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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 26, 2009
Little Manila

"Little Manila” (after the capital of the Philippines) is a neighborhood nickname for a community filled with people of Filipino descent. There are many “Little Manilas” around the world and more than one in New York City.

The area in Manhattan around East 14th Street and First Avenue (Beth Israel Hospital) has been called “Little Manila” since at least 1999. Woodside, Queens, has been called a “Little Manila” since at least 2001.

Wikipedia: Little Manila
Little Manila (also known as Manilatowns or Filipinotowns) is term that refers to a community with a large Filipino expatriate and descendant population.
New York
New York City’s population is 1.8% Filipino. A few Filipino enclaves exist in New York City. New York State’s cumulative Filipino population is said to be at 220,000.

In the borough of Queens, many Filipino businesses have sprung up in the past decade. Queens is home to 98,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans and has the largest Filipino population among the five boroughs. The Filipino-American community is also the fourth largest Asian-American subgroup in the borough and makes up about 4.2% of the entire population of Queens. Tagalog is also one of the ten most spoken languages in the borough.

Woodside is known for its concentration of Filipinos. Of the 85,000 residents of Woodside, about 13,000 are of Filipino background, or 15% of Woodside’s population.

Along the 7 line, known colloquially as the “International Express,” the 69th Street station serves as the gateway to Queens’ very own Little Manila. This area attracts many local Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike and from neighboring places of Long Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The coverage of Little Manila is along Roosevelt Avenue, from 63rd Street-71st Street.

Filipino restaurants dominate the area, as well as several freight and remittance centers scattered throughout the neighborhood. Other Filipino-owned businesses including professional services (medical, dental, optical), driving schools, beauty salons, immigration services, and video rental places providing the latest movies from the Philippines dot the community.

Restaurants such as Ihawan, Perlas ng Silangan, BarYo, Renee’s Kitchenette, and Krystal’s Cafe, are the most popular ones, while Philippine remittance and shipping centers such as Johnny Air Cargo, FRS, Edwards Travel, Apholo Shippers, Macro, Philippine National Bank, and Metrobank are present in the area.

Establishments such as Eyellusion, Jefelli Photo and Video, Manila Phil-Am Driving, Santos Medical Clinic, Luz-Vi-Minda, Marlyn’s Beauty Salon, Marry Indo Beauty Salon, Freddy Lucero Beauty Salon, Dimple Beauty Salon, Bambina Salon, Jan-Mar Technologies, Don’s Professional Services, Casino Law Office, Kulay at Gupit, Phil-Am Foodmart, Stop N Save Filipino Store, and Nepa Q Mart are also there to serve the thriving Filipino American community.

Jollibee, a famous fast-food chain in the Philippines, opened its first branch in New York on February 2009, selecting Woodside, Queens. BPI, Getz Travel, Lucky Money Remittance, and an office of TFC have also recently opened up in Woodside’s Little Manila.

In February 2008, the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center opened its doors in Woodside, a project spearheaded by the Philippine Forum.

Other Filipino businesses that exist in Woodside but are not within the Little Manila area are Engeline’s, a Filipino restaurant at 59th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Tito Rad’s Restaurant at Queens Boulevard and 50th Street, and Lourdess Restaurant on 58th Street and 37th Avenue.

Businesses such as Fritzie’s, a New Jersey-based bakeshop and Red Ribbon Bakeshop are also planning to open up their own respective branches in Woodside.

Hillside Avenue
Many Filipinos reside in Queens Village, Hollis, Jamaica and areas at the strip of Hillside Avenue.

The Benigno Aquino, Jr. Triangle is located at 184th Place south of Hillside Avenue, is in Hollis. It is in commemoration of the assassinated Philippine oppositionist senator.

The Philippine-American Center that is hosted by the Filipino American Human Services, Inc. is located in Hillside Avenue. This area is now known to have a growing Filipino community and many Filipino businesses have started to open such as medical centers, Filipino stores and video rental places, remittance centers, beauty salons, restaurants, etc.

Other Filipino establishments are scattered throughout Hillside Avenue such as Palengke, Linamnam Filipino Restaurant, Philippine Padala, and Johnny Air Cargo.

Aside from this location, Filipino restaurants, stores and services have been sprawling throughout Manhattan. Grill 21, Pistahan, Elvie’s Turo-Turo, and Johnny Air Cargo are just a few of the Filipino businesses in the district. A high-end Filipino restaurant in Manhattan is Cendrillon, located at Mercer Street. The most recent Filipino restaurant to open in Manhattan is the Bayan Cafe around Midtown. (2006).

The Philippine Consulate of New York has a multipurpose role, aside from its governmental duties and functions, it also caters to many events of the Filipino-American community and even has a school called Paaralan sa Konsulado (School at the Consulate), which teaches new-generation Filipino-Americans about their culture and language. It is known just as the Philippine Center instead of the consulate. The Philippine Center’s newly-renovated large edifice is situated in Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and is open to the public on business days and closed on Philippine and American holidays. The building itself is considered as the largest foreign consulate on the strip of the avenue.

New York City also hosts the annual Philippine Independence Day Parade along Madison Avenue on the first Sunday of June. It is also said to be one of the largest parades of any kind in the city and the largest Philippine celebration in the United States. This celebration is a combination of a parade and a street fair. Madison Avenue bursts on this day with Filipino culture, colors and people and is attended by many important political figures, entertainers, civic groups, etc. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator Charles Schumer are devout attendees of this annual parade.

The Archdiocese of New York designated a chapel named after the first Filipino Saint Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila for the Filipino Apostolate. Officially designated as the “Church of Filipinos,” or the Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz is the second in the United States and only the third in the world dedicated as such.

A Little Manila could be seen in Canarsie that has Filipino stores, rental places, and restaurants. This is located around Avenue L and its surrounding areas.

Many Filipinos are in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, consisting of Tagalog, Ilocano, and Visayan speakers. However, there are few edifices of Filipino culture in the Flatbush area.

Staten Island
Staten Island is home to 12,000 Filipinos and they are the third largest immigrant group to this borough. Despite the distinguishable population, there is no definite place for a Little Manila. Rather, these Filipino establishments, such as Phil Am Foodmart, are scattered all over the island, with concentration in the northern part of Staten Island.

Although Bronx does not have a defined Filipino enclave, it is home to at least 10,000 Filipinos. Many of them work in the borough, mostly of medical profession, in local hospitals and medical offices. Several Filipino businesses have come about to serve Bronx’s growing Filipino constituency.

Wikipedia: Woodside, Queens
Woodside is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It is bordered on the south by Maspeth, on the north by Astoria, on the west by Sunnyside and on the east by Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Its ZIP code is 11377. Some areas are widely residential and very quiet, while others (especially closer to Roosevelt Avenue) are more urban. The neighborhood is located in Queens Community Board 1 and Queens Community Board 2.

In the 19th century the area was part of the Town of Newtown (now Elmhurst). The adjacent area of Winfield was largely incorporated into the post office serving Woodside and as a consequence Winfield lost much of its identity distinct from Woodside.

Throughout its history, Woodside has been the largest Irish American community in Queens. In the early 1930s, the area was approximately 80% Irish. Even as the neighborhood has seen growth in ethnic diversity today, the area still retains a strong Irish American presence. There are Irish pubs/restaurants scattered in Woodside.

In the early 1990s, many Asian American families moved into the area, particularly east of the Woodside–61st Street. Woodside’s population is now 30% Asian American. Woodside has a large population of Korean Americans, Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans (see Koreatown, Chinatown, and Filipinotown), each with their own respective ethnic enclaves. There are also South Asian Americans, particularly Indian Americans, Bangladeshi Americans, and Pakistani Americans, as well as a large Latino population, mostly immigrants from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

Reflecting its longtime Irish flavor, the neighborhood is filled with Irish pubs. It is also home to some of the city’s most popular Thai, Filipino, Colombian, and Ecuadorian eateries. A rather unofficial Little Manila stretches from 63rd-71st Streets at the strip of Roosevelt Avenue, where many Filipino businesses have flocked to serve Woodside’s large Filipino American community.

New York (NY) Times
NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: STUYVESANT TOWN; Filipinos Get Taste of Home in Little Manila on First Ave.
Published: Sunday, July 4, 1999
On a hot, humid summer day, New Yorkers might want to reach for an Italian ice or a smoothie. But New Yorkers living near Stuyvesant Town can satisfy their hankering with a halo halo, a layered Philippine dessert of boiled and sweetened kidney beans, chickpeas, yam, jackfruit, bananas and crushed ice. Or they can slake their thirst with Aqua de Coco, a canned coconut drink as common in the Philippines as is Dr. Pepper in the United States.

During the last few years, as many Filipinos came to work as doctors and nurses at nearby hospitals, the area around 14th Street and First Avenue has become a virtual Little Manila. Johnny Air Cargo, a company at 331 East 14th Street, specializes in sending parcels to the Philippines. And Roman Catholics can celebrate a monthly mass in Tagalog, the Philippine language, at Immaculate Conception Church on East 14th Street.

New York (NY) Times
COPING; Filipino Rap Debates City Life, Pro and Con
Published: Sunday, April 15, 2001
Some Filipinos like Ms. Villadiego say the younger people are as likely to identify themselves as Asian-American as Filipino. The implications of that are still being played out, even as the Asian population rises rapidly in New York. The city has Filipino pockets in Woodside, Queens, and in the area around 14th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, sometimes called Little Manila.

Google Books
Nosh New York:
The food lover’s guide to New York City’s most delicious neighborhoods

By Myra Alperson
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pg. 73:
Little Manila
Take the #7 train to 69th Street, then walk back to 70th Street. You’ll see Phil-Am Foods (40-03 70th Street at Roosevelt Avenue, 718-899-1797), the best Filipino grocery store I’ve seen in Queens. (I’ve also seen excellent ones near Montefiore Hospital in Norwood, Bronx, and in Manhattan on 14th Street between First and Second Avenues, near Beth Israel Hospital.)

New York (NY) Times
From Philippines, With Scrubs; How One Ethnic Group Came to Dominate the Nursing Field
Published: Monday, November 24, 2003
Partly because of their strong ties to one line of work, Filipinos have no single Little Manila in the city, but there are concentrations of Filipinos in neighborhoods with large hospitals, like Elmhurst in Queens, the Norwood section of the Bronx and Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan. Jersey City, with 15,860 Filipinos, has the closest thing to an enclave, along Manila Avenue near the Holland Tunnel.

The prevalence of nurses has also helped give Filipinos here a distinctive demographic profile: 57 percent of the city’s Filipinos are female; 49.7 percent have college degrees; and the median income of full-time workers is $41,000, compared with $34,000 for all New Yorkers.

Queens (NY) Gazette (May 31, 2006)
Declaring he is proud to represent 80,000 Asian Pacific Americans who have helped shape the great multiethnic heritage of his congressional district, Congressmember Joseph Crowley recently celebrated May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

The Queens/Bronx lawmaker cited the successes that Asian immigrants have brought to the city. From “Little Manila”, Roosevelt Avenue from 65th to 71 Streets to 74th Street in Jackson Heights, New York’s only Little India, “Diversity is what makes us stronger as a city and a nation,” Crowley said. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • (1) Comments • Wednesday, August 26, 2009 • Permalink