Demographics shift in Corona

Mexican and Peruvian community replace Italian stronghold
December 27, 2011 03:06PM

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From left: Tortilleria Nixtamal and Park Side Restaurant, both in Corona

In a city that attracts as many immigrants and fosters as much turnover as New York does, the combination of distinct cultures is commonplace. The Wall Street Journal exemplified that reality by focusing on the Corona section of Queens.

When the construction of the No. 7 subway line connected the neighborhood to Manhattan in 1917, Corona began to attract black people moving from southern states and Harlem, including jazz legend Louis Armstrong whose home has become a landmark in the neighborhood. By the 1960s Italians began replacing blacks and some of the main thoroughfares were lined with Italian butchers, delis and restaurants.

Now the neighborhood is home to a strong Mexican and Peruvian community that has replaced Italian barbers with Dominican salons and Italian delis with Mexican restaurants, including “foodie sensation” Tortilleria Nixtamal, which was brought to the neighborhood by Soho residents seeking a Mexican clientele. Still, a few standbys, like Park Side restaurant and the Lemon Ice King of Corona, remain.

Rather than highlight any tensions the changing demographics have brought, the Journal focused on the blending of cultures, which it said has gone smoothly in the neighborhood since the 1920s. For example, Tortilleria Nixtamal sources its meat from nearby Franco’s deli and many Hispanics have taken to playing bocce, which was brought to William F. Moore Park by Italians decades ago. [WSJ]