latinasypunto

Hispanics are in more places than you think

In bilingual, hispanic population, travel on November 2, 2010 at 11:23 pm

A few weeks ago I left New York City to enjoy a day in the North Fork area
of Long Island or what we call the wine country of New York. It’s a nice place to relax, have great conversation and enjoy some good wine with friends.

We ended up sleeping over night in the little town of Greenport and realized that everywhere we visited – the small shops, boutiques and even ice cream stores had bilingual signage.

I was very curious about this as I knew this was a very ‘white’ part of America. But I quickly realized that most of the meals I was eating, the sheets I was sleeping in and even the wine I had been drinking was created in large part to the amazing contribution, service and hard work of the Latinos in the area.

Bilingual menu in "Flavors" Dessert Cafe (Image by Fidel Sciortino)

Who would have ever thought that Greenport with population of about 3,950 has almost 20% of Hispanics? (read more about their population increase) Their presence is so apparent that even signs in the streets and even menus in the restaurants cater to them.  In fact, the local dessert cafe “Flavors” has their entire menu in both English and Spanish.

When I asked the owner the reason for this, he said very matter-of-factly and with a smile on his face; “we need to cater to the people that come here, there are a lot of Hispanics.”

In the kitchens most restaurants had Latinos cooking delicious dishes for all of the town’s guests.

So even when I visited a Lingerie Boutique called “Intimate Secrets” it wasn’t surprising to see that the owner and store attendant was Mireya Torres; a hard-working woman and mother who is very proud to have her own business by providing beautiful lingerie from Colombia to all of her guests.

Mireya Torres owner of "Intimate Secrets" (Image by Fidel Sciortino)

This isn’t just happening in Greenport. According to a report created by the University of New Hampshire, “the Hispanic population is dispersing rapidly — though selectively — from traditional gateway cities in the Southwest, not only to surrounding suburbs, but also rapidly in many rural parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, North Carolina, and Georgia.” We have now gone beyond cities like LA, Miami, Chicago and Dallas, where we once considered to be the ‘traditional’ places to find Hispanics.

So, next time you drive by a town in the middle of ‘white’ America…you may have to rethink how ‘white’ that town really is because Hispanics as we all now know are trekking new places and discovering new land in search of better opportunities and in turn changing and influencing America as they go.

What cities have you visited that weren’t so Hispanic a few years ago? Share your story.

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  1. Love this post! This is a real trend and it has a lot of implications — culturally, economically and socially, for Latino families.

    • Thanks Angelica, you are totally right. In fact, more and more Hispanics are moving towards the less metropolitan cities and into middle America…the implications for this shift are vast!

  2. Pues vivo en Greenport y no se where you got the 6.1% from, pero fijate eso me parece far too low. I’d say it’s closer to 18 or 20%, especially with regard to children. The jovencitos who work at Flavors, for example, are all Guatemaltecos and Salvadorenos from the neighborhood.

    • Tom, tienes toda la razon. After reviewing the latest Dec. 2010 numbers from Greenport’s population study not only has the population as a whole dramatically increased but Hispanics have gone from single digit numbers from 2000 (Census) to almost 20% in 2010. I have made the change in the article to reflect the new data and have added a link to a few great articles. Thank you so much for the feedback and hope you continue to visit Latinas y Punto.

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