November 4, 2012, Sunday, 308


From The Peopling of New York City

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* Kyulee Seo's Profile *
Birthdate October 17, 1989
Location Brooklyn, NY
New Hyde Park, NY
Birthplace Seoul, South Korea
Neighborhood New Hyde Park, NY
Violin & Piano
The Arts: Ballet, Figure-skating, and Contemporary Art
Classic Literature
Movies, especially foreign
Trees & Nature
The silver lining & shapes of clouds
Frozen Yogurt: Pinkberry, Pantree, Red Mango, and Da Bhang!
P.S. 221 of Little Neck, Hillside Grade School of New Hyde Park
New Hyde Park Memorial JS-HS
Herricks High School
Brooklyn College
Biology, Psychology, possible minor in Music

historical statistics on immigration to new york


About Me

My name is Kyulee Seo. I am a first-year pre-med student at Brooklyn College. I plan to major in Biology and Psychology, but along those lines, I wish to find some way to continue playing the violin and piano. Since I could remember, I wanted to become a violinist. Violin is my passion and I will never give it up. Nevertheless, violin is also my dream deferred. Despite the fact that everything I have done so far in my life has been for the pursuit of violin, my true love is with science and I aspire to become a pediatrician. I live happily with my father, mother, and brother, Kevin, but I used to have a dog named Sir Dude Lancelot. He was such a darling, precious, and meaningful presence to me. My friends play a tremendous role in my life. Some say that they meet their best friends in college, but I already met mine in high school. My friends and I have realized that being away from each other in college is difficult, especially when we have been seeing every single day in high school. However, the distance has brought us closer than ever as we have come to realize how much we value each others' friendships. Discovering new places, reading classic literature, enjoying nature walks along with photography, watching movies of all genres, knitting and sewing, cooking for others, shopping to overflow my wardrobe, and eating until my stomach hurts are among the things I enjoy. I adore viewing figure-skating, musicals, plays, operas, ballets, and contemporary art at galleries but I also equally enjoy attending baseball games with my father. I am so thankful for my family and friends because they mean the world to me and support me in everything I do.

From There to Here

I was born in Seoul, South Korea, but I was merely born there. I came to the U.S. when I was nine months old and have been residing in Long Island for all my life. My home is in a town named Herricks. If you have ever read "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herricks is the town that is between East Egg (Manhasset) and West Egg (Great Neck). Although I attend school in Brooklyn, Being a Korean-American means a lot to me and I hope that I will find ways to develop and embrace my identity as a Korean.

My father immigrated to America in 1985. Both my parents were raised and educated in Seoul, South Korea. My father finished his master's degree in Korea and had much going for him in Korea, but he decided to immigrate to America because he wanted a better life for his future family in America. He was residing in America when he met my mother and brought her to Korea after they got merried. Essentially, my mother had to start over in America because she lived her whole life in Korea, learning a new language in a foreign place. She gave up her dream and passion for art and became a homemaker for her family. My father took over the already established family businnss in America, but eventually established different businesses on his own.

However, my parents were not the first in my family tree to immigrate to the United States. My aunt, Susan Cho, immigrated to the United States in the mid-1970s. The reason behind my aunt's immigration to America is like most others' motives--for better opportunities for a better future. My aunt had much to leave behind. She had graduated top of the class from the most prestigious university in Korea. However, she left it all to come to America with my uncle and became a nurse at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. I can imagine that it was very difficult for my aunt when she came to this country. Nevertheless, she told me how it helped her tremendously how she could speak English when she arrived here, differing from my own mother. However, the cultural barrier was the most difficult part, according to her, especially because she settled with my uncle in an area where there were not many Koreans residing there. When my aunt was thoroughly established, she decided to bring my grandmother (her mother) from Korea to come live with her. For my aunt, stability in America came quickly, partly because of my uncle. He was a successful businessman and already owned real estate. All in all, my aunt earned a name for her own self and started from the ground to the top. She is a woman of strong convictions and morals. She always taught me that it is possible to achieve anything if you try hard; there are always obstacles in your way but the difference between people is how well they can withstand the harships that cross their paths. She now runs a visiting nurse corporation and refuses to retire. My aunt and uncle currently reside in Port Washington, New York with three children (my cousins), Alex, Jinnie, and Anthony. My aunt is one of my greatest inspirations and supporters in my dream to one day become a pediatrician.

My Ideal Neighborhood

Everyone has a different view of what an ideal neighborhood should look and be like. Big fields, Little League teams, after-school programs, choices of supermarkets, great arrays of dining, movie theatre, and one or more shopping centers are a few of the admirable traits I believe a neighborhood should have. On the surface of the neighborhood, there should be neatly trimmed houses with enviable gardens, almost every house with a dog inside—viewing its daily audience through a window, or outside—in its own playpen barking at all the squirrels that pester him. To my fortune, the neighborhood that I call home is what I would define as an ideal community because it outlines my picture of the neighborhood that I always wanted to live in. Growing up with many parks, playgrounds, open fields, good schools, and the so-called ideal environment has made me appreciate the privileges and comforts that my neighborhood has to offer. Being situated in an affluent, Suburban area that is also in the vicinity of big city gives the sense that accessibility of the neighborhood plays a great role in being a great place to live. In my opinion, the most admirable characteristic of a neighborhood is its diversity and multicultural population, and also how well it suits the interests of all the people living in it, especially young children and the elderly. The more cultures that come together, the more ideas open up, people learn about each other, discovering similarities and differences along the way. However, a true community is an idea that I believe is harder to attain than an ideal environment. It is one where residents are integrated, involved in the real issues of the community, and help out one another in small and large ways alike. For example, helping out the elderly neighbor with the groceries or shoveling the snow of the driveway of a disabled person’s house shows a sense of closeness and intimacy within the people. One way in which I think the integration of a community is represented is the voter count. In the political aspect, this a very important issue, not only because it directly affects the issues of the community, but also in small-scale ways such as budget cuts. All the people in the community should be interested in the affairs. Government leaders should settle issues democratically, bring about new and better reforms, and always listen to the needs and wants of the people. I think having a good academic system plays a large factor because it brings a common interest as well as a goal to always make the community a better place. Most importantly, an ideal neighborhood is one that is not neglectful of a certain group of people or individuals, but open and caring to all the people in its community.

On Immigration: Sophie's Choice

When Professor Krase informed us of this assignment, the first film that I thought of was Sophie's Choice (1982), starring Peter MacNicol, Meryl Streep, and Kevin Kline. Sophie's Choice by William Styron is one of the most compelling and moving novels that I have read and it is also amongst my favorite works of literature. Sophie's Choice shares the story of _____

and it gives an eye-opening depiction of immigrant sorrows. I chose a clip.

Maps - Herricks & Brooklyn

Census Data

Midterm Questions

1. Berger - A World In A City - Describe how specific neighborhoods have shifted populations over time. Give two examples of different immigrants in different neighborhoods.

     In The World in a City by Joseph Berger, the two distinctive neighborhoods of Chinatown and Little Neck-Douglaston are illustrated by the influence of immigrants. Chinatown is conspicuously overwhelmed with immigrants—teeming with bustling inhabitants and tourists, pollution, cheap goods, restaurants, and peddlers. Dangling Peking ducks from windows of food corners give off intense aromas that fill up these busy streets. These characteristics define Chinatown. The compelling truth about Chinatown’s ethnic makeup is that it is strongly Chinese although there are many different provinces from which they come from; hence, the presence of different Chinese dialects comes from all directions. If you go to an American bank on Canal Street, such as Commerce Bank, nearly all the signs and advertisements will be in Chinese language and the management will be Chinese people who definitely will communicate with Chinatown’s inhabitants.
     On the other hand, Douglaston is known as the prosperous liaison on the border of Queens and Nassau Counties. Symbolic of its location, Douglaston is neither like the underdeveloped areas such as Flushing of Queens, nor is it as settled and expensive as the suburbs of Nassau. Nevertheless, the difference between Chinatown and Douglaston is that Chinatown is the extreme representation of Asian population, particularly Chinese dominance and infiltration, whereas Douglaston is the representation of Asian prevalence but not dominance. This difference exists because the Asians who live in Douglaston have relatively assimilated with the different cultures that live amongst their neighborhood.
     Douglaston is described as “leafy” and “an attractive spot where residents appreciate the trappings of suburban tidiness” (64), whereas Chinatown is depicted as a ghetto. Moreover, the first-generation immigrants that settle in Chinatown climb the ladder and eventually move to Douglaston. Chinatown is a starting point—“Now a man from a remote Chinese village was surviving in the same wily ways, doing what he deemed necessary to scratch out his living, just like my parents, just like the Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants of a century ago” (53). “Neighborhoods such as Douglaston and Little Neck are laboratories for the second stage in the cycle of absorption set off by the immigrant law of 1965” (64). Additionally, Douglaston is a diverse and predominantly white neighborhood; Chinatown is a cultural accumulation of solitarily the Chinese culture, not an amalgamation of different cultures brought together.

2. Foner - From Ellis Island to JFK - Describe one similarity and one difference between the 2 waves of immigrants to New York City in terms of how they adapted to New York life.

 In From Ellis Island to JFK by Nancy Foner, the old and new immigrants are depicted as drastically different, elementarily even by comparing the composition of these two groups. While the old immigrants are made up of ethnicities predominantly Italians, Irish, and Jews, the new wave of immigrants come from all over the world. However, one similarity between the old and new wave of immigrants is that they still work as low-wage workers, especially in factories, because of their lack of education, the language barrier, and desperation in terms of financial issues. Moreover, it is more difficult for immigrant workers to climb out of the working class into the middle class because of the same reasons why they have to take up low-class jobs. Furthermore, immigrant needs to find even low-wage jobs are unfulfilled; hence, they often find jobs that pay below the minimum wage. Economically, this is advantageous to large corporations, although unscrupulous and illegal. However, this process occurs because since immigrants are disadvantaged in many ways, such as having the language barrier, they have no one to turn to.
     In contrast to heavily disadvantaged old immigrants, new immigrants of more current times are more educated and skilled, leading to their faster and better establishment in a new country. Today, a significant percentage of immigrants come to America with even a college degree. Moreover, the reasons for immigration to America have changed from the times of old immigrants and new. Old immigrants often immigrated because of economic and political turbulence, some even came because of the scarcity of resources in their home country. New immigrants relatively share the commonality of finding better opportunities and a better education for future generations.

3. Glazer & Moynihan - Beyond the Melting Pot - Pick one group and describe its assimilation process. Has this group truly melted in the pot?

     Although around the 1870s, anti-Semitism played a great role in imposing “a will of others that imposes a unity where hardly any [unity] is felt” (139) upon Jewish immigrants.
     The Jewish community seem to be lacking an organization that includes all Jews, but it has been revealed in the text that the “overwhelming majority of American Jews stem from a single culture—the Yiddish-speaking culture of Eastern Europe, which had a single, strongly defined religion, which we now call Orthodoxy… this dominant group created a Jewish subculture in which almost everyone knew, and which has served as the first stage in the assimilation to America of very different kinds of Jewish immigrants” (141). Importantly, studies have shown that Jews have been found to be “moving out of the working class into the middle class at a surprising rate” (143) because as all immigrants, most of them start out as low-class workers such as garment factory workers. However, as Jews have assimilated into American society, “there is still a sizable Jewish working class in NYC, but very few Jews are casual laborers, service workers, or semiskilled factory workers” (144). Evidence of their progression is that the small percentage of Jewish factory workers that exist are older of the immigrant generations, and “as they retire or die, they are not replaced by either their children or new Jewish immigrants” (144).
     The Jewish community has definitely melted into the pot as an immigrant group; nevertheless, the Jewish people have still upheld their strong sense of cultural identity. Moreover, Jews have “higher incomes because they are concentrated in big cities… are among the better educated… in business and the professions to a higher degree than other people” (143), showing that they have become established people in American society.

4. Class Notes Question - Discuss multiculturalism, cultural pluralism, and assimilationism. Which one most accurately depicts New York City?

     In class, we learned the difference between emigration, migration, and immigration. When individuals or a group of people of a different culture move to a different and new place, the social norm exists that they must assimilate into this new culture. Assimilation is an integrating process where these individuals or group mix in and become a part of a new society, often by changing or giving up old customs. When people assimilate, their old customs may be misplaced and then replaced by new customs in terms of mannerisms, dress code, dialogue, etc. Sometimes, assimilation occurs gradually and naturally by living and learning amongst a new culture, but it can also be forced by the already established culture.
     Distinguishable from assimilation, cultural pluralism is a society where minor groups of people from different cultures come together to join a major group with a common culture, yet maintain each of their own cultural identities while coexisting amongst each other. The minor groups share 75% of a common culture, but maintain their difference from each other. The major society as a whole is accepting of the different cultures, but there is a predominant culture. An example would be having a neighborhood in which there is a Buddhist temple, Catholic church, Protestant church, Jewish synagogue, and an Islamic mosque coexisting in peace. This kind of society brings about the use of hyphenations, such as Syrian-Jewish or Chinese-American people. New York City is most likely culturally pluralistic as a society.
     Also distinct from cultural pluralism, multiculturalism is a society in which many different cultural groups live amongst each other but no one culture is prevailing. Separate cultures, not having much in common, live side by side. In this kind of society, diversity exists and is embraced.