Puerto Ricans, Politics, and Power: An Electoral History in New York

By in Immigrant NYC, Latin American Immigration, Leadership, NYC History

BBy Ryan Clinton History major, Wagner College  ’14 Ortega Family History “Look at my hands. I don’t want you to have these kinds of hands,” Manny Ortega’s father used to tell him, raising his calloused palms and drawing attention to his right hand, which was missing half of the middle finger. “He stressed [education for me]” (Ortega Interview). Manny Ortega, the 52-year-old law chairman of Staten Island’s Democratic Party and a practicing family law attorney, emphasized his family’s role in his pursuit of higher education and professional opportunities. Mr. Ortega’s father, an Ecuadorian immigrant to the United States, came to this country in the late 1940s seeking work. He came to New York and joined the merchant marines. An injury tying ropes on the docks sliced off part of his finger. His broken English hampered his ability to receive many distinctions and promotions that he...

To be Italian or American?

By in European Immigration, Immigrant NYC

Interview “I want my daughter to have a better life than me,” Joann Maniscalco said but when asked if keeping the Italian culture or being Americanized was a better life for her daughter she shrugged. Joann Maniscalco came to American from Milan, Italy on September 14, 1974 by plane so that her mother could rejoin with her siblings and parents.  Joann struggled with the language for a bit, she spoke about how her history teacher asked her to read a page from the textbook and Joann didn’t know what to do because she did not know how to read it or speak.  Her teacher encouraged her to try her best and with help from classmates, she was able to learn it.  She married to Vincent Maniscalco and they had their daughter, Antonella.  The three live in Staten Island and are struggling with keeping the culture Joann grew up with and the American culture that surrounds them everywhere....

A Journey Of A Lifetime

By in European Immigration, Uncategorized

By Amanda Fugel Wagner College ’16 Italian Immigration to America Post 1924 On March 14, 1950, Carmela Martines started off her new life with her voyage to “the Great” USA. At 18 years old my grandma, also known as Nonna, made the journey to what she and her family considered to be the “Land Of Opportunity.” Coming to America was more than just an opportunity for my Nonna. She came here for work and to be reunited with her family again. Little did she know, that thanks to her brave move, our family would have something to carry on and support us from generation to generation. How Sicilian Ideals Got in The Way: “The peasants in the primarily poor, mostly rural south of Italy and on the island of Sicily had little hope of improving their lot. Diseases and natural disasters swept through the new nation, but its fledgling government was in no condition to bring aid to the people. As...

From Hong Kong to New York: What it means to be an American

By in Asian Immigration

From Hong Kong to New York: What it means to be an American

Defying Discrimination in America: A Haitian Struggle in Modern NYC

By in Immigrant NYC

What is an American? “An independent person, who has freedoms, who can follow their dreams, who can live freely without fears of social unrest…I do feel that I am an American.” -Jean Michelle Mitch Jean Michelle Mitch is a twenty-year-old student at St.John’s University in Queens. In 2003, when he was 10 years old, his family immigrated from Haiti to the United States after life-threatening situations were encountered: “My mother… she encountered threatening situations a few times; she got held at gunpoint by somebody.” Mitch and his family were fortunate to obtain a lawyer in America, and they are currently obtain asylum status while waiting for citizenship…other Haitian immigrants are not as lucky. Haitians in New York  Almost 25% of the population living in Rockland County’s Spring Valley Villages (in NY) is Haitian–that’s the...

The Journey of Jose Gonzalez: From the Domincan Republic to New York City

By in Immigrant NYC, Latin American Immigration

Dominican Immigrant Experience By Caroline O’Keefe and Alysa Cirelli Wagner College ’16 “Coming here was a little scary, but exciting at the same time,” commented Jose Gonzalez, a thirty- year old immigrant from the Dominican Republic (Jose Interview). During an interview about his immigrant experience, Jose shared many experiences and thoughts on his journey to the United States. Jose migrated from the Dominican Republic when he was just sixteen years old. He came by himself, and settled with his aunt in New York.  Migrating was scary for Jose because he had never been on a long trip like this before, never mind to a new country and home. Jose says, “The most I had been was on a bus or a car, but actually having to be on a plane for the first time, by myself, was a lot of things – a lot of emotions. But I would say I was definitely looking forward to it” (Jose...