DNAinfo: Growth of Mexican Community Uptown Spurred by Job Access, Lower Rents

By Lindsay Armstrong

August 25, 2015

It’s long been possible to get a good bowl of sancocho or to sip a morir soñando in Upper Manhattan — but alongside these Dominican classics, Mexican dishes have begun to appear.

Whether it’s tacos al pastor from El Pitallito Restaurant on Broadway near West 161st Street or a glass of horchata from one of many local street vendors, these options are some of the most visible signs of Northern Manhattan’s growing Mexican community.

The Mexicans population in Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill more than doubled from 5,054 people during the 2000 census to about 11,214, according to the most recent data from the American Community Survey, which provides a five-year estimate based on data collected between 2009 and 2013...

City Councilman Mark Levine, who represents an area that includes Washington Heights between West 155th to West 165th Streets, said the change is most noticeable when visiting local schools and churches.

“It’s become a very visible presence,” Levine said of the Mexican community.

Levine speculated that some of the population growth could be due to people moving from other areas of Manhattan.

“I think it’s partly because East Harlem, which has traditionally had a Mexican enclave, has just gotten too expensive,” he said. “Of all of Northern Manhattan, the southern Heights probably remains the least gentrified, especially the housing east of Broadway.”

While there are Mexican communities in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, Levine noted that Washington Heights could be more appealing because it provides commuters easier access to jobs throughout Manhattan...

Levine said that the Mexican community has brought positive changes to the neighborhood.

“I think they’ve really helped to re-invigorate the southern Heights,” he said. “They’re a very welcome addition to the neighborhood.”

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