Population Displacement

The effects of the World Trade Center’s development far exceeded forcing several small business owners to close up shop. It resulted in the displacement of several and large groups of people who were formerly residents of the area. This, accordingly, has resulted in dramatic changes over the past few decades.

Foreign Born vs. Native Born Population Changes (presentation)

In 1950, approximately 2/3 of the population in the modern-day location of the World Trade Center area was made of native-born residents (67.4%). The remaining 32.6% of the population was represented by foreign-born residents and these statistics, according to the 1960 census, remained relatively stable throughout the 1950s. The 1960s, however, would bear witness to the exodus of its foreign-born immigrants, leaving none in the World Trade Center’s location, outside of Lower Manhattan.

Expansion across New York City – via bridges, tunnels, and a large subway system – moved business and industry out of Lower Manhattan and up north. The end of the 1960s left Lower Manhattan a barren slip of land since the island’s commercial port was moved to New Jersey (the incredibly large containers holding cargo could not fit the narrow piers in Manhattan) (New York: The Center of the World). Immigrants eager for money trudged northwards – following the movement of relocating factories – and most notably, Italians and Eastern European Jews made the move (Wang 70).

Income Changes (presentation)

World Trade Center construction, moreover, displaced several other long-established immigrant communities, including those of Christian Middle Easterners from what was then known as “Little Syria.” These foreigners hailed from the Arab lands of Syria and Lebanon decades back in the 1880s into the crowded tenements of Lower Manhattan. The remnants of their community after the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel were effectively abolished by the Center’s development (Kuruvilla).

The development of the World Trade Center, like its emblem of world finance and capitalism, the sixty-story Chase Manhattan Plaza, “strictly followed the principles of ‘urban renewal’ as they had emerged in the United States in the years following World War II” (“David and Nelson Rockefeller”).

Private Sector Employment (presentation)

The increased prevalence of the commercial business industry as a result of the World Trade Center’s development, brought in several other business ventures. Hotels, restaurants, boutique shops, and other places of the sort surrounded the area. As these sort of businesses grew, so did the population and the increased prevalence of white natives.

Returning to the displaced Arab community, for example, the Daily News reported, “For many years, the former St. George’s Syrian Catholic Church was home to an Irish pub. The bar has moved and construction workers now tramp in and out of the building. People still live in the old tenement building. But on the ground floor, the Syrian immigrants’ cigar factory has been replaced by a Thai and Chinese restaurant (Kuruvilla).

St. George's Chapel from the Little Syrian community

St. George’s Chapel from the Little Syrian community

Chapel becomes an Irish bar

Chapel becomes an Irish bar