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Irish Americans in New York City

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Title: Irish Americans in New York City  
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Subject: Demographics of New York City, Jews in New York City, Le Petit Senegal, Little Spain, Puerto Rican migration to New York City
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Irish Americans in New York City

The Irish community is one of New York's major and important ethnic groups, and has been a significant proportion of the city's population since the waves of immigration in the late 19th century.

As a result of the Great Famine in Ireland, many Irish families were forced to emigrate from the country. By 1854, between 1.5 and 2 million Irish had left their country. In the United States, most Irish became city-dwellers. With little money, many had to settle in the cities that the ships landed in. By 1850, the Irish made up a quarter of the population in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Baltimore.

New York City today has the largest number of Irish-Americans of any city in the United States.[1] During the Celtic Tiger years, when the Irish economy was booming, a buying spree of homes and apartments by native Irish in New York City as second homes,[2] or as investment property was seen.[3]

Irish-Americans play a significant role in New York city and state politics, media, Wall Street, the Roman Catholic church, and the major sports leagues. They have been highly active in the Fire Department of New York City, New York City Police Department, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


  • Background 1
  • Irish neighborhoods 2
    • Current 2.1
    • Historic 2.2
  • Notable Irish New Yorkers 3
    • Irish mayors 3.1
    • Irish Bishops of the Archdiocese of New York 3.2
    • Notable Irish New Yorkers 3.3
    • Irish gangs 3.4
  • Entertainment about Irish in New York City 4
    • Music 4.1
    • Notable movies 4.2
    • Television 4.3
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Irish Americans make up approximately 5.3% of New York City's population, composing the second largest non-Hispanic white ethnic group.[4] Irish Americans first came to America in colonial years (pre-1776), with immigration rising in the 1820s due to poor living conditions in Ireland.[5] But the largest wave of Irish immigration came after the Great Famine in 1845.[5]

In the "early days", the 19th century, the Irish formed a predominant part of the European immigrant population of New York City, a "city of immigrants", which added to the city's diversity to this day.[6]

After they came, Irish immigrants often crowded into subdivided homes, only meant for one family, and cellars, attics, and alleys all became home for some Irish immigrants.[7] In fact, New York once had more Irishmen than Dublin itself.[7] New York has long been a destination for Irish immigrants because they speak English, and there has long been a large Irish population there.[8]

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was originally developed as a resort for wealthy Manhattanites in 1879, but instead became a family-oriented Italian- and Irish-American community.[9] Another large Irish-American community is located in Woodlawn, Bronx,[8] but Woodlawn also has a mix of different ethnic groups.[10] One large Irish community in Manhattan was Hell's Kitchen.[11]

Other sizable Irish-American communities include Belle Harbor and Breezy Point, both in Queens.[12][13] Two big Irish communities are Marine Park and neighboring Gerritsen Beach. The Irish have also settled "to a far lesser extent [in] Maspeth, Woodside, and Sunnyside, Queens."[8]

The Irish in New York developed a particular reputation for joining the New York City Police Department as well as the New York Fire Department.

Irish neighborhoods



Notable Irish New Yorkers

Irish mayors

Irish Bishops of the Archdiocese of New York

Notable Irish New Yorkers

Irish gangs

Entertainment about Irish in New York City


Fairytale of New York by Irish band The Pogues refers to the NYPD choir singing Galway Bay. This is traditional because the force traditionally was largely made up of Irish Americans.

Notable movies



  • Helmreich, William B. (2013). The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6000 Miles in the City. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton U. Press.  


  1. ^ Irish American Fun Facts & Trivia
  2. ^ The Real Estate Bloggers
  3. ^ An Irish Taste for Real Estate in Manhattan, by Patrick McHeehan, N.Y. Times, May 8, 2007 (The page number is not available; it is available on-line with registration).
  4. ^ "New York city, New York – QT-P13. Ancestry: 2000". American Fact Finder. United States Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Immigration... Irish: Irish-Catholic Immigration". Library of Congress. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  6. ^ Helmreich 2013, p. 25.
  7. ^ a b "Immigration... Irish: Adaptation and Assimilation". Library of Congress. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c Helmreich 2013, p. 27.
  9. ^ Goode, Kristen. "Bay Ridge, Brooklyn". The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  10. ^ Wilson, Claire (February 16, 2003). "If You're Thinking of Living In/Woodlawn; A Bronx Enclave With a Suburban Feel". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. 1. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  11. ^ Manhattan||publisher=Prime Manhattan Realty|accessdate=May 4, 2009
  12. ^ "Walking Around – Belle Harbor – Irish New York City's Ethnic neighborhoods". 2004. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Walking Around – Breezy Point – Irish New York City's Ethnic neighborhoods". 2004. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  14. ^ NY Times article, requires registration
  15. ^ Irish fire-fighter obit
  16. ^ A bit o' the Irish brogue: Woodlawn: An Irish enclave in the far reaches of the Bronx, by Patrick Ward, amNY, February 8, 2007, at pp. 34, 36, 38; see also at [2].
  17. ^ page on Woodlawn
  18. ^ Irish restaurants in N. Riverdale
  19. ^ "Top 7 Brooklyn Irish Pubs and Bars", by Wendy Zarganis, About:New York:Brooklyn web site
  20. ^ Blog: "A Shamrock Grows in Brooklyn"
  21. ^ Henry Grattan's Pub web site
  22. ^ Congressman' s site
  23. ^
  24. ^ Neighborhood web site
  25. ^ Civic group
  26. ^ Irish dance group
  27. ^ Forgotten NY web site
  28. ^ "Close up on Vinegar Hill", by Danial Adkinson, Village Voice web site
  29. ^ "If You're Thinking of Living in Vinegar Hill...", by Dulcie Leimbach, N.Y. Times, August 31, 2003 on line.
  30. ^ a b Ellen Freudenheim, Queens: What to do, where to go (and how not to get lost) in New York's Undiscovered Borough, pp. pp. 15-16 (Woodside), 262-265 (Rockaways), 267-275 (Sunnyside), 277-287 (Woodside). (St. Martin's NY 2006) ISBN 0-312-35818-0.
  31. ^ Bayor and Meaghar (1996). The New York Irish. Johns Hopkins University Press.   (p. 414)
  32. ^ Staten Is. Cultural web site
  33. ^ Staten Island Irish Fair web site
  34. ^ Information on Norwood, a.k.a. page on Norwood
  35. ^ St. Barnabas' Parish web site
  36. ^ Diana Shaman, If You're Thinking of Living In /Woodhaven, Queens; Diversity in a Cohesive Community, New York Times September 20, 1998, found at NY Times article on the diversity of Rego Park including Irish-Aamericans. Accessed November 8, 2007.

External links

  • FDNY Emerald Society
  • FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums
  • Fordham University
  • New York Irish Bars
  • New York City Correction Dept. Emerald Society
  • New York Irish History Roundtable
  • NYPD Emerald Society
  • St. Patrick's Old Cathedral
  • New York Irish Center
  • Woodhaven House web site, with discussion of history of Irish pubs in Queens
  • Winged Fist Organization
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