Seth Low Park embodies the demographics of its surrounding neighborhoods, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach. The Italian-American population that used to reside in Bensonhurst has greatly decreased over the years, while increasing immigration from China and Russia has brought new cultures into the area.
According to a 1993 New York Times Article “A Slow Boil In the Melting Pot,1” Russian immigrants in 1993 were largely starting to move into the neighborhood, making use of Seth Low Park. The author, Garry Pierre-Pierre, mentions that “Russian emigres gather daily to play chess and dominoes,” replacing the “Italian-Americans [who] would have been sitting on those benches playing cards.” Pierre-Pierre talks about how “the arrival of about 17,000 Russian Jewish emigres since 1991” has “slowly replaced the Italian-Americans.” This is presently seen: Russian immigrants comprise a large percentage of the users of Seth Low Park. Italian-Americans are currently almost completely absent from the park.
The chart below depicts the demographic shifts in immigrant communities over a period of several years in zip code 11204, the area in which Seth Low Park is located.
The population patterns and demographic changes shown in the above chart are reflected in Seth Low Park. The number of Italian immigrants using the park have diminished greatly while a sudden influx of Russian and Chinese immigrants occurred. These two new immigrant groups rely heavily on the park to spend their free time, and a visit to the park will display their prevalence in the neighborhood. Many of the park-goers speak no English at all and rely solely on either their Russian or Chinese to communicate with fellow immigrants of their country.
The chart below represents the current demographics of the neighborhood surrounding the park, as recorded by the 2010 census.
Source of Charts: InfoShare Online, 2010 Census Data
1 “Seth Low Playground/ Bealin Square.” Highlights : NYC Parks. Web. May 2012. <http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/sethlowplayground/highlights>.