Koreatown, Palisades Park

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Koreatown, Palisades Park
팰리세이즈 파크 코리아타운
Palisades Park Koreatown
Koreatown
Koreatown's Broad Avenue in March 2008
Koreatown's Broad Avenue in March 2008
Coordinates: 40°50′49.26″N 73°59′49.42″W / 40.8470167°N 73.9970611°W / 40.8470167; -73.9970611Coordinates: 40°50′49.26″N 73°59′49.42″W / 40.8470167°N 73.9970611°W / 40.8470167; -73.9970611
Country  United States of America
State  New Jersey
County Bergen
Agglomeration New York City Metropolitan Area
Borough Palisades Park

Koreatown, Palisades Park, also known as the Palisades Park Koreatown (Hangul:팰리세이즈 파크 코리아타운),[1] in the borough of Palisades Park, 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. Koreans comprise the majority (52%) of the population of the borough of Palisades Park,[2][3][4][5] the home of both the highest Korean-American density and percentage of any municipality in the United States.

Location[edit]

The core of this Bergen County Koreatown[6][7] itself extends along Bergen Boulevard to the east, Grand Avenue to the west, and U.S. Route 46 to the south, and has extended northward to Fort Lee Road in the borough of Leonia. However, the periphery of Koreatown continues to expand rapidly in all directions. Broad Avenue represents the heart of Koreatown. Notably, this entire entity is mutually exclusive of the other significant Bergen County Koreatown which has formed in the nearby borough of Fort Lee.[7][8]

History[edit]

According to The New York Times, until the 1980s, Palisades Park was overwhelmingly Caucasian, a mix of blue-collar workers and professionals whose families originated largely from Italy, Croatia, Germany, and Greece. Its houses were inexpensive, and it had a number of vacant shops and offices.[9] In the 1990s, a continuous stream of Korean immigrants emerged into Palisades Park 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 120 Korean stores were counted in Koreatown in 2000,[7] 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]

In May 2012, borough officials in Palisades Park rejected requests by two diplomatic delegations from Japan to remove a small monument from a public park, a brass plaque on a block of stone, dedicated in 2010 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.[10][11] Days later, a South Korean delegation endorsed the borough's decision.[12] However, in neighboring Fort Lee, various Korean American groups could not reach consensus on the design and wording for such a monument as of early April 2013.[13][14] 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,[1] and was unveiled in March 2013.[15][16]

Sewol ferry tragedy memorial in the United States[edit]

In May 2014, the Palisades Park Public Library created a memorial dedicated to the victims of the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry off the South Korean coast on April 16, 2014.[17]

Demographics[edit]

The per capita Korean American population of Bergen County, 6.3% by the 2010 United States Census,[18][19] (increasing to 6.9% by the 2011 American Community Survey),[20] is the highest of any county in the United States,[19] 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)[20] living in the county.[18][21] The concentration of Korean Americans in Palisades Park in turn is the highest of any municipality in the United States,[9] at 52% of the population,[18] enumerating 10,115 residents of Korean ancestry.[22] Palisades Park is often referred to as the Korean village.[23] 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,[24] the second largest population of ethnic Koreans outside of Korea.

Climate[edit]

Palisades Park Koreatown lies at the northern edge of the humid subtropical climate zone, according to the Köppen climate classification, similarly to Seoul, South Korea;[25] 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 100 feet above sea level,[26] 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.[27]

Transportation[edit]

The nearby George Washington Bridge, the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge,[28][29] provides access to Palisades Park Koreatown from Manhattan in New York City via adjacent Fort Lee, Bergen County (above).

Koreatown is served by an extensive transportation network. Interstate 95, U.S. Route 46, and New Jersey Route 4 all provide access to Broad and Grand Avenues; New Jersey Route 63 and County Route 501 connect Palisades Park Koreatown to Fort Lee Koreatown; while Interstate 80, the New Jersey Turnpike, and U.S. Route 1/9 also serve the vicinity.[23] The nearby George Washington Bridge, the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge,[28][29] in turn provides access to Palisades Park Koreatown from Manhattan in New York City via adjacent Fort Lee, Bergen County. Additionally, New Jersey Transit Bus #127 and New Jersey Transit Bus #166 serve Koreatown with buses to and from New York City.[30][31] Korean Air and Asiana Airlines provide non-stop flights from Seoul to JFK Airport[32][33] 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, Korea Daily, and the Yonhap News Agency, news organizations based in Seoul, carry a significant presence in Palisades Park 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 Palisades Park 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.[34][35]

Political clout[edit]

The political stature of Koreatown appears to be increasing significantly as well.[1] Bergen County's growing Korean community[36][37][38][39] was cited by county executive Kathleen Donovan in the context of attorney Jae Y. Kim's appointment to the Bergen Central Municipal Court judgeship in Hackensack in January 2011.[38] 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,[39] and in July 2012, Kwon was appointed instead as deputy general counsel of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[40] Jacqueline Choi was then sworn in as Bergen County's first female Korean American assistant prosecutor in September 2012.[21] 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,[18] and Bergen County's Koreans have earned significant political respect.[1][41][42]

Jason Kim was serving as deputy mayor of the borough of Palisades Park in May 2012.[43] As of May 2014, Korean Americans had garnered at least four borough council seats in Bergen County.[44]

Public high school education[edit]

Palisades Park High School and the Bergen County Academies both serve the residents of Palisades Park Koreatown.

East Sea controversy[edit]

According to The Record, the Korean-American Association of New Jersey petitioned Palisades Park school officials in 2013 to use textbooks that refer to the Sea of Japan as the East Sea as well.[45]

Center of Korean culture[edit]

Koreatown in Palisades Park has emerged as a dominant nexus of Korean American culture.[6] The Palisades Park Senior Citizens Center provides a popular gathering place where even Korean grandmothers were noted to follow the dance trend of the worldwide viral hit Gangnam Style by South Korean "K-pop" rapper Psy in 2012.[46] Palisades Park High School has hosted national Kumdo martial arts tournaments.[47][48] On a broader note, the Chusok Korean Thanksgiving harvest festival has become an annual tradition in Bergen County, attended by several tens of thousands.[49]

Cuisine[edit]

Broad Avenue in Koreatown has been referred to as a "Korean food walk of fame",[8] with diverse offerings.[6] Palisades Park Koreatown now incorporates the highest concentration of Korean restaurants within a one-mile radius in the United States,[50] and Broad Avenue has evolved into a Korean dessert destination as well.[51][52] Korean Chinese cuisine is now also available in Koreatown, as is misugaru.[53]

Languages[edit]

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

Public institutions[edit]

The Palisades Park Public Library as well as the Palisades Park Borough Hall[54] and the Palisades Park Municipal Court[23] are located in the area.

Medical care[edit]

Holy Name Medical Center (affiliated with the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System),[55] 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.[56][57][58]

Social services[edit]

A diverse array of social services such as the Korean-American Senior Citizens Association Of New Jersey, Inc.,[59] geared toward assisting recent as well as established Korean immigrants, is readily available in Koreatown.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Rebecca D. O'Brien (2012-10-14). "New Jersey's Korean community awakens politically". © 2012 North Jersey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  2. ^ Karen Sudol and Dave Sheingold (2011-10-12). "Korean language ballots coming to Bergen County". © 2012 North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  3. ^ Kirk Semple (May 18, 2012). "In New Jersey, Memorial for ‘Comfort Women’ Deepens Old Animosity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  4. ^ Asian Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues Second Edition, Edited by Pyong Gap Min. Pine Forge Press - An Imprint of Sage Publications, Inc. 2006. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  5. ^ Brian Yarvin (2008-06-13). "New York serious eats". Serious Eats © 2006-2012. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  6. ^ a b c Jersey Dispatch: Bergen County Koreatown
  7. ^ 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 2012-03-29. 
  8. ^ a b Karen Tina Harrison (2007-12-19). "Thriving Korean communities make Fort Lee and Palisades Park a boon to epicures.". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  9. ^ a b RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA (2010-12-15). "PALISADES PARK JOURNAL As Koreans Pour In, a Town Is Remade". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  10. ^ Kirk Semple (May 18, 2012). "In New Jersey, Memorial for ‘Comfort Women’ Deepens Old Animosity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Monsy Alvarado (July 12, 2012). "Palisades Park monument to 'comfort women' stirs support, anger". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  13. ^ Dan Ivers (April 6, 2013). "Critics cause Fort Lee to reconsider monument honoring Korean WWII prostitutes". New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved April 16, 2013. 
  14. ^ Linh Tat (April 4, 2013). "Controversy puts planned 'comfort women' memorial in Fort Lee on hold". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved April 16, 2013. 
  15. ^ S.P. Sullivan (March 8, 2013). "Bergen County marks International Women's Day with Korean 'comfort women' memorial". New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  16. ^ Monsy Alvarado (March 8, 2013). "Memorial dedicated to women forced into sexual slavery during WWII". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  17. ^ Monsy Alvarado (May 2, 2014). "Palisades Park library creates memorial for South Korean ferry victims". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved May 3, 2014. 
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  29. ^ a b 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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