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Little Manila in the Big Apple: 30 Reasons to Make New York City Your Home

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

New York City is one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in the world, offering many advantages to those who choose to live here. Little Manila in New York City refers to the neighborhood of Woodside, Queens, which has been a hub for Filipino immigrants since the 1960s. It is home to a vibrant Filipino community, with Filipino-owned businesses, restaurants, and community organizations.

30 Reasons why I call New York City my home:

  1. Cultural diversity: New York City is renowned for its cultural diversity, which is one of its greatest assets. With over 9 million residents, New York City is home to people from all around the world, and as a result, it is a melting pot of different cultures, religions, languages, and customs. The city's diversity is reflected in its vibrant neighborhoods, museums, galleries, and restaurants, which offer a glimpse into different communities' rich histories and traditions. The city celebrates its diversity with cultural festivals and events throughout the year, providing opportunities for residents and visitors to learn and experience different cultures. Overall, NYC's cultural diversity is vital to the city's identity and makes it a unique and exciting place to live or visit.

  2. Job opportunities: The availability of job opportunities and resources in NYC makes it a great place for immigrants looking to build a new life. So, don't be discouraged if you're an immigrant looking for work. There are many options available, and with the help of resources like Direct Hire Agency, you can find a job that fits your skills and goals. The agency connects job seekers with a variety of job openings in fields such as domestic household work for OFW, healthcare, and restaurants. Direct Hire Agency offers personalized assistance to help immigrants find the right job for their skills and experience. They also guide the application process, interview skills, and career development.

  3. World-class attractions: NYC is home to many world-class attractions that draw visitors from all over the globe. The city's skyline is dominated by iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and the Statue of Liberty. The city is also renowned for its world-class museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Modern Art, which house some of the most significant collections of art, history, and science in the world. Other popular attractions include Central Park, Broadway theaters, Times Square, and the High Line. With so many world-class attractions, NYC is a bucket list destination for many people, and there is always something new to discover and explore.

  4. Food: The city's international food scene is a global hub for food lovers. The city's diverse population has brought with it a wide range of international cuisines, making it a culinary destination unlike any other. From Little Italy in Manhattan to Little Manila in Queens, you can find just about any type of food you desire. The city also hosts food festivals and markets, offering a range of ingredients and specialties from around the world. Overall, NYC's international food scene is a testament to its diversity and rich cultural heritage.

  5. Access to nature: Despite being bustling streets and towering skyscrapers, it also offers access to some of the most beautiful natural areas in the United States. The city has numerous parks, such as Central Park, Prospect Park, and the High Line, which offer an escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Visitors can take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or explore the wildlife and natural habitats of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. One train rides away from New York City is the beautiful Hudson Valley, which offers scenic hikes and stunning views of the Hudson River. The Metro-North Hudson Line takes visitors from Grand Central Terminal to destinations such as Bear Mountain State Park and the Walkway Over the Hudson, making it easy to access nature and enjoy a day trip away from the city. Or the beautiful beaches of Long Island, which can be accessed via the Long Island Rail Road, making it easy to enjoy a day at the beach without having to leave the city.

  6. Education: New York City is home to many renowned colleges and universities, including Columbia University, New York University, and the City University of New York. These institutions offer a wealth of educational opportunities and resources, making them excellent places to pursue higher education. There are also many free training classes like coding, culinary arts, vocational courses, HHA/CNA, and many more.

  7. Health care: New York City has some of the best healthcare facilities in the world, including world-renowned hospitals and medical centers. This ensures that residents have access to high-quality healthcare services, including specialized treatments and procedures. NYC has a strong public health care system, with many hospitals and clinics offering affordable or free care to low-income and uninsured residents. This can be especially important for immigrants who may not have access to health insurance. Ask the author how to get free health care insurance in New York.

  8. The Subway System: NYC is one of the most extensive and efficient in the world, making it incredibly easy to get around the city. With over 400 stations and 24-hour service, the subway is accessible to nearly every corner of the city. It's also incredibly affordable, with a single ride costing just $2.75, and various passes available for frequent commuters. The subway is especially convenient for immigrants who may not have access to a car or prefer not to drive in the busy city traffic. With the subway, you can quickly and easily travel to work, school, or any destination in the city, without having to worry about traffic or parking. Overall, the subway is a vital part of the city's transportation infrastructure, and it's hard to imagine getting around the city without it.

  9. Shopping: NYC is a shopper's paradise, with some of the world's most famous shopping destinations. From luxury department stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue to high-end designer boutiques on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, the city offers a wide range of upscale shopping experiences. The city is home to several famous shopping districts, including SoHo, Greenwich Village, and the Lower East Side, each offering its own unique shopping experience. The city's oriental supermarkets, such as H Mart, Hong Kong Supermarket, and Sunrise Mart, offer a diverse range of Asian food products and prepared foods, as well as cultural events and celebrations for the city's Asian population. They provide an excellent opportunity to explore different cuisines and cooking styles from around the world.

  10. Community events: NYC is home to a diverse array of communities, each with its cultural traditions and celebrations. From the Philippine Independence Day parade to the Chinese New Year parade to the Puerto Rican Day Parade, countless community events are happening throughout the year that provide an opportunity to learn about and appreciate different cultures.

  11. Sports: NYC offers a diverse sports scene, with options for all levels of athleticism, including basketball courts, soccer fields, and recreational leagues. Many immigrant communities have formed their own sports organizations, providing a sense of community and cultural connection. Additionally, the city is home to several professional sports teams, allowing fans to enjoy live games and events throughout the year.

  12. Entertainment: The city is known for its lively entertainment scene, with Broadway shows, comedy clubs, and music venues offering a wide range of performances. There are also many movie theaters, bowling alleys, and other entertainment options available throughout the city.

  13. Transportation hubs: As one of the largest cities in the world, the city's public transportation system is one of the most extensive and efficient in the world, providing immigrants with easy access to all corners of the city. The city has several major transportation hubs, including Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station, and Port Authority Bus Terminal, which offer connections to trains, buses, and subways. These hubs are also home to a variety of amenities, including shops, restaurants, and information booths, making them convenient places for immigrants to navigate the city. Additionally, the city has implemented several initiatives to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, such as adding wheelchair ramps and elevators to subway stations. Overall, New York City's public transportation system is a crucial resource for immigrants and residents alike, providing a convenient and affordable way to travel throughout the city.

  14. Opportunities for entrepreneurship: NYC is a hub for entrepreneurship, with a thriving startup ecosystem and a large number of small businesses. For immigrants who are interested in starting their businesses, the city offers a supportive environment with access to resources and networks.

  15. Resilience: The city has a history of resilience and determination, having faced numerous challenges throughout its history, including the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Sandy. The city has always bounced back, demonstrating its strength and determination in the face of adversity.

  16. Constantly evolving: NYC is constantly evolving, with new businesses, attractions, and neighborhoods popping up all the time. This makes it an exciting place to live, as there is always something new to discover and explore. The city also has programs in place to address the unique needs of different immigrant communities, such as supporting small businesses owned by immigrants and providing legal aid for undocumented immigrants. Overall, NYC's commitment to evolving its public services to meet the needs of its diverse population is a testament to its reputation as a welcoming and inclusive city

  17. Accessibility: NYC is a highly walkable and bikeable city, with many neighborhoods designed for pedestrians and cyclists. This makes it easy to get around without a car and promotes a healthy and active lifestyle. According to a study by Fitbit, in NYC, residents often walk more than people living in any other U.S. city and it’s not difficult for them to meet the 10,000 steps a day that is currently recommended by several health-focused organizations for good health1. It’s roughly equal to three to four miles, depending on the length of a person’s stride

  18. Social activism: The city has a strong tradition of social activism and political engagement. The city has been the site of many historic demonstrations and movements, making it a great place for those who are passionate about making a difference in the world.

  19. Creative community: NYC has a thriving creative community, with many artists, musicians, writers, and filmmakers calling the city home. This community offers a supportive and inspiring environment for those who are pursuing creative endeavors.

  20. Nightlife and After-work activities: The city is known for its fast-paced work environment, but it's also a city that knows how to unwind. After a long day at work, there are plenty of activities to help immigrants relax and recharge. Many people choose to hit the city's parks, such as Central Park and the High Line, for a peaceful stroll or jog. Others might opt for a yoga class, a meditation session, or a visit to a spa or sauna. For those who prefer more social activities, the city offers a variety of after-work events, including happy hours, networking events, and cultural exhibits. With so many options available, immigrants in NYC can easily find after-work activities that suit their interests and help them decompress after a busy day.

  21. Parks and green spaces: Despite its urban density, NYC is home to an impressive network of parks and green spaces that offer a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Central Park, the city's largest park, is a world-renowned destination with over 800 acres of walking trails, lakes, gardens, and historic landmarks. Other notable parks include Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, and the High Line, an elevated park built on an old railway track. In addition to these larger parks, the city also has hundreds of smaller community gardens and green spaces that provide residents with a peaceful retreat. Overall, New York City's parks and green spaces offer a much-needed respite from the concrete jungle, providing immigrants with a chance to connect with nature and enjoy some fresh air.

  22. Cultural institutions: NYC is home to a vast array of cultural institutions that celebrate the diverse heritage of its residents, including the Filipino community. The city boasts several museums and cultural centers that focus on Filipino history and culture, such as the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue, which hosts regular events and exhibits highlighting the arts and culture of the Philippines. Another notable institution is the Asian American Arts Alliance, which works to promote Asian American artists and performers of all backgrounds, including Filipino artists. In addition to these dedicated cultural centers, many of the city's larger museums and galleries, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, also feature exhibitions and collections that showcase Filipino art and culture. NYC's rich cultural landscape offers numerous opportunities for Filipino immigrants to connect with their heritage and share it with the broader community.

  23. Things to do: The city is a hub of extracurricular activities for all interests and age groups. For children and youth, the city offers a plethora of after-school programs, summer camps, and sports teams. Many community centers and libraries also offer free classes and workshops, from coding to dance to creative writing. For adults, the city is a mecca of fitness classes, hobby groups, and social clubs, catering to a range of interests and skill levels. In addition, New York City is famous for its live entertainment scene, with countless theaters, music venues, and comedy clubs offering a variety of performances every night of the week. Whether it's learning a new skill, staying fit, or enjoying a night out on the town, the city offers endless opportunities for extracurricular activities for immigrants and residents alike.

  24. Diversity: NYC has a long history of welcoming immigrants from around the world, and today it is home to some of the largest and most diverse immigrant communities in the United States. This can make it easier for immigrants to connect with others who share their language, culture, and experiences. According to World Population Review, New York officially reports a rich ethnic diversity as people from over 200 nationalities were counted to be a part of New York. The racial composition of New York was reported as follows: White (62.31%), Black or African American (15.39%), Asian (8.58%), Other race (8.56%), Two or more races (4.72%), Native American (0.39%), Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (0.05%).

  25. Architecture and design: NYC is known for its stunning architecture and design, from iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty to cutting-edge buildings like the High Line and the Oculus. Living in the city provides a unique opportunity to experience and appreciate these incredible works of art and engineering.

  26. History and landmarks: NYC is steeped in history and boasts numerous landmarks that tell the story of its past. From the iconic Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which welcomed generations of immigrants to the city, to the historic brownstones of Brooklyn and the tenement buildings of the Lower East Side, the city's architecture and landmarks offer a window into its rich history. The city is also home to several museums and cultural institutions that showcase the history of New York and its residents, including the Museum of the City of New York and the Tenement Museum. Whether exploring the city's historic neighborhoods or visiting its renowned landmarks, immigrants to New York have the opportunity to connect with the city's rich history and appreciate its enduring legacy.

  27. Bayanihan spirit: The Filipino community in New York exemplifies the Bayanihan spirit by supporting each other through mutual aid efforts, cultural celebrations, and the support of small businesses. During the pandemic, they created mutual aid networks, hosted virtual cultural events, and supported local businesses to provide food, and financial assistance, and preserve Filipino culture. Join the Facebook community groups, you can encourage and promote these initiatives to foster the spirit of Bayanihan. By working towards a common goal and giving back to their community, members can continue to embody the Bayanihan spirit and make a positive impact in their local area.

28. Support services: NYC is home to a wide range of support services for immigrants, designed to help them navigate the challenges of settling in a new country. These services include language classes, legal assistance, job training, and health care, as well as community centers and advocacy groups that offer social support and cultural events. Many of these services are provided by non-profit organizations and community-based groups, and are often free or low-cost. Immigrants in NYC can find support services from a wide range of organizations and government agencies. Some of the key resources include:

  • The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA)

  • The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)

  • The International Rescue Committee (IRC)

  • The Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC)

  • The New York State Office for New Americans (ONA)

  • Community-based organizations like Make the Road New York and the Arab-American Family Support Center.

These organizations offer a variety of services, including legal assistance, health care, education and job training, language classes, and social support. Many also offer resources specifically tailored to the needs of different immigrant communities, such as support for undocumented immigrants or programs for refugees and asylees. Immigrants can also find support services through their local houses of worship, community centers, and other neighborhood organizations.

29. Civic engagement: NYC encourages civic engagement and political participation among its residents, including immigrants. This can include opportunities to vote, attend community meetings, and participate in advocacy campaigns. For immigrants who may have been excluded from the political process in their home countries, this can be a powerful way to make their voices heard and shape the future of their new community.

30. Community support: There are several support groups and organizations that a Filipino living in New York City can turn to them for assistance and resources. Some of these include:

  • Filipinos Of NY - a community initiative project based in Little Manila in Queens New York USA. Helping Kababayans guide on how to thrive in the country, job placements, rescuing OFW victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, Asian hate, discrimination, and many more. Visit the Filipinos of NY website.

  • Philippine Consulate General in New York - provides consular services, legal assistance, and cultural events. Contact: (212) 764-1330

  • Filipino-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (FALDEF) - provides legal assistance and education to the Filipino community. Contact: (212) 779-2111

  • Filipino Community Center - offers community events, language classes, and social support. Contact: (718) 565-8862

  • Philippine-American Friendship Committee (PAFCOM) - promotes Filipino culture and provides community services. Contact: (212) 382-0620

  • Philippine Forum - advocates for the rights and welfare of Filipino immigrants in New York City. Contact: (212) 268-8087

  • National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) - works for the empowerment and welfare of the Filipino community through advocacy, education, and community organizing. Contact: (646) 578-3619

  • Damayan Migrant Workers Association - (212) 564-6057

  • Philippine Forum - (212) 564-6057

  • Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (UniPro) - (646) 389-7079

  • Kalusugan Coalition, Inc. - (347) 808-7330

  • Philippine Nurses Association of New York, Inc. - (718) 779-0484

  • Filipino American National Historical Society - (888) 871-3131

  • Migrante USA - (718) 565-8862

  • Bayanihan Filipino Community Center - (718) 565-1146

  • Filipino-American Human Services, Inc. - (718) 335-7720

  • Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York - (646) 580-0670

  • Pilipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund - (212) 227-8270

  • Filipino American Democratic Club of New York - (917) 602-2230

In summary, the advantages of living in New York City are numerous and diverse, ranging from career/business opportunities and cultural diversity to entertainment, resilience, availability of Philippine food, and the noise and pedestrians in Little Manila are so similar to back home, I feel like I am living in Makati. Whether you are looking for excitement, American Dream, or simply just a place to call your 2nd home, New York City has something for everyone.

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