The Associated Press reports that despite a general culture of fear and the devastation caused in the wake of the September 11th attacks, downtown Manhattan has enjoyed a population boom.
As it turns out, people werenâ€™t driven from the area that is associated with the most horrific terrorist attack to ever occur on American soil. They were attracted to it! Census figures released last week show that the number of people living near Ground Zero has swelled by about 23,000 since 2000, making it one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the city. Around 46,000 people reside south of Chambers Street, which is the Ground Zero area.
Just over 82, 000 people live South of Canal Street, which is 15 blocks north of the former site of the Twin Towers. That figures equals a 43 percent increase from 2000 and includes Battery Park City.
Are you surprised that the Ground Zero area has enjoyed population growth despite the terrorist attacks, and the memory of them?
In a New York Times profile, a troubling truth about NYCâ€™s Little Italy neighborhood emerged: a census survey released in December determined that the proportion of Italian-Americans among the 8,600 residents in a two-dozen-square-block area of Lower Manhattan had shrunk to about 5 percent.
The 2010 census also revealed that not one resident was born in Italy, either.
In a survey taken of the same area in 2000, the census found that the Italian-American population had dwindled to 6 percent. Only 44 were Italian-born, compared with 2,149 a half-century earlier.
In laymanâ€™s terms: Little Italy is becoming less and less, well, Italian.
In 1950, nearly half of the more than 10,000 New Yorkers living in the heart of Little Italy identified as Italian-American. However, some locals speculate that Chinatownâ€™s northward growth and SoHo expanding westward, as well as the rebranding of certain sections with more fashionable names NoLIta, which is an abbreviation for north of Little Italy, are part of the root causes of the section de-Italianizing. Mulberry and Grand Streets remain the most vibrant roads influenced by Italian culture, with plenty of Italian-centric food and shopping, but itâ€™s not like it was during the neighborhoodâ€™s heyday.
Some residents feel that there has been an Asian takeover in the Little Italy region, and the National Park Service designated a Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District with no geographic distinction between the neighborhoods. The two neighborhoods are coexisting and have begun organizing a Marco Polo Day and an East-Meets-West Christmas parade.
What do you think of Little Italy becoming less Italian?