The Great Divide

Article Date: 
20 Feb 2009

The influx of immigrants from South Asia, lured by the same good schools and suburban-style living that attracted their predecessors, had begun in earnest by 1990. By one estimate, Asians, mostly from the Indian subcontinent, today make up nearly a third of the neighborhood’s population of about 20,000.

The transformation has come as a shock to many of the neighborhood’s earlier settlers, some of whom say they wonder whether magazines tucked into seatbacks on flights between Mumbai and Kennedy Airport advertise homes in Bellerose.

And many residents are not surprised that the developers who plan to tear down the Frozen Cup are Indian immigrants. Some of the same developers recently opened a Quality Inn down the road in Floral Park, an establishment, Mr. Augugliaro said, that “stands out like the Taj Mahal.”

While New York is often praised as a gorgeous mosaic, ethnic tensions are hardly unknown in the city, especially in neighborhoods that undergo rapid demographic shifts. Sometimes tensions are expressed overtly; other times, they lurk under the surface, revealing themselves in conversations that can be heard in local bars and living rooms.

That is the case in Bellerose.

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Article Source: 
New York Times