Once Shunned, Chinese Population Booms In Bensonhurst And Dyker Heights


(Source: Howard Weiss

When Asian immigrants, mostly from China, began immigrating to Dyker Heights, the local Italian residents were unfriendly to the new community and resisted the move, according to an article in Voices of NY.

As we recently wrote, a report completed by The New York City Planning Department notes that Chinese residents have spread farther and faster to places like Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay than almost anywhere else in the city, and our area now boasts a larger Asian population than Manhattan’s Chinatown.

Such access to Brookyln wasn’t always so open for the Chinese Immigrant community, according to the Voices article. The story recounts how certain areas in Dyker Heights were off limits for the immigrants,

Stanley Ng, a member of the Citywide Council of High Schools, moved to Dyker Heights from Bensonhurst 15 years ago when he wanted to buy a home.  What he found, though, was that homes on 80th St. between 10th and 11th Avenues were off-limits to Asian buyers.  He now lives on 70th St.  where several Chinese families live.

“At the time, they wouldn’t sell to us,” said Ng, in a phone interview. “That told me we weren’t welcome on the block back then.”

Since then, Voices reports, the population in Dyker Heights has grown from 6,073 in 2000 to 12,149 in 2010, a 100 percent increase. And they now represent 28.6 percent of Dyker Heights’ population, compared with 15.4 percent a decade earlier.

The new arrivals are beginning to make their mark on the landscape, too. Back in December we reported on a new Chinese temple on New Utrecht Avenue.

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  • a good neighbor

    the chinese are the new italian. imagine the other way around when chinese won’t sell house to other ethnic groups.

    • Clean b Brooklyn owner

      They already dont sell to any one but their own! Get real.

  • rose

    at the time of trying to get an appt here in bensonhurst I was married to a hispanick and had a hispanick last name im Italian american no one would rent to me so after months of rejection I used my maiden name nn found an appt in one day IDC Who u r u dont own the block Im sick of u trying to control everything your no better then anyone else

    • a good neighbor

      try buying or renting in borough park and see what happens. i bet my life saving you won’t succeed.

    • Emme

      Maybe it’s because you can’t spell Hispanic correctly.

    • Lily

      Nobody has to sell to you if they don’t want to! It doesn’t mean they think they own the block. Hispanic OR hispanick? .. LOL

  • chineseguy

    If they don’t like the Chinese people then move up to flatbush.We the Chinese people dont cause crimes we sell cheap goods.

    • Well, the anecdote mentioned was from 15 years ago. I would hope things have changed, and from the other comments here I’m encouraged to see a welcoming attitude.

    • Clean brooklyn owner

      You sell cheap goods that cause cancer and kill people

      • chineseguy

        haha you probably cant even afford it! even spanish people work/buy stuff from us dont believe it? see for yourself they be carrying boxes back and fourth

      • Sean P. Fodera

        Chinese companies do that at the behest and on the payroll of American companies, who can’t be bothered to pay decent rates to manufacture here in America.

    • Lily

      Exactly. Chinese people are probably the most hardworking people and we get hated on. We don’t cause crimes.

    • strangemonkey

      But you Chinese are dirty, spitting everywhere, peeing in parks, blow nose snot rocket, all the time, refusing to assimilate, tax evading, money grubbing, arrogant (did I say DIRTY?), put up shitty, ugly, cheap housing, with ugly shiny tin foil fences with red Mao Zedong moron flags on your porch, dig in my trash, destroy once beautiful historic neighborhood. Maybe crime would be better.

  • Sean P. Fodera

    My wife is Chinese (I’m Irish-Italian), and she had her own misgivings about Chinese people moving onto our Bensonhurst block. Without exception, these new Chinese residents have been hard-working people who have completely renovated their houses (many of which were in dire need of renovation, having not been maintained by their former Italian owners). One of these new residents spent just shy of $1,000,000 on his home, and others have spent nearly as much. Again, without exception, they have maintained the style and character of their homes. In fact, my house, which was once considered one of the jewels of the block now looks somewhat shabby in comparison.

    Needless to say, we are thrilled with our new Chinese neighbors, who have filled the block with kids playing, lovely homes, friendly smiles and greatly increased property values.

    • Sean P. Fodera

      I should clarify. The sums I reference above were spent on the renovations, which was in addition to the purchase prices of the houses.

    • Clean brooklyn owner

      Lovely homes!?seriously…..they were lovely. Till they put their dirty laundry outside and their cold stainless steel gates every where.

      • Alfonce

        thank you, thats what i am saying, yet your the only one the gets it, thank you.

      • Sean P. Fodera

        No laundry hanging on our block. And actually, very few of them have installed stainless steel. The two who did chose patterns that work very nicely with the house’s architecture.

    • Bensonhurst

      You think so. The neighborhood is starting to smell. Front there houses look so disgusting and specially seeing stainless steel doors and window gates.

      • Sean P Fodera

        My house had wrought iron gates on the windows when I moved in 19 years ago, as did most of my neighbors, who were mostly Caucasian. Nothing new, or of-Chinese-origin there.

        Stainless steel is just a matter of opinion. Some of it is cheap and boring, but I’ve seen some very nice examples appearing in the neighborhood recently. I think the popularity of the material is leading the manufacturers to put some effort into offering more designs and styles.

        Che sara, sara, and to each his own, I guess.

  • Rager

    I’m glad the racist have left Brooklyn, we don’t need them in our neighborhood. There’s now a mixed presence in Bensonhurst with majority Asian but also Eastern Europeans, Albanians, Mexicans, Guatemalans, Middle Easterns, Indians, Puerto Ricans the list continues to grow, I welcome all for I am of mixed decent myself.

    • Sean P. Fodera

      Apparently, the racists haven’t left because they are still posting here.

    • Bensonhurst

      I bet your block looks so ghetto!

  • Alfonce

    I have been living in Bath Beach for 25 years, the amount of Chinese that have moved in this neighborhood is incredible. While they are not bad people, they have no aesthetic taste for their homes.

    The first thing they do is install those God ugly “stainless steel doors”, and if the house has 4 doors attached, all four will be different. They do not match any of the connecting doors and it looks terrible.
    Then the “stainless steel fence” goes up, the the “stainless steel bars” go all over the windows.

    Then instead of putting a clothesline in the BACK of the house, like we all do, the Chinese hang all the wet laundry all over the FRONT of the house, off the balcony, on the front stoop, making it look like a junky neighborhood. Clothesline belong in the back of the house.

    Horrible, I have never see a nice Chinese neighborhood look nice. 86th Street looks like Flushing. While there are a lot of nice Chinese people, there also a lot of dirty ones as well. They spit all over the sidewalk when they are walking, they all smoke cigarettes..disgusting. i find most of them actually disgusting.

    But when the teenage Chinese kids walk around in packs, they are quiet and you never hear them, so that does count for something. The Chinese vendors are all nice as well, so that too does count for something.

    • Emme

      The ignorance in this post is incredible. Who are you to judge cultural differences in taste? What if someone were to say they think your home looks like absolute garbage? The aesthetic nature of the stainless steel reinforcements are forgone for the security these folks have when they install the reinforcements.

      What if they don’t have a backyard or if their landlords don’t allow them to extend a clothesline in the back? At least they have the right mind to save money and not give a crap and do what they want.

      I’ve seen just as many non-Chinese folks spitting on the sidewalk. In fact, I have an Italian neighbor at no fail will spit on the sidewalk every morning and he’s been on my block for over 20 years.

      The generalization that “all” Chinese smoke cigarettes just baffles me. Just take a walk on 86th street and see how many non-Chinese smokers there are.

      If you don’t want your Chinese neighbors going through your garbage looking for recycled bottles and cans, use Google Translate and post a message in Chinese telling them that you don’t like it. It’s not hard. Or if you have a good heart, just put the recycled bottles and cans in a separate bag on the outside so they can just take it instead going through your garbage. I have a neighbor who does that and he lives in peace with his Chinese neighbors.

      A lot of the residents in Brooklyn, especially the second generation ones don’t understand the hardships of immigrants. You may think it’s disgraceful for someone to go through someone else’s garbage but they are trying to make ends meet even with pennies.

      It’s because of your attitude that a lot of them act harshly toward other ethnic groups. You judge them without any understanding of where they come from. They extend the same courtesy to you.

      • Sean P. Fodera

        Bravo, Emme! Bravo!

        So many people forget that their own ancestors faced the same bigotry when they came here, and make no efforts to make things better. Remember when all Italians were called “garlic-eaters”? Or all those “drunken” Irishmen moving in? Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

        • brooklynite

          Most Irish and Italian immigrants were proud to be American and quickly learned the language. Italians are also extremely clean and have beautiful houses they are proud of. Italians and Irish wanted to be American. The chinese here just want to make this country 2nd China. They have no interest in assimilation. So you can’t make that comparison.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            Sure I can. The Italians and Irish were denied jobs by the existing Americans, and forced to take low-end, subsistence jobs that “real Americans” didn’t want – police, fire, sanitation – the same things that the Chinese and Mexicans are doing now. The Italians and Irish were simply lucky enough to have the right (or approximately right) skin color. Any other claim is just bigotry.

          • strangemonkey

            This is absolutely correct.

      • Alfonce

        What if they don’t have a backyard or if their landlords don’t allow
        them to extend a clothesline in the back? At least they have the right
        mind to save money and not give a crap and do what they want.

        then you dont get to do it in the FRONT of the house make the appearance of the building look like a shit house. Obviously they dont give a crap when they hang the clothes out in the front of the house.

        What if someone were to say they think your home looks like absolute garbage?

        My home doesn’t look like garbage, everything is neat and matches. I dont have curtains tied in a knot, i dont have all mismatched flower pots all over my grounds, i dont have sheets hanging over my balcony, should I go on?

        You may think it’s disgraceful for someone to go through someone else’s
        garbage but they are trying to make ends meet even with pennies.

        Then stay in your own country and don’t come here.

        I have been living in my neighborhood for many years, and I see this every day. Most of the Chinese people are dirty and disgusting habits. Makes me sick.

        • chineseguy

          You don’t like Chinese people? Move out of America We already took
          over West to East America/Canada, unleast your Native American you
          got no rights to tell us to go back to our country or say how dirty we are

          • neil

            look, most of chinese people are really filthy. Take a walk around your neighborhood and see for yourself. Sorry, it’s the truth.

          • chineseguy

            haha probably where you live is filthy but where I live is clean guess it is time for you to move out pizzaboy

          • Sean P. Fodera

            Sorry, it’s not true. Many Chinese have different standards of cleanliness than the average American, but I walk my neighborhood all the time. My Chinese neighbors homes are immaculate (inside and out). The people I see spitting in the street, littering, etc. all along the avenues in the 20s are older Italian-Americans and Russians. You’re just applying a stereotype, which is almost always false.

          • John_Ghead

            Oh come on Sean! Now you’re just leaning WAY too much to the other side to make a point!
            While I find a lot of these comments here bigoted and deplorable, you CANNOT tell anyone here with a straight face that our Chinese neighbors have not elevated the level of litter and trash strewn about the neighborhood.
            We have such a hypocritical way of always talking about the “good” facets of a culture or group, but Heaven help us if we dare talk about any of the negative aspects.
            Have you been on the “D” or “N” train the past 15 years?
            If so, can you tell me without stifling a chuckle that riding them is just the same as 20 years ago? Same atmosphere? Same overall experience when it comes to our fellow commuters?
            No offense but I think you’re not being completely honest with yourself, as are a lot of others here blindly praising Chinese because God forbid someone states anything negative about a group of people, even if there is some truth to it.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            I’m not leaning either way. I’m playing this straight up the middle. There are good and bad people in our community of all races, ethnicities and religions. That doesn’t mean the rest of those same groups don’t belong here.

            Yes, I can tell you with a straight face that our Chinese neighbors have not elevated the level of litter and trash. I’ve lived in Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights (but hanging out with my buddies in Bensonhurst) just shy of 50 years, and in my current home for nearly 20. One of the dirtiest streets I’ve seen in recent years is 20th Avenue between 83rd and 84th Street, due entirely from the Russian fruit stand on the corner, which makes no effort to contain their trash. The avenues nearby and 86th Street haven’t been decently clean since the 70s. What I will accept is that there is more litter along 86th Street because there are more shoppers there than there have been in 30 years. The Chinese brought back the economy of this neighborhood when it was dead.

            I take the N train daily, and the D train fairly often, and have done so since I started working in 1989. The trains are cleaner than they’ve ever been. I get a seat regularly (I’ve never had to fight with a Chinese person taking up more than one seat, but I often have to ask Italians or Russians to please move over, and/or close their legs so i can fit). Other than the occasional homeless person who might make the car smell unpleasant, or the “It’s SHOWTIME!” crew of so-called dancers, my commutes are more pleasant than ever before.

            I’m not blindly praising anyone. I’ve admitted that there are bad apples in every ethnic group, including my own. None of the nay-sayers here have the honesty to admit the same. I don’t say you can’t say anything negative – what I object to is the stereotyping and the hyperbole being used by clearly racist people.

            Clean brooklyn owner wrote: “Till they put their dirty laundry outside and their cold stainless steel gates every where.” There’s that damning all-encompassing “they”, and “every where” (misspelled, of course).

            Alfonce has at least ameliorated the worst of his/her statements. But things like “Horrible, I have never see a nice Chinese neighborhood look nice.” are all-encompassing. Clearly neither Alfonce nor CBO have seen my block or the ones around it because we have nothing like what they are claiming.

            I have no problem with complaining about specific individuals who litter. I have no problem with complaining about (or even confronting) people who hawk phlem on the sidewalk. I have no problem with people thinking that this or that home lacks curb appeal. (BTW, it is invariably Italians and Russians who fail to clean up after their dogs near my home. The Chinese dog owners near me are absolutely dilligent about it. I know because I watch for who is leaving dog poop behind, and I confront them about it.) What I object to is labeling it as the sole offense of a single ethnic group.

            On the curb appeal side, there is no law in New York City that says you have to maintain the front of your home in any particular manner (unless you belong to a co-op, which is not law, just the deal you make when you agree to live in a co-op). Home owners can do anything they want with their property within certain public safety and health laws. I’ve pointed to the “ghost house” at 10th and 82nd as an example of a horribly maintained home about which the City can do nothing because it’s within the (non-Chinese) owner’s right to keep it that way (I believe the City was able to require that the overgrown hedges there had to be cut back because they were encroaching the sidewalks). My Italian neighbor used to use his backyard to store building materials for his contracting business, which actually was illegal. The neighbors here actually didn’t have a problem with it, until it became a breeding ground for rats, at which time we were able the Health Department to get him to clean it up.

            If you don’t like the Fedders houses with laundry hanging from the balconies, you can’t blame the buyers. You have to blame the original owners who sold to the developers – generally Italians who not only decided that they wanted to leave Brooklyn, but had no consideration for their long-time neighbors and so-called friends. The same Italians (or descendants thereof) who once hung their laundry from the fire escapes when they first came here. I’ve been offered some seriously incredible money to sell my home to developers, but that will never happen. One and two family homes are the heart of Bensonhurst, and I won’t be part of the mercenary gutting of the character of our neighborhood.

            In my years in my home, I have had to have many dozens of cars ticketed and towed for blocking my driveway (I keep a log of date, make, model and license plate, and take photos). Not one has been owned by a Chinese person. Every one of them has been Italian, Russian or someone from the Middle East. How do I know? They all show up at my door the next day to threaten me for “touching my car.” I tell them that I never touched their car – the police officer may have touched it when they put the ticket on it, and the tow truck driver certainly touched it when he hooked it up, but I never laid a finger on it. And, if they park there again, the police and tow truck driver will likely touch it again, but that’s nothing to do with me. Again, never a Chinese person.

            As I’ve said, none of the things that the Chinese are being accused of are exclusive to the Chinese, but the posters here won’t admit that, and are simply slinging bullshit to justify their bigotry. That’s not what America or Brooklyn is about.

            I’m being completely honest about the positive effects I’ve seen from the Chinese influx in Bensonhurst. Do I see some negatives? Yes, the same negatives I’ve seen from the Italian, Russian, and Jewish community here (take a look at the curb appeal of some of the Orthodox Jewish homes in the 70s and 80s along the 20s, and you’ll be begging to have Chinese people hanging their laundry on the fences there just to block the peeling paint, sagging porches and broken doors). But, overall, the Chinese have improved the homes they’ve bought here, brought new commercial life to 86th Street (and 18th Avenue), and raised the standards in our schools. Absolutely better neighbors than any bigot posting here.

          • John_Ghead

            At the risk of sounding completely unreasonable, I don’t believe much of what you have stated.
            I’m sorry!
            But I have also lived (born and raised) in the neighborhood just short of 50 years, and have a “bad habit” of watching who does what, it’s almost a compulsion, and all that you are saying you see everyday flies in the face of all I (and many others of my neighbors of different backgrounds) have seen time and again.
            I agree, there is bad and good in all groups. Of course. However, I find it interesting that while you keep saying not to generalize, your points of contention seem to conveniently make it just the “Italians and Russians” who are doing all the bothersome offenses we’re discussing. So it makes you no better than anyone bashing the Chinese.
            Dare I venture into speculation and suggest that the fact that your wife is Chinese I feel you’re biased in some way, which seems to have you focusing on other groups, just like other groups are focusing at the Chinese.
            Sorry, but it is just THAT bad in regards to my Chinese neighbors, for over 15 years now, that with all honesty and empirical evidence I have stored away over the years, that all you stated is absurd and actually biased.
            And if you really believe that 86th street was the same in the 1970’s and 1980’s as it is today, I bid you a good day and just chalk it up to two people who cannot see things in the same way.
            Kind of like talking about religion.
            I’ll be the first to admit that we are all lucky that Bensonhurst continues to be a safe, friendly neighborhood that is great for ANYONE to come and live.
            We’re lucky that it is still a place that hasn’t been gentrified into a bland strip-mall atmosphere like most of the rest of the city.
            And we are indeed lucky that the Chinese population sees this area as a place to plant roots. I welcome them. I really do.
            But I will also always call-out the unfavorable things a group brings to the table as well. Doesn’t mean I hate them.
            Heck, even at a young age I used to always call out my fellow Italian-Americans for all the B.S. they did. I still do.
            It’s about being 100% honest, even if it hurts “your own kind”.
            The Chinese are an asset to the area, but they DO indeed bring unique negative aspects as well, just like all other groups did/do.
            Can we at least agree on that?

          • Sean P. Fodera

            I can’t make you believe me, any more than you can make be believe you. My brother was with the NYPD, and he moved out of the City because he said he saw things about this City that he hoped I never would, but that I was a fool for staying. Yet, here I am – never been robbed (mugged once in high school), never had a car stolen, etc. Different experiences.

            But again, what I’m saying is that the Chinese people about whom you are complaining are not doing anything that other groups. The reason I point to the Italians and Russians is because they are the other two predominant groups whom the nay-sayers here seem to think were/are better neighbors than the Chinese. My experience is that some of those people may have been better in some ways, and not in others, but other than the color their skin, they were not all that different from the Chinese.

            It’s a fact that the homes on my block and the blocks immediately around me that were purchased by Chinese families have all been renovated to be much nicer than they were under the previous owners. As I noted earlier, my home used to be considered one of the jewels of our block, as my wife and I work hard to maintain our curb appeal, tiny garden and outdoor decor. Now, my home, despite the same amount of hard work by us, looks decidedly shabby in comparison to the lovely brickwork and gardens put in by our new Chinese neighbors.

            That doesn’t make the previous owners bad people. It simply indicates that the blanket statements being made about the Chinese here are untrue. When people use words like “everywhere” and “all” and “never”, those are all-encompassing statements that don’t take into account the ones who don’t fall into those categories. It denies the existence of good, hard-working, clean Chinese neighbors, of whom I have a plethora. That’s bigotry, and I have to call it out.

            You won’t find anywhere in any of my posts any all-encompassing statements. I consistently use the words “some” or “in general” or “overall” (meaning a majority, not “all”) because I recognize that there are good and bad in every group, but if you are going to slam an entire group, you are patently stating a fallacy.

            I didn’t say 86th is the same as it was in the 70s and 80s. I said it was better. There are more shops, and more shoppers. When I used to hang out at Jahn’s in the 80s, or cruise 86th with my buddies, it was a wasteland of gated, graffiti-strewn storefronts. Now, the storefronts are occupied, and doing brisk business. That can only be good for the community.

            Do we need better attention to sanitation? Sure. But that’s on the City to enforce, and educate these new business owners. But, I won’t discount the benefits they bring to the community over trash on the street.

            I’ll agree that some Chinese bring negative aspects. I won’t agree that it’s all or most of them. And I won’t agree that they are unique to the Chinese (as I’ve demonstrated over and over in these posts).

            Ultimately, we probably have to agree to disagree. I’m sorry that your personal experience with the folks who moved into your block have given you a negative experience. I freely admit, time and time again, that there are good and bad in every ethnic group.

            Ask anyone whose known me any length of time, I haven’t a biased bone in my body (I am, btw, a professional negotiator by trade, so it’s in my nature and training to see the good and bad of both sides of any argument, and find a middle ground where both can meet without ire). I’ll always defend any ethnic group against unqualified bigotry.

          • brooklyngirl

            I think it’s valid to say that the neighborhood had a certain level of “dirtiness” when it was mostly Italian and that now it is more so. Aside from that, I find that the remaining “older” residents and shop owners are not keeping the traditions that stood for the better part of a century in that neighborhood (Bensonhurst). When I come into the neighborhood weekly to visit during the holidays and see that 18th Ave., 20th Ave and Bay Parkway have no Christmas lights up across the avenues I am depressed. Those businesses need to respect the community they moved into and put up the lights, have the celebrations of Christmas — and not Happy Holiday junk or worse yet ignore Christmas — as there is still a larger community that celebrates Christmas. I do think that if we want the community to stay traditional we need to work together to make sure both sets of cultures get what they want.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            I’m with you on that. Christmas lights and some Christmas cheer do a great deal to improve any business district. I think the BIDs are going through some growing pains and transition issues, and they’ll get these matters sorted out in a year or so. The 18th Avenue Feast has had some hard times in the past two years (ably covered by this blog, I might add). But, I’m an optimist that they’ll find a way to keep the traditions going.

            Up until this past year, we had been seeing the spreading of the famous “Dyker LIghts” into Bensonhurst. There were three spectacular houses on 82nd just off 18th the past few years, but this year, they didn’t decorate. To the best of my knowledge, they weren’t sold, but I don’t know why they weren’t decorated.

            On my own block, I’ve usually been one of only two or three houses who put up Christmas lights. This year, I was one of about ten, most of the others being… wait for it… my new Chinese neighbors. God love ’em! ? And yes, one of them out-did me, and I’ve made some post-Christmas clearance sale purchases to even things out next year.

          • CaptainN

            They didnt decorate do to the death of one of the owners this past year!

          • Sean P. Fodera

            Thank you for that information, CaptainN. I did not know. I hope things will be better for them this year.

          • strangemonkey

            Chinese are disgusting.

          • Alfonce

            I do like Chinese people, I think for the most part they are nice people. I have a wonderful chinese family that lives right under me for the last 25 years.
            I just think some of the stuff they do to thier homes, as I have posted are a bit disgusting.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            I’m glad to hear that. Your earlier posts were much more all-encompassing in your negativity, which is the tone to which I was responding.

        • d

          You are right. It’s not the young people that live in those disgusting conditions, it’s their parents. My sister studied asian studies at Stony Brook and she learned that many of the chinese who come here to NY are from a certain region of China…basically the hicks of china. They are notoriously rude and dirty. Most chinese do not even like them. They come here, starve out the local businesses, and destroy the blocks with their filth and trash. It’s sad really. The only thing I can say that is good is that they rarely cause crime. They also scam the system and have benefits out the wazoo. They barely pay taxes too, and they have so much money. This was once a beautiful neighborhood. Soon it will change for the worse because of the chinese. Bensonhurst is already done. And BTW, they break so many laws you couldn’t believe. Happy Ending brothels called “Spas” and “Foot Rub” are now all over the neighborhoods. It’s disgusting. People who will argue with me need to face the facts and take a walk around Bensonhurst and Dyker and see for yourself. Case closed.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            “They scam the system” just like the Sicilians did back in the day, and the Russians do now. And I’m sure no Italian EVER ran a brothel or did anything other than be a “legitimate businessman”.

            As I’ve noted, I walk my neighborhood all the time. The regular homes on my block and the nearby blocks that are now owned by Chinese are lovely, well-maintained, and have increased my property values by tens of thousands of dollars in the last year. (Sure, some of them stuck in Fedders houses don’t have the ability to freshen the curb appeal, or dry their laundry where their delicates can’t be seen.) What I see all around me are hard-working Chinese business owners, who are forcing the non-Asian stores to bring their prices down in order to compete – I’m pretty sure that’s good old American capitalism at work. Sure, some of their parents are out collecting bottles for nickels, but, as I noted elsewhere, if the non-Chinese in Brooklyn don’t care about the environment, these people are providing an important public service, and being appropriately rewarded for it.

            If you think it’s case closed for Bensonhurst, then please, by all
            means, move away, and sell your home to a Chinese family. They are much
            better neighbors than blind bigots like you.

          • Alfonce

            Try walking on 86th street from 18th ave to 25th ave, what was once an area that people from all over came to shop, now is starting to look like Flushing. Chinese signs all over, litter and garbage. Disgusting, it is absolutely disgusting. It makes me sick that this has happened to my beautiful neighborhood.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            I grew up here. In the 60s and 70s, 86th Street was a vibrant shopping strip, with Jahn’s Ice Cream parlor and department stores. In the 80s, those all went away, but not because of the Chinese. The Chinese have taken a decrepit street under the El, and turned it into a thriving shopping area, with great restaurants, amazing food at terrific prices, more bakeries than you can shake a stick at, and enough shops selling home goods that I rarely need to shop the big box stores for anything. The Chinese are the best thing that ever happened to 86th Street since Tony Manero stopped for a slice at Lenny’s.

          • Alfonce

            YOU are living in fantasy land. There is absolutely nothing vibrant about under the el on 86th Street.absolutely Nothing. It looks like a complete pig stuy.
            There is no great restaurants and amazing food, are you kidding me? Bakeries, seriously doubt it.

            Where is this wonderland? It isn’t on 86th between 18th Ave and 25th Ave. I know every inch of 86th Street, and it ain’t here.

            The Chinese are the worst thing to ever happen to 86th street. It is filthy and dirty. Nothing but junk dollar stores and disgusting fruit markets.

            you are living in fantasy land.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            No fantasyland, just more awesome Bensonhurst shopping. The supermarkets are, admittedly not to American supermarket standards, but the freshness, choice and price of the food on sale in them is awesome. We buy nearly all of our meat, fish and poultry from them (we have a liking for the beef at Meats Supreme, though). The Boat House and New Ruan’s on 86th bet. 19th and 20th have excellent food, as well as another little Chinese place across the street, whose name I can’t recall. There isn’t a bad Chinese bakery anywhere along that strip. I don’t even like Chinese pastry, but the sandwiches they make and some of the dim-sum-like hot dishes are worth the walk. The people in my office ask me to bring them assortments from these bakeries on a regular basis (not a Chinese person in the department). Those “junk dollar stores” carry better and more convenient small hardware items at a much better price than the local Home Depot.

            You probably don’t know any of this because you probably don’t want to give any of “those people” your money. I pity your stomach because your bigoted little mind is preventing it from experiencing some terrific food.

      • c

        I understand your point, but Alfonce has a point. I live in Dyker and I have seen it first hand. It’s not ignorance, it’s fact. They do indeed treat their homes like this. I can tell if a chinese family lives in a certain house by a few details such as trash all over their sidewalk and the front of their house, ugly stainless steel doors and bars, and fluorescent lighting. Many go through my families trash. Will I ever mistreat an asian person? No. But facts are facts and that is how many of them live in these neighborhoods. It’s not that we hate them or would ever show violence but when you see things for your very eyes and explain what you see, that is not ignorance. That is reality. Get over it.

        • Sean P. Fodera

          Ever been to the corner of 82nd Street and 10th Avenue? Is that a Chinese house on the corner?

          A: It’s not.

          “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Every ethnic group has faced these same ignorant prejudices when they first began to spread through our city. It’s a classic case of NIMBY. If you want a homogenous place to live, there are plenty of them in Staten Island and Jersey. If you want a vibrant, welcoming place to live, Brooklyn is still the best game in town, and it’s on us to make the new-comers welcome. The people who need to get over it are the bigots.

        • Alfonce

          This is exactly what I am trying to get across. I don’t hate Chinese people, many of then are very nice and they do not create crime at all. I know many of the Chinese merchants along 86th and they are friendly to me as i am to them.
          They just don’t live as clean and neat as I do here. Doesnt make them bad people, just a little gross.
          I have nothing against a clothesline, I have one also, but it is in the back of the house, not the front. We dont hang wet laundry all over the stoop.

          and i forgot about the flourescent lights, they all have them. LOl

          But I too, can always pick out a Chinese family house.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            “I can always pick out a Chinese family house” sounds an awful lot like “I can tell a guilty person by the color of their skin.” Come by my block, and I guarantee you won’t be right about who owns which house even 30% of the time. Stereotypes, Alfonce, that’s all you’ve got to work with.

          • Alfonce

            then come to my part and I can point out every single Chines Family.
            My friend lives on 21st Ave between Benson and Bath the Chinese family own the house, my friend lives on the bottom floor, they live on the top. The Chines hang all the laundry all over the balcony in the front of the house, off the railings, on the light fixture, Hello, there is a back yard??

            The next door neighbors have kids toys all over the front of the yard, big plastic tents, swings. hello, this belongs in the back of the yard. So don’t tell me they aren’t slobs. Please!!

            I could go on and on.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            As I said, there are good and bad in every race. The Italians hung their laundry from the front fire escapes. There’s a Jewish family near me with every conceivable Little Tykes toy in their front yard. It doesn’t condemn every person of such ethnicity who moves into the neighborhood.

            BTW, many of them probably can’t hang their laundry in the back because they may not get enough sunlight due to intervening buildings behind their house. We’ve never been able to put in a clothesline because our yard only gets sunlight for a very brief period of time each day. We have the option of using a clothes dryer, but not everyone is so fortunate.

          • strangemonkey

            A lot gross. They love the shiny stainless steel ugly tin foil bars, fences, and doors. They put up ugly red and gold signs in Chinese on their porches, they think they’re still in China. But forgot China is a disgusting backwards country, which is why they’re here. They are trying to turn Brooklyn into the PRC. I saw a woman butcher a duck on the sidewalk a few weeks ago, like it was nobodies business. And they love fluorescent lights – the uglier blue tones especially. You can always see the depressing glow from their windows. I’m with Alfonce, I don’t want to do them harm, but they are so disgusting, and disregard common decency of keeping clean, that they appear to be aliens from a different universe. They make me sick. It’s true some of the ones with a little class and education (2nd gen) seem capable of normalcy. Laws against spitting and urinating in parks need to be enforced!

      • Breadwinner

        You know a lot of Homes owned by Italians are definitely well maintained and pleasing to look at on the outside. But inside the foundation is crumbling and falling apart. But that doesn’t matter cause it looks good amirite.

    • Lily

      So smoking cigarettes is a CHINESE thing huh? Please get your ignorant ass out of here.

  • Bensonhurst Resident

    Most of the older generation of Chinese people are very rude. Especially on the train. They push through just to get a seat or try to get on the train even when it’s so packed and no one can move. They always eat their pork buns at 7 in the morning on the train paying no mind to the horrible smell it causes. No one wants to smell that so early in the morning- they should have respect for the other people commuting and eat their breakfast elsewhere. They also always go through our garbage and leave a mess afterwards.

    • Alfonce

      yes, we have this chinese lady that goes thru our garbage every saturday morning at 8am, rummiging thru the cans making all kinds of noise.
      I finally had to yell at the window for her to get the hell out of my garbage pails. havet seen her since.

    • Sean P. Fodera

      Those older people are not being rude. They are simply doing what their culture taught to expect – ie: that younger people would defer to them on the basis of their age. It’s standard in Chinese culture that older people come before younger people. They are supposed to get preference in lines and for seats on public transportation. The Russians and Italians in my area do the same thing – they expect deference because that’s how they were raised. You know… the way non-Chinese Americans of my generation were taught to treat older people and women… showing them courtesy, allowing them to go in front of us in stores, and giving up seats to them on the subway. The Chinese aren’t asking anything of you that you aren’t supposed to do as a matter of courtesy.

      As for the pork buns, I love that smell any time of day. Delicious. What I can’t stand is the smell of coffee – makes me gag. So I’d prefer if the Starbucks, Dunkin Joe and McCafe drinkers would keep their stink off the trains in the morning, but it ain’t gonna happen. Like anyone in polite society, I ignore it and go about my business.

      As for going through the garbage, they are doing a public service, since so many non-Chinese throw away deposit bottles that should rightly be returned to the store. Every deposit bottle you throw away that doesn’t get taken out by a bottle-lady has a high chance to be sent to landfill because so many people don’t properly sort their recyclables, and loads of recycling have to be rejected because the load is contaminated. They know which houses recycle properly and which don’t. If they find good bottles in your trash, they will come back. Once they know you never have deposit bottles, they leave your trash alone. No one has gone near mine in almost two years.

      • Alfonce

        Please, that post made me sick. In Chinese culture the older people come first, well this is America, here they dont.

        • Sean P. Fodera

          Actually, in America, they always did. Older people, women, the handicapped, even young children were all historically given deference by the young and healthy in this country. We no longer tip our hats, or lay our coats across puddles, but plenty of people still hold doors. Common courtesy has not gone out of style in America. Perhaps it has in your home, but then you reap what you sow. If you can’t be tolerant of different cultures, then don’t expect them to be tolerant of you.

          If you don’t understand what America is all about, and the cultural norms on which our society is founded, please go back to wherever your people came from. If I recall, trolls originated in Norway. Bring a heavy coat. It gets cold under bridges.

          • strangemonkey

            You are a Chinese apologist MORON.

        • strangemonkey

          Exactly. When in America (lose your disgusting backwards PRC customs) and do as Americans do.

      • Michelle

        We get it, you are the spokesperson for the Chinese community, and they are perfect, it’s the Italian and Russian, we got it. Like many other commenter replying to you, I think you are truly blind to the obvious. Everyday getting iff the train I have to push my way through a bunch of older Chinese people who are so hungry to get a seat they won’t let anyone off the train before pushing their way onto it. You say their actions are taught by their cultural, but if you leave your native land shouldn’t a person learn and live by the cultural of the place they move to? I would never move to China and expect them to learn and live by my way of living, I would learn and live by theirs.

        • chineseguy

          Just move on with your life.This article is already old for pete sake.Chinese elders are like that when I open the door for them they dont say thank you If you don’t like the way how they treat you just drive to work/your destination or simply just move out of the D/N train area You won’t see ANY chinese people flatbush/williamsburg area

          • Michelle

            Some of us don’t log on to this website everyday, so forgive me for commenting on an article posted 12 days ago. Has it become irrelevant? If it’s so old why are you even responding? But since you did I just want to make sure I’m hearing you correctly, you’re saying that I should move from the place I was born and raised because they can’t respect the way we live? Because they are not willing to learn out cultural and feel we should abide by their way of living? Just making sure we are on the same page.

          • strangemonkey

            That is what he’s saying, but you are correct to call BULLSHIT.

          • strangemonkey

            Just shove them to the ground would be better, and throw their shit off the crowded subway seat when they use it to hold their bags while others stand.

        • strangemonkey

          Their culture is backwards and bankrupt, I have heard it is a result of the Mao Zedong so called cultural revolution which destroyed any refinement the culture may have had in the past. Can anyone verify if this is the cause of the disgusting behavior so many Chinese exhibit?

      • Ho Ll Fuk

        Why no like pushy old people, nose picking on subway, fluorescent lighting, dirty house and disgusting laundry on front porch? You rascist!

        • Sum Ting Wong

          Troll get a life

          • strangemonkey

            We Tu Lo.

    • Lily

      LOL Notice the train is a PUBLIC transportation. If you can’t stand the smell of something during a certain hour of the day, drive..

    • strangemonkey

      They also litter and spit everywhere assuming someone else will clean their messes. I had to tell one with an English to Chinese app “don’t litter” he put his coffee cup under the subway seat which always spills and cause a mess (not just a Chinese thing), but Jesus – why are people so inconsiderate!

  • Italian Kid

    I have lived in this area for my entire life and I’m only 25. In the last ten years or so, I have seen Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights go from largely Italian American to Latino, Asian, Eastern European, and Arab ethnicities with little pockets of Italian families here and there. I have to say that many newer residents in the neighborhood are hard-working, but that niche does not cover much. A majority of the new immigrants don’t speak English, are disguisting (i.e. snot rockets, not covering their mouths when they cough), and are making absolutely no effort to assimilate into the American culture like my grandparents did when they first came to the States.
    If you go down 86th Street, Bath Avenue, and most other main roads, many signs are not in English. The D Train is always packed to the walls with Asians with 40 red bags (which are sometimes taking up the seats or floor directly near them).
    Yes, they renovate their homes and put alot of money into construction but they also are ilegally subdividing into small apartments.
    I apologize if it seems like I am rambling but it is disheartening to see this happen to a neighborhood so many people grew up in.

    • Sean P. Fodera

      You know what? I happen to agree with you about assimilation. I think all immigrants should make an effort to learn and use English in public places, just as my ancestors did. I understand that it’s not easy for some people to learn new languages (I took a total of six years of immersive Italian courses in high school and college, and still can’t hold a conversation in Italian), and it gets harder as one ages. So, I’m forced to accept that not everyone will.

      As for the red bags, I don’t see it as all that different from the people I see on local buses and trains carrying yellow bags from Pathmark or white ones from Waldbaums. These people need to shop, and public transportation is what they have available. If they put bags on the seats, you can always ask them – politely – to move them, if you need the seat. It’s no different than the non-Chinese women who go shopping in Manhattan and put their Bergdorf’s and Sacks5th bags on the seats. Or even the non-Chinese “gentlemen” who sit on a subway seat with legs spread out like they are waiting for the gynecologist to examine them. There is selfish and discourteous behavior on all sides in this city – we all simply view it from an “us vs. them” perspective. It is New York City, after all. Just look at what the tourists say about us and our inconsiderate ways when they visit.

      It takes all kinds to make a great city thrive, and the Chinese aren’t really doing anything that previous immigrants didn’t do. They come from a culture that respects courtesy, and if you approach them with courtesy, you’ll get it back most of the time. There will always be difficult people in any culture. Don’t judge everyone on the basis of the few.

      • neil.

        Sean, I understand your wife is chinese. But not everyone is like your wife. Many of the chinese in this neighborhood are rude and dirty and have no respect for this country. They hate this country. They make no effort to learn the language or get to know the people. I’m not saying all, but the majority. 86st used to be beautiful and clean. Now I see chinese people pissing on the street, clipping their toenails, blowing their nose in their hand, etc. They’re dirty. I’m sure your wife is different and she may even be from a different region of China than these people. But unfortunately, many of them in these neighborhoods are truly dirty un-american people. Sorry to say.

        • Sean P. Fodera

          This has nothing to do with my wife (who is ethnic Chinese, but came here from Vietnam). I’m talking about my direct experience with the people who have moved onto my block and the blocks around mine, and the businesses that they have opened here. These are good, hard-working, honest people, who have greatly improved this neighborhood.

          Are there some bad apples? Sure. The same applies to every ethnic group or nationality to ever come to this country. I’ve yet to see an Chinese person pissing in the street, but I’ve seen several Caucasians doing so. Caucasians also blew their noses into their hands until a reasonably short time ago (in point of fact, tissues only came into common use in the 1930s, and even handkerchiefs were used more for showing than blowing prior to that). Assimilation takes time, and not everyone assimilates. If they all did, there’d be no market for plastic slipcovers.

          The bottomline is that people who only see the negative, or apply it across the board are un-American bigots.

          • strangemonkey

            In China, it is mostly bad apples.

        • Vivian Lin

          Please share with me your definition of an American. PS, there is no official language of the United States.

          • strangemonkey

            Someone who learns the language, which is ENGLISH. Pays taxes (e.g. doesn’t willing try to evade them by dealing only in cash), doesn’t try to impose their own backwards culture, assimilates, gets a higher education, supports the community at large, not just their own people, takes pride in America, admits their native culture is inferior (otherwise, why are they here?).

        • strangemonkey

          It’s true, Hong Kong and Taiwan have much classier people. Thai people are amazing and spotlessly clean, Vietnamese are classy too – this is not anti-Asian, it’s anti people with no common decency or notion of hygiene – which seems to be something common to mainland Chinese.

  • Clean brooklyn owner

    Slobs and they rent to dirty people with tons of family in one room! Thats why the italians left! When the chinese learn that the streets arent toilets, and you cant just pull your kids pants down and pee in the side walks, then tell me nit to be racist!

    • Sean P. Fodera

      Italians never lived in tenements, 10 to a room? My dad did when he first came here.

      As for peeing on the street, they are just following the example of the Caucasians coming out of the bars on 3rd and 5th Avenues.

      Again, the Chinese aren’t doing anything that other haven’t done, or that others aren’t doing now.

      • strangemonkey

        But Chinese still piss and spit on the street and worse in public parks that don’t belong to them.

    • Lily

      Thank god the Italians left. LMAO.

  • ABC

    I am an American born Chinese and moved to Bensonhurst when I was 7 from Queens. I am now 21. I remember the Italian population being very high and the chinese population being very low. We all got along fine and my Italian neighbors are the sweetest people ever. We would exchange cultural dishes every holiday. Now, I see Italian families moving away everytime a new chinese family
    moves on the block.

    I remember the schools only had a few asians when I was in elementary school. Now, looking at my younger cousins class pictures, more than half the class is asian. I do admit, the asian population has increased tremendously over the years and the neighborhood HAS changed A LOT. When I walk down 86st, I do feel disgusted seeing how dirty it has gotten compared to when I was younger. I DO dislike seeing the ugly metal doors, laundry hanging in the front, the smoking and spitting, can picking, bad subway etiquette, and loud talking. Need to mention, all the Chinese restaurants and stores opening up in 86st. Every time a store closes, I would hope the next owner is not chinese, mainly because I know the other races dislike us “taking over”.

    [I do admit, my parents installed those ugly metal
    doors a few years ago, not because its part of our “culture”, but simply
    because its durable and low maintenance. My siblings & I hate it a
    lot, and asked our parents, why…….IT DOENST EVEN MATCH THE HOUSE! “its stainless & we don’t have
    to paint it all the time like the old door.” was our answer. But ever
    since we installed those doors, kids would throw eggs & rocks at our
    ring our bell few times a day, sometimes even late at night, and run
    away, it got to the point where we had to install security cameras.]

    I don’t know, maybe its because I am “Americanized”, I do feel embarrassed sometimes seeing my fellow chinese people acting this way. But I do get hurt when I see and hear people of other races say hurtful things towards the chinese, especially the “supposedly educated” people. Of course not everyone in the chinese community are dirty, filthy, and rude, and the ones that do behave “un-Americanized” are the NEW immigrants. The way they are behaving was probably considered okay & normal back where they came from and soon they will realize it is not okay to act this way here. We have to understand that it takes time to adapt. With time, they will fit in and change their ways. I am sure my parents were somewhat like how these new immigrants were, but now, they are no different from every “American” out there. This goes for all my american born chinese friends & their parents who have been here for 20+ years and working hard to build up their status.

    Chinese immigration has increased tremendously in the past decades, but keep in mind that the Italians and Irish have started immigrating to America centuries ago, lived in bad conditions and worked hard for their future generations leading to the current generation, which explains why the current generation, including myself, view new immigrants as disgusting and different. We American-borns had it easy because our older generations made it easy for us. I know that every immigrant out there, whatever race they are, is
    trying their best to learn english. On the train, I see a lot of people
    of different races holding English learning books or listening to
    English audios while repeating every word. Therefore, I hate when I hear
    people say, “Go back to your own country”. Since when did America
    become a place where it belongs to one race?

    But why do the Chinese immigrants move to Bensonhurst/Dyker/Sheepshead? Because they know its safe, and it being populated by Chinese, they feel more comfortable knowing that they have people to interact with and someone to ask if they need help. Not knowing how to speak a foreign language is no different from being deaf. No offense to other races but the Chinese do prefer living with white people more than other races. “The white people are very nice and smile at us.”

    • chineseguy

      Wrong!!! The Chinese people live south Brooklyn because is convenient to Chinatown not for the “white people”

    • Sean P. Fodera

      Well said, ABC. Well said. My wife felt the same way about the influx of Chinese because she has long been afraid to be lumped in with the less-savory of them. My point has been that the “less-savory Chinese” are no less-savory than many of our non-Chinese ancestors were.

      You mentioned something about all the Asians in your cousin’s class pictures. It’s a good thing because the Asian students have been a key factor in the improvements in standardized test scores in NYC. Very few ethnic groups, other than perhaps the Hassidic Jewish community, value education as much as the Asians.

      (BTW, if you haven’t, check out Gene Yang’s graphic novel “American Born Chinese”. It was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Awards. It won the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award; the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Book, and a ton of other top honors. I think you’d like it.)

      • ABC

        thank you for the recommendation! I will def check it out! ?

      • EndofDaze

        Sean, and if you are actually a Sean, you have been making some very valid and interesting points here, and I’ve been wondering when to reply. With your comment that very few ethnic groups essentially don’t value education, aside from, and you include The Hassidic Jewish Community as exceptions, then I whose family spent over seventy years in Bensonhurst and southwestern Borough Park, and have some other credentials being a Social educator, am compelled to relay some facts. The Hassidic Jewish Community does not value education, especially a well rounded one. Yes, they do relentlessly study the Torah (For my Christian Friends, that would be the Five Books of Moses, or to them, the beginning of what they call, The Old Testament!) and other essenentially Jewish inspired documents, with their own intrepetations and spin…Outside of that, they are not an “educated” people, and I have taught them on occasion a couple of what they would consider secular subjects!!!…Bensonhurst, and its’ true existence in the American imagination, for most folks older than let’s say fifty thee was known as a hotbed of some of the most elevated, creative, decent, gorgeous, and talented folks, to grow up in any place in America. Most of those folks were American Jews, and a significant number of their brother and sister American friends of Italian extraction, who created between the 1920’s and 1980’s one of the most beloved places in America. That is not to say, that Bensonhurst did not have its’ low lives or problems during that period. If you doubt it, just look up a Who’s Who in America, or The people who built and made Hollywood, and see where they were from. I assure you, it wasn’t New Jersey, Illinois, or even China and the Ukraine for that matter. But things change, and beginning certainly with the late 1980’s profound demographic changes began to happen ,and groups because of their cultural backgrounds and times, began to arrive, who were quite dissimilar to the at the time larger Italian community that was there, and the shrinking secular Jewish community, who had been dwindling beforehand….Historically, there is always tension when new groups arrive, especially when they are quite different in many ways, from the presiding groups, when in fact the Italians and Jews who they were replacing, had much more in common with each other, than these new arrivals. It remains to be seen, how all this will play out…One thing for sure is that times have changed, and there seems to be a Balkanization happening, certainly in southern Brooklyn, that Bensonhurst is not immune to. In fact it is happening elsewhere in the U.S. too.Something us old timers, who cherish the idea of E Pluribus Unum are a bit concerned about…Nonetheless, I’m sure those who have left the area, were not disappointed in the large sums they got for their homes, and those who have remained and are owners are not disppointed in the increased property values, the newcomers have helped bring about, which extends all the way into Sheepshead Bay and beyond….And this will continue with Barclays and the rebirth of Coney, as anchors! There’s no doubt the quality of life has changed in certain respects, cause to some of us, even the beauties that once walked the blocks of 86th Street between the 1960’s and 1980’s are just not there anymore, and there certianly has been an increase in garbage .Though not residing in the area anymore, I still get back there frequently, and I’m optimistic! Assimilation, just might take longer… There’s still something about the way the sun shines on Bensonurst, and the smell of the flora in spring!….By the way, there was a book, Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Diamond, a few years back, that has a couple of chapters on the Chinese, which would give a number of folks who are reading this thread some insight into these folks. They are not monolithic!!!

        • Sean P. Fodera

          For the record, I am a Sean. I post under my real name at all times online. I don’t hide behind cute user names or pseudonyms (the only exception was once my LiveJournal name because I couldn’t get my own name or a decent variant of it, but my real name is clearly stated on it). I own my online statements fully.

          I can accept your statement about education and the Hassidic Jewish people. Perhaps the education isn’t as varied as our more secular public schools would provide. I don’t think the distinction makes my statement less valid.

          I would take issue with you about the Barclay’s Center being an anchor for Brooklyn’s renaissance, but that’s not an argument I think is worth pursuing here. Suffice it to say that my beloved Islanders will be playing there starting next season, and I will no longer be attending their home games. My choice, for my reasons. I respect anyone else’s decision to support the venue.

    • JS

      I appreciate this post very much. It really shows that it’s not a matter of ethnicity but generational acculturation.

      Much of my block is Chinese, and I find them all to be excellent, respectful neighbors. They are probably the quietest ethnic group overall. I find our block very peaceful.

      While the older people don’t always speak English — my own grandfather was Russian and died without attaining spoken fluency in English — there does seem to be an effort to make sure that the children speak English, and parents who clearly speak English as a second language talk to their kids in English, something my grandparents never did with my father, who, while born in America, didn’t learn English until he was packed off to kindergarten. The elderly Chinese residents on my block do make an effort to speak English and I’m always greeted in English, which I find touching. It does make me sad that I can’t have a more substantial conversation with them.

      It hurts me too to hear people say things about other ethnic groups “taking over.” I know people said that about my grandparents, who were the most benign immigrants one can imagine. When I see pictures of my grandfather, who was so gentle and so happy to come here, I remember that “Americans” were conspiring to keep him out because he and people like him would ruin this country.

      I worry that some people in Brooklyn view the Chinese as not-quite-human and that leads them to act condescendingly toward them., if not cavalierly regarding their safety.

    • Vivian Lin

      I resonated with a lot of things you mentioned in this. Would love to start a conversation about this sometime if interested. It’s because we’re “Americanized” but we’re also self-internalizing societal standards we’ve been taught.

  • Rager

    I think this article had the most comments EVER! Good for people to get the heat off of their shoulders, and it’s a learning experience as well. We should all learn about our past culture and other cultures to understand the similarities are not far apart.

  • Ryan

    Wow such conversation.I am a believer that we need to have open dialogue rather then hiding our thoughts to ourselves. How can we learn to get along as a community without open dialogue as long as we suspend stereotyping and are willing to open our minds that we all are individuals as well as a collective ethnic group. I admit I have thoughts of a nice and not so nice nature toward others (hey we’re all human). I moved into Sheepshead bay from Gravesend. The biggest challenge I find is trying to socialize especially when I’m not part of the majority group. I’m Jewish: 3rd generation from europe and in my past 2 neighborhoods ive had majority russian and now majority Chinese. I try to learn a few phrases in chinese b/c I do realize that their may be many new or older immigrants who dont know english well enough to converse…at least im trying :>

  • Patty chan

    I wonder how old you people are because these rude comments are what junior high schoolers would say. Racism needs to stop, we are leaders to the younger generation and by discriminating other races teaches younger generation to do the same.
    So what if they hang clothes in the front and back? It’s THEIR property, they paid for that house, they can do what they want. And so what if they have stainless steel, just because it doesn’t look appeasing to you doesn’t mean it’s not appeasing to them.
    And so what if they go through your garbage for cans? People are trying to get food on their table for their family. Why are discriminating someone who’s trying to get extra 5$ when their not harming anyone? Plus it’s also helping the environment.
    I understand change is difficult but we are adults. Just because something isn’t in your circle doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

    • Alfonce

      as far as hanging clothes:

      Clothes belong hung in the back of the house or apartment, like we all do. NOT in the front of the house, no wonder with your mentality the block looks shitty with clothes hanging all over the place.

      Anyone with any kind of common sense knows that you hang clothes in the back yard, NOT in the front of the house.

      Hanging clothes in the front of the house makes it look like low class people live there and that they have no sense of aesthetics. Which most of the Chinese people do not have.

      • Sean P. Fodera

        Once again, Alfonce, you forget that millions of earlier immigrants to our city used to hang their laundry from fire escapes and from windows wherever they had accessibility. There is no rule or law that obligates anyone to hang laundry in a prescribed place, so kindly get over yourself. You don’t make the rules, and certainly don’t get to change them because the new immigrants aren’t part of your ethnic group.

        As for the Chinese having “no sense of aesthetics”, they were producing Ming vases while our European ancestors were dumping their nightsoil out of the windows into the street below, and burning heretics at the stake, and producing detailed terra cotta warriors 1100 years before that. Please don’t claim any sort of cultural superiority to which you have no claim.

        • Alfonce

          Did I hit a nerve? Sorry, it looks terrible when people hang their wet laundry in the front of the house. No one but the Chinese do that anymore. Have you ever seen a rich neighborhood with people hanging their laundry in the front of the house? I don’t, people with class do not do that.

          That practice stopped about a century ago. They have these new things, called “clothes pole”, they go in the back yard, and you can attach as many clotheslines as you need, I myself have one. No need to make the front of the building look like something from a third world country.

          Don’t get me wrong I hang my clothes out to dry as well, but we have a giant iron ladder in the back courtyard where everyone connects their clothesline to.

          • Sean P. Fodera

            No nerve. You’re just spouting the same nonsense as usual. The practice did not die out a century ago. My father came her about 60 years ago, and immigrants were still doing it then, and for quite some time thereafter. The immigrant experience has remained the same for a very long time. All you are doing is creating negative energy about the same things most immigrants have to do to get by in New York until they become acclimated (usually in the next generation), and have access to better neighborhoods. Unfortunately, neither Bath Beach nor Bensonhurst qualify as “rich”. Some streets and select houses, yes, but not the neighborhoods as a whole.

            Bigots can’t win arguments like this because you are always starting from a false premise.

      • Lily

        Wait are you the boss of them? How is that any time of common sense? What EACH family decides to do ON THEIR own property isn’t any of your business. I can tell you that a lot of black people’s houses are dirty as hell.

  • Alfonce

    well, if you think there is nothing wrong with hanging laundry in the front of your house, then it only proves that you too, are a low class person.

    I am done with you now.

    • Sean P. Fodera

      I never said there’s nothing wrong with it. What I said was that it’s not unique to the Chinese, but you seem to have hung 90% of your hatred of them on their laundry habits. Habits that have been shared by every immigrant group in NYC history, most likely including your own.

      As for class, welcome to America. We don’t have a formal class system – just one imposed by bigots and elitists such as yourself. “All men are created equal.” I read that somewhere. Google it, and try to educate yourself on what it means to be an American.

      • Voice of Truth

        Wow, it’s amazing how far some pathetic loser will go to parrot politically correct bs and lies about the obvious third world transformation of Bensonhurst because he happens to have some mail order bride. Your not fooling anybody. You are the one who is bigoted against Italians more than anything. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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  • Brooklyn gal

    alfonce and sean p foder, you both sound like the hatfields and the mccoys in the war of words…..! get a grip..!

    i am a puerto rican living in bensonhurst for 37 years….. i do not spit on the streets, but my italian neighbor does, i do not hang clothes on my front porch but the chinese family across the street does… i do not play loud music but my ecuadorian neighbor across the stree does… the polish family around the block do not recycle and leave a mess of garbage outside all the time
    i try to educate them all, with help from others, and always kindly and never in an aggressive manner.

    i spoke to the italian wife of the spitter, and she tells him to stop all the time because it is disgusting, i told the chinese family about the appropriate place to hang their clothes- via an interpreter – they hang clothes indoors now, i asked the ecuadorians to please keep their music down at 7 am while we sleep – they did not care and the landlord evicted them after many many complaints from everyone. as for the polish non-recycling family — the dept of sanitation fined them, now they recycle, and block is cleaner
    assimilation takes time, knowledge is king, and hatred never wins. demographics always change, but it is hard for people to change their ways… given time they will learn the societal norms and try to adhere. if something really bothers you, leave a kind note of advice in their mailbox, or on their car window, or have an educated person who speaks that language try to educate them. we do that and it works. God bless America, love it or leave it!

    • Sean P. Fodera

      Amen, and well done, Brooklyn gal. I’d be very proud to have you as my neighbor.

    • Rager

      Finally! I know us Puerto Ricans have been in Bensonhurst since the 80s! The media has always portrayed BHurst as majority Italian back then but in reality it has always been mixed.

  • SoWhatBklyn

    Most of the racists in Bensonhurst are classified as “white” but they have dark hair, olive skin, and commit crime in the most organized way possible. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear they were Hispanic.

  • mr.c

    I’m sorry to say but Chinese people are rude. I’m not racist I’m far from it. Infact I’m Black American so already i know how they feel about me. Ive lived with my family in Bensonhurst for a long time. We are currently renting a first floor apartment from a Chinese home owner. We’ve been there for almost five years omg do you think that would account for anything!?! This man has gotten worse as the years have gone on, its starting to be disrespectful. With the loud chopping and banging all hours of the night. And the constant vacuuming. And the five plus neighbors that live in the basement is another story. We are not disrespectful people we both work good jobs, we dont smoke, we dont play loud music, when we do have company its our family. We follow his rules that dont apply to the people in the basement. Its not only him the other people on the block are just as worse. Checking our garbage, not only for cans just being nosy. Come on this is some next level stuff.