Michael Chernow. The place has been packed since it opened, owing, perhaps, to people’s unabated love of all things even vaguely related to Meatball Shop, as well as the eco- and health-friendly cuisine. A killer sandwich probably doesn’t hurt, either.

3. Fuku (5)
The newness is wearing off on David Chang’s chicken shop, and with it, the attendant hype. That, however, doesn’t mean it’s any less popular than it was before. It is indeed leading the city’s great fried-chicken-sandwich boom of 2015. Perhaps a new location will open in Chelsea?

4. Superiority Burger (6)
The best damn veggie burgers money can buy, right in the East Village. Get to it.

5. Untitled (2)
The consensus opinion on the new Whitney restaurant from Michael Anthony and Danny Meyer: Much better than a museum restaurant needs to be and, in fact, just a very good restaurant in its own right, with Meyer’s famed hospitality and Anthony’s acclaimed focus on simple, seasonal preparations that make the most of sometimes-unsung ingredients.

6. J.G. Melon (downtown location) (New this week)
Just like that, there’s a new J.G. Melon at the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal. A spot check revealed a devotion to the details of the original, right down to the types of cups used when you ask for the requisite side of mayo. There are other new touches — some craft beers on tap, for one — but this is, for the most part, a loving tribute to the UES institution.

7. Babu Ji (Off last week)
It seems Avenue B is the home of everyone’s favorite new Indian-by-way-of-Melbourne restaurant, where the butter chicken is great, and you can grab your own beer from the fridge. The smart move, though, is to get the chef’s table and let the kitchen send out a greatest-hits-style spread of dishes, and then, of course, the kulfi.

8. Clocktower (11)
If you’ve got some money to spend, Stephen Starr’s new hotel restaurant is the spot to do it these days: The menu is larded up with luxe ingredients (uni, foie, huge prime steaks, and Dover sole all appear on chef Jason Atherton’s menu) and the ambiance is all dark wood and supple leather.

9. Tempura Matsui (New this week)
Will New Yorkers — and, let’s be honest, out-of-town tourists — take to the idea of $200 tempura omakase experiences? Well, maybe. If it were ever going to happen, this is almost certainly the place, with Masao Matsui turning out fresh ingredients in paper-thin shells of batter.

10. El Cortez (9)
Over in Bushwick, the ever-quotable Stephen Tanner and Chris Young have opened this Mexican-ish spot where you can get nachos, taco salad, a frozen mojito, and even a boozy spin on an Orange Julius called the Orange Julio, which is worth ordering for the name alone.

11. Leyenda (20)
Down in New Orleans, Leyenda partner Ivy Mix took home the “American Bartender of the Year” award at the annual Tales of the Cocktail gathering — and, what luck, her Latin-leaning cocktail bar is right in Brooklyn, so everyone can head over to see what Mix is up to that garnered such acclaim.

12. Vendy Plaza (10)
Last weekend, Vendy concessions returned to La Marqueta in East Harlem. There’s plenty of great food — Hot Bread Kitchen, Luke’s Lobster — but one to really watch for is Lechonera La Piraña, which turns out some seriously impressive pork.

13. Maite (Off last week)
Here’s the Underground Gourmet on this Bushwick newcomer from chef Ella Schmidt: “nothing about the place seems phony or calculated, and the menu, limited as it is to a dozen or so dishes, manages to surprise even jaded locavores by focusing on the daily produce and inventive ways to integrate it.” (With a description like that, is it any surprise that Schmidt once cooked under Estela chef Ignacio Mattos?)

14. Gabriel Kreuther (12)
The early word is that Kreuther’s brand-new, high-end midtown swank temple is still finding its footing, trying to nail down the polish that matches the luxe dining room. Given Kreuther’s pedigree, it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which things get ironed out.

15. Parm (Off last week)
Ice-cream cakes! Get ‘em.

16. Sessanta (Off last week)
John McDonald’s two-month-old coastal Italian spot in the Sixty Soho hotel has an easygoing vibe and the kind of straightforward, crowd-pleasing menu that’s just what you want on a lovely, late-July evening.

17. Union Square Cafe (Off last week)
Even though Danny Meyer’s flagship restaurant will soon leave its current home, the restaurateur and his team have found a new home just a few blocks away, which is good news for everyone, and a good reason to stop in and at least have a congratulatory drink.

18. The Four Horsemen (15)
A truly awesome wine bar in Williamsburg, sort of famously owned by James Murphy, with an impressive lineup of food from Franny’s expat Nick Curtola.

19. Wildair (18)
The new, comfortable place from the Contra team gets it: Affordable bottles of relatively obscure natural wine are the stars of the show, and the short, simple food menu is full of items that complement the vino and tweak things just enough to not feel like the same old dishes you’ve had at other wine bars.

20. Houseman (19)
Ned Baldwin, who spent some time working at Prune, has opened this neighborhood spot near Tribeca, and the early word is that he’s done well to make a similarly approachable, low-key spot. If you’re in the area, check it out.

Read more posts by Alan Sytsma

Filed Under: restaurant power rankings, lists, new york, news


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