Koreatown, Fort Lee

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Koreatown, Fort Lee
포트 리 코리아타운
Fort Lee Koreatown
Koreatown
Main Street and Lemoine Avenue in Fort Lee Koreatown
Main Street and Lemoine Avenue in Fort Lee Koreatown
Coordinates: 40°51′02″N 73°58′16″W / 40.85056°N 73.97111°W / 40.85056; -73.97111Coordinates: 40°51′02″N 73°58′16″W / 40.85056°N 73.97111°W / 40.85056; -73.97111
Country  United States of America
State  New Jersey
County Bergen
Agglomeration New York City Metropolitan Area
Borough Fort Lee

Koreatown, Fort Lee, or Fort Lee Koreatown (Hangul: 포트 리 코리아타운), in the borough of Fort Lee, Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, in the New York City Metropolitan Area, is one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic Korean enclaves outside of Korea.

Location[edit]

The core of this Bergen County Koreatown[1] itself is centered at the intersection of Main Street and Lemoine Avenue and has now extended northward through Sylvan Avenue in the borough of Englewood Cliffs. However, the periphery of Koreatown continues to expand rapidly in all directions. Notably, this entire entity is mutually exclusive of the other significant Bergen County Koreatown which has formed in the nearby borough of Palisades Park,[1][2] the latter being the home of both the highest Korean-American density and percentage of any municipality in the United States.

History[edit]

In the 1990s, a continuous stream of Korean immigrants emerged into Fort Lee Koreatown. A substantial number of affluent and educated Korean American professionals have settled in Bergen County since the early 2000s and have founded various academic and communally supportive organizations, including the Korean Parent Partnership Organization at the Bergen County Academies magnet high school and The Korean-American Association of New Jersey. Approximately 130 Korean stores were counted in Koreatown in 2000,[1] a number which has risen significantly since then, featuring restaurants and karaoke (noraebang) bars, grocery markets, education centers and bookstores, banking institutions, offices, electronics vendors, apparel boutiques, and other commercial enterprises.

Comfort women controversy[edit]

Various Korean American groups could not reach consensus on the design and wording for a monument in Fort Lee as of early April 2013 to the memory of so-called comfort women, tens of thousands of women and girls, many Korean, who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II.[3][4] However, in May 2012, borough officials in neighboring Palisades Park rejected requests by two diplomatic delegations from Japan to remove such a monument from a public park, a brass plaque on a block of stone, dedicated in 2010;[5][6][7] days later, a South Korean delegation had endorsed Palisades Park's decision.[8] In October 2012, a similar memorial was announced in nearby Hackensack, to be raised behind the Bergen County Courthouse, alongside memorials to the Holocaust, the Irish Potato Famine, and the Armenian Genocide,[9] and was unveiled in March 2013.[10][11]

Demographics[edit]

The per capita Korean American population of Bergen County, 6.3% by the 2010 United States Census,[12][13] (increasing to 6.9% by the 2011 American Community Survey),[14] is the highest of any county in the United States,[13] with all of the nation's top ten municipalities by percentage of Korean population and an absolute total of 56,773 Korean Americans (increasing to 63,247 by the 2011 American Community Survey)[14] living in the county.[12][15] The concentration of Korean Americans in nearby Palisades Park in turn is the highest of any municipality in the United States,[16] at 52% of the population,[12] enumerating 10,115 residents of Korean ancestry;[17] while Fort Lee has nearly as many Koreans by absolute numbers, at 8,318, representing 23.5% of its 2010 population.[18] Along with Koreatowns in New York City and Long Island, the Bergen County Koreatowns serve as the nexus for an overall Korean American population of 218,764 individuals in the Greater New York Combined Statistical Area,[19] the second largest population of ethnic Koreans outside of Korea.

Climate[edit]

Fort Lee Koreatown lies at the northern edge of the humid subtropical climate zone, according to the Köppen climate classification, similarly to Seoul, South Korea;[20] as Bergen County's coldest month (January) averages above 26.6°F. [1][2][3]. In part due to its coastal location and relatively low elevation at approximately 300 feet above sea level,[21] its climate is milder than in New Jersey counties further inland such as Sussex County. Koreatown has a moderately sunny climate, averaging between 2,400 and 2,800 hours of sunshine annually.[22]

Transportation[edit]

The George Washington Bridge, the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge,[23][24] provides access to Fort Lee Koreatown from Manhattan in New York City. One of two 47-story residential skyscrapers, to be the tallest in Bergen County, is seen under construction near the gateway to the bridge in December 2013.[25]

Koreatown is served by an extensive transportation network. Interstate 95, U.S. Route 46, and New Jersey Route 4 all provide access to Main Street and Lemoine Avenue; New Jersey Route 63 and County Route 501 connect Fort Lee Koreatown to Palisades Park Koreatown; while Interstate 80, the New Jersey Turnpike, and U.S. Route 1/9 also serve the vicinity. The George Washington Bridge, the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge,[26][27] in turn provides access to Fort Lee Koreatown from Manhattan in New York City. Additionally, New Jersey Transit Bus #156 and New Jersey Transit Bus #158 serve Koreatown with buses to and from New York City.[28] Korean Air and Asiana Airlines provide non-stop flights from Seoul to JFK Airport[29][30] in the nearby New York City borough of Queens, which also is home to a large and growing Korean community.

News organizations[edit]

The Korea Times, a news organization based in Seoul, carries a significant presence in Fort Lee Koreatown. The Record of Bergen County, published by North Jersey Media Group, is also ubiquitously available in Koreatown.

Economic clout[edit]

The increasing economic clout of Fort Lee Koreatown and Bergen County's educated and growing professional Korean community is reflected in the prominent Korean corporate presence that continues to evolve in the area. Both the LG Corp. and Samsung Electronics, two of Korea's largest multinational corporations, have developed major American headquarters operations in nearby Bergen County locations.[31][32] LG Electronics held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 14, 2013 to build an environmentally friendly North American headquarters in adjoining Englewood Cliffs, having received a favorable legal decision subsequently being appealed based upon building height issues.[33][34]

Political clout[edit]

The political stature of Koreatown appears to be increasing significantly as well. Bergen County's growing Korean community[35][36][37][38] was cited by county executive Kathleen Donovan in the context of attorney Jae Y. Kim's appointment to Central Municipal Court judgeship in nearby Hackensack in January 2011.[37] Subsequently in March 2012, leaders from Bergen County's Korean community announced they would form a grassroots political action committee to gain an organized voice in politics in the wake of the rejection of attorney Phillip Kwon to the New Jersey Supreme Court by a state legislative body,[38] and in July 2012, Kwon was appointed instead as deputy general counsel of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[39] Jacqueline Choi was then sworn in as Bergen County's first female Korean American assistant prosecutor in September 2012.[15] According to The Record, the U.S. Census Bureau has determined that the county’s Korean American population has grown enough to warrant language assistance during elections,[12] and Bergen County's Koreans have earned significant political respect.[40][41][42] As of May 2014, Korean Americans had garnered at least four borough council seats in Bergen County.[43]

Public high school education[edit]

Fort Lee High School and the Bergen County Academies both serve the residents of Fort Lee Koreatown.

East Sea controversy[edit]

According to The Record, the Korean-American Association of New Jersey petitioned Fort Lee school officials in 2013 to use textbooks that refer to the Sea of Japan as the East Sea as well.[44]

Center of Korean culture[edit]

Koreatown in nearby Palisades Park has emerged as a dominant nexus of Korean American culture,[45] while Fort Lee's Koreatown is also emerging as such. On a broader note, the Chusok Korean Thanksgiving harvest festival has become an annual tradition in Bergen County, attended by several tens of thousands.[46]

Korean and English are both spoken prevalently in Koreatown. Retail signs employing the Hangul alphabet are ubiquitous.

Cuisine[edit]

Fort Lee Koreatown has become a Korean dining destination.[2][47] Korean Chinese cuisine is now also available in Koreatown, as is misugaru.[48]

Public institutions[edit]

Koreatown residents can enjoy an urban oasis at Constitution Park.[49] Note the background high-rise apartment complexes typifying a prominent feature of Koreatown.

Both the Fort Lee Public Library[50] and the Fort Lee Borough Hall are located in the area. Koreatown residents can enjoy an urban oasis at Constitution Park.[49]

Medical care[edit]

Holy Name Medical Center (affiliated with the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System),[51] Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, and Hackensack University Medical Center serve as medical centers providing Palisades Park Koreatown as well as surrounding communities with comprehensive medical care services. Holy Name Medical Center in nearby Teaneck, New Jersey has undertaken an ambitious effort to provide comprehensive health care services to underinsured and uninsured Korean patients from a wide area with its growing Korean Medical Program.[52][53][54]

Social services[edit]

A significant array of social services toward assisting recent as well as established Korean immigrants, is readily available in Koreatown.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Asian Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues Second Edition, Edited by Pyong Gap Min. Pine Forge Press - An Imprint of Sage Publications, Inc. 2006. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  2. ^ a b Karen Tina Harrison (2007-12-19). "Thriving Korean communities make Fort Lee and Palisades Park a boon to epicures.". Copyright © 2012 New Jersey Monthly Magazine. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  3. ^ Kirk Semple (May 18, 2012). "In New Jersey, Memorial for ‘Comfort Women’ Deepens Old Animosity". The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ S.P. Sullivan (June 8, 2013). "Sexual slavery issue, discussed internationally, pivots around one little monument in N.J.". New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ Dan Ivers (April 6, 2013). "Critics cause Fort Lee to reconsider monument honoring Korean WWII prostitutes". New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ Linh Tat (April 4, 2013). "Controversy puts planned 'comfort women' memorial in Fort Lee on hold". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ Kirk Semple (May 18, 2012). "In New Jersey, Memorial for ‘Comfort Women’ Deepens Old Animosity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  8. ^ Monsy Alvarado (July 12, 2012). "Palisades Park monument to 'comfort women' stirs support, anger". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  9. ^ Rebecca D. O'Brien (October 14, 2012). "New Jersey's Korean community awakens politically". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  10. ^ S.P. Sullivan (March 8, 2013). "Bergen County marks International Women's Day with Korean 'comfort women' memorial". © 2013 New Jersey On-Line LLC. All rights reserved. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  11. ^ Monsy Alvarado (March 8, 2013). "Memorial dedicated to women forced into sexual slavery during WWII". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d Karen Sudol and Dave Sheingold (2011-10-12). "Korean language ballots coming to Bergen County". © 2012 North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  13. ^ a b Richard Newman (2012-08-30). "Korean company to buy Fort Lee bank". © 2012 North Jersey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  14. ^ a b "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2011 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates - Geographies - Bergen County, New Jersey". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Monsy Alvarado (2012-09-04). "Bergen County swears in first female Korean-American assistant prosecutor". © 2012 North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  16. ^ RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA (2010-12-15). "PALISADES PARK JOURNAL As Koreans Pour In, a Town Is Remade". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
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  18. ^ "Fort Lee borough, New Jersey QuickLinks". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
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  23. ^ "Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - George Washington Bridge". The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ Bod Woodruff, Lana Zak, and Stephanie Wash (November 20, 2012). "GW Bridge Painters: Dangerous Job on Top of the World's Busiest Bridge". ABC News. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ Linh Tat (November 19, 2013). "Luxury Fort Lee high-rise transforms Bergen County skyline". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - George Washington Bridge". The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  27. ^ Bod Woodruff, Lana Zak, and Stephanie Wash (November 20, 2012). "GW Bridge Painters: Dangerous Job on Top of the World's Busiest Bridge". ABC News. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
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  29. ^ Matt Molnar (August 9, 2011). "New Korean Air Airbus A380 Makes First Flight to America". Copyright © 2012 NYCAviation All Rights Reserved. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
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  34. ^ Alana Quartuccio (September 3, 2013). "Study Predicts Englewood Cliffs LG Project Will Bring Huge Revenue Boost". Englewood-EnglewoodCliffs Patch. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
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  37. ^ a b "Hackensack attorney appointed to court". © 2012 North Jersey Media Group. 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
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  42. ^ Monsy Alvarado (2012-10-09). "Korean-Americans to sponsor three debates". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 
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  44. ^ Linh Tat (May 16, 2013). "Korean group petitions schools over textbook". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved May 16, 2013. 
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  48. ^ Joan Verdon (June 5, 2014). "Korean coffee chain expanding in North Jersey". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  49. ^ a b "Constitution Park". Copyright © 2012 Borough of Fort Lee, New Jersey Official Website. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  50. ^ "Fort Lee Public Library". © 2011 Fort Lee Public Library. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
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  53. ^ Barbara Williams (2012-10-20). "Annual Korean health fair draws crowds at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck". © 2012 North Jersey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  54. ^ Barbara Williams (2012-11-24). "Holy Name will screen 2,000 for Hepatitis B". © 2012 North Jersey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved. Retrieved 2012-11-24.