[NYT] As Bronx loses Koreans, one-room senior center is vital link

April 1, 2015

 

On Wednesdays, computer skills are taught in the 200-square-foot space that is the Bronx Korean American Senior Citizen Association. On March 19, Ta Chul Kim, standing, showed Byung Soon Choo how to use a laptop. (Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

On Wednesdays, computer skills are taught in the 200-square-foot space that is the Bronx Korean American Senior Citizen Association. On March 19, Ta Chul Kim, standing, showed Byung Soon Choo how to use a laptop. (Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

[NEW YORK TIMES]

The senior center is all of one room on the second floor of a church, because its 120 members cannot afford to rent anything bigger.

Or as Abraham Lee, the president of the Bronx Korean American Senior Citizen Association, lamented the other day, “No space, no money, that’s the problem.” He added that maybe he would win the Lotto.

Queens has Flushing, Manhattan has Koreatown, and the Bronx, too, once had its own distinct, if lesser known, Korean enclaves in neighborhoods like Bedford Park, where the senior center is, and where in years past Korean delis and stores dotted the Grand Concourse.

Many of these Koreans came to the Bronx in the 1970s and 1980s, even as other residents fled what was then a crime-ridden borough that had become a national symbol of urban decay. Like the Irish, Italians, Jews, Puerto Ricans and others before them, the Koreans were attracted by spacious apartments and affordable rents. They found jobs in Korean-owned businesses and at the Hunts Point food markets.

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