When it comes to being a “global city,” there are no cities more strategic and important to the international economic system than London and New York. About 36% of New York City is foreign-born (as compared to London´s 36.7%). More impressive than the sheer size of New York´s immigrant population is its wide ethnic diversity. Approximately 800 languages are spoken in the city, thus crowning it the most linguistically diverse city in the world (The Economist, 2011).
Throughout its history, New York has been a principal entry point for immigration to the United States. In the mid 19th century, for example, large waves of Irish and German immigrants arrived at Ellis Island in hopes of improving their livelihoods. In the past decade, the city has experienced another surge of immigration propelled by sharp spikes in Mexican and Chinese-born residents.
Those who migrate to the US often form ethnic enclaves within the city (see attached map). Joseph Salvo, director of the population division at the Department of City Planning affirms, “Immigrants certainly build neighborhoods.” When certain ethnic groups create their own mini-societies within the city, they allow characteristics of their native culture, such as their unique cultural cuisines, to take root.
As the quintessential “Melting Pot” of cultures, New York boasts a gastronomy that is as varied and international as its population. One can find every type of cuisine imaginable, including rare South African, Serbian, Barbadian, Swiss, Yemeni, Danish, Liberian or Scottish fares, to name a few.
New York´s multicultural neighborhoods give us a map for the best culinary world tour ever.