I don’t know why it still trips me out to see Mexicans in New York City. Last time I was there I couldn’t believe there was a taco truck parked outside my friend’s upper west side apartment building. For a long time, immigration experts talked about the migrant nature of the New York Mexican population, saying that they were just passing through or working their way towards something more advantageous in other states. Apparently, that’s not the case anymore. One researcher even calls the city “Newyorktitlán”:
Mexicans had the highest rate of population growth of all the major racial and ethnic groups in New York City in the 1990s. The number of Mexican New Yorkers counted by the U.S. Census more than tripled, from 61,772 in 1990 to 186,872 in 2000. But the Census data likely reflect a substantial undercount of the total number of Mexicans living in New York. More inclusive estimates place this population in the range of 275,000 to 300,000.
Mexicans have grown to constitute the third largest Hispanic/Latino group in New York, after Puerto Ricans and Dominicans.
Okay, so I had no idea. That’s why it surprised me to see that none other than Vicente Fernandez packed Madison Square Garden recently. Unlike other Mexican artists like Luis Miguel or Paulina Rubio who have more universal appeal among Latinos, to like “Chente” you have to be down with Mexican music and culture in a serious way. Apparently there are enough Mexicans or Mexicaficionados in the Big Apple to constitute a fan base for him:
Las llaves de mi alma”, “Por tu maldito amor’”, y “Acá entre nos”, pusieron a unos a bailar y a otros a llorar.
El recinto estaba plagado de banderas mexicanas, y algunas colombianas y dominicanas, pero el grueso de la audiencia eran decididamente paisanos del cantante.
According to this article, tickets to the show cost $150. Now I see why the taco truck is parked uptown and not in the hood. Love of country and of rancheras is apparently enough to make Mexicans fork out a small fortune to hear songs from the homeland.
Via / Diario de Mexico, Columbia University News and Ticias