6.13.2007

Mexican Migrants Are Revitalizing NYC Neighborhoods

Mexicans make their place in NYC (by Rolando Pujol, amNewyork - 6.12.07)

When Geraldo Sanchez left Mexico 12 years ago, he said farewell to his parents and siblings -- and his graphic-designer aspirations -- to begin an arduous life in the United States, all to keep his struggling relatives afloat back home.

Beat up during a stint in Texas, he soon found himself in New York, walking from LaGuardia Airport until he found a room to stay in the city.

Today, the 29-year-old lives with many of his countrymen in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn where he works at a music shop, but his bones bear the scars of his dangerous resume -- a knee and arm broken doing construction work.

"When one doesn't have papers, it is very difficult, it's unjust," Sanchez said. "We take jobs other people won't dare take."

Peek into any bustling restaurant kitchen or scan any of the city's construction sites and you will find Mexican immigrants. Hundreds of thousands have navigated a treacherous path to the city in the past 15 years, quietly reshaping neighborhoods and changing the economics of industries.

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Also see Voices of El Barrio, an audio and photo slide show on EL Barrio's Mexican community.

Click here for a photo essay of NYC's Mexican residents.

Click here for photos of a NYC Mexican cultural dancers.