Exploring the Latino Metropolis: A Brief Urban Cultural History of US Latinos


Corona is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. Home to the most heavily populated Latin American immigrant community in the borough, Corona houses one of the most diverse populations in the entire country. Originally composed of mostly Italians, the neighborhood has gone through drastic changes among its demographics; these changes can mostly be traced to the flux of ‘new immigration’ from South, Central, and Latin American countries. On July 1st, 1960, the Eisenhower administration enacted a major reconstruction of the immigration policies. These polices relaxed the constraints on immigration from certain countries, therefore initiating mass immigration from countries such as South and Central America, where economic opportunities were slim. Dominicans, Colombians, and Ecuadorians flocked to Corona, contributing to the unique diversity of this specific neighborhood. This heterogeneity sets Corona apart from other Latino areas, one of which is Miami, where the area is mostly comprised of Latinos from only a few different countries, namely Cuba and Mexico.
     According to Milagros Ricourt and Ruby Danta in their book, Hispanas de Queens, common language, self-perception, solidarity among concentrated ethnic neighborhoods, and a condensed population of Latinos in the working class heavily contributes to Corona’s unique diversity. Ricourt compares the conditions that Corona Latinos endured to the plight of the African Americans and the residential, professional, and social segregation they suffered. The concentrated Hispanic population in Corona contributed to housing discrimination, “limiting residential choices and reinforcing geographic concentration (Ricourt, Danta).”  Latinos in Corona seeking opportunity were only able to take on low-wage, blue-collar jobs; unlike the earlier European immigrants, Corona Latinos were stuck in their status, not able to obtain higher opportunities. These dubious factors contributed to the Corona immigrants’ ubiquitous ties back to their homeland.  
     In 1992, Corona was considered the most “ethnically mixed community in the world,” as recalled in an article by Roger Sanjek, an anthropology professor. The 2010 US Census reported a population of about 110,000 people, 64.2% of those people being foreign-born and originating from Latin American countries. To this day, Corona remains un-gentrified in terms of the population living there; however, it has undergone major transformations in other areas. The neighborhood is notable not only for its diversity, but it is also home of Citi Field, where the New York Mets play, Flushing Meadows - Corona Park, where two World Fairs took place, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the US Open is held each year (Foderaro).The birth of the ‘New Immigration’ drastically changed the the culture of Corona in the 1960s, and these changes have shaped Corona into the neighborhood it is today.

Works Cited​ 

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