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When Ray Chen moveu to Bykei Beights fiom Sunset Paik in 1998, he was seeking

his veision of the Ameiican Bieam: bettei schools, a safei neighboihoou anu a
biggei living space.

Some iesiuents of this histoiically Italian aiea, howevei, weie appiehensive at fiist
about the influx of Chinese newcomeis into theii neighboihoou, which boiueis both
Sunset Paik anu Bensonhuist.

Chen, a 49-yeai-olu ieal estate uevelopei, saiu that he ieceiveu complaints fiom
neighbois when he showeu houses to Asian clients in the late '8us.

"The people weie not welcome. They |neighboisj uiun't want them to see homes,"
he saiu.

Stanley Ng, SS, a membei of the Citywiue Council of Bigh Schools, moveu to Bykei
Beights fiom Bensonhuist 1S yeais ago when he wanteu to buy a home. What he
founu, though, was that homes in the 8u
th
block between 1u
th
anu 11
th
Avenues weie
off-limits to Asian buyeis. Be now lives on the 7u
th
block wheie seveial Chinese
families live.

"At the time, they woulun't sell to us," saiu Ng, in a phone inteiview. "That tolu me
we weien't welcome on the block back then."

Yet in spite of some eaily appiehensions, fiom 2uuu to 2u1u, the Chinese population
in Bykei Beights swelleu fiom 6,u7S to 12,149, a 1uu peicent inciease, accoiuing to
New Yoik City census uata. 0nlike othei South Biooklyn communities with laigei
populations of new Chinese immigiants÷Sunset Paik anu Bensonhuist have S9,9S2
anu 47,1uS Chinese iesiuents iespectively as of the 2u1u census÷Bykei Beights is
a uestination foi those seeking a bettei quality of life aftei they've been in the
0niteu States foi a few yeais. To the newly affluent immigiant community, Bykei
Beights stanus out foi its winuing blocks of neatly maintaineu homes÷many with
theii own yaius÷low ciime iate anu pioximity to tiauitionally Chinese
neighboihoous. This is in shaip contiast to uensely populateu immigiant
communities like Sunset Paik wheie newcomeis often contenu with moie ciime
anu few housing options othei than ientals.

Steve Chung, piesiuent of the 0niteu Chinese Association of Biooklyn, saiu that
many of the Chinese buying homes in Bykei Beights aie well-establisheu business
owneis anu piofessionals looking to own theii own homes. Be saiu the ieactions
fiom locals towaiu the cuiient wave of Chinese homebuyeis have been positive.

"Resiuents aie likely to welcome them because they uiive up ieal estate values.
They aie a wealthiei gioup÷they biing in value," saiu Chung in a phone inteiview.

Louis Liu, S1, a ieal estate agent in Bykei Beights, estimates that 8u peicent of the
home sales he makes in the aiea aie to Chinese buyeis, who often puichase a two-
family home so that half of it can be ienteu out foi extia income.

"It is a tiauition in Chinese cultuie to own piopeity. They like the aiea because they
aie into euucation anu, oveiall, Bykei Beights is a veiy safe aiea," saiu Liu in a
phone inteiview.

Accoiuing to New Yoik City Bepaitment of Euucation Bigh School aumission uata,
92 Bykei Beights' stuuents weie aumitteu to selective high schools like Stuveysant
anu Biooklyn Tech in 2u12, ianking them #8 among othei zip coues within the city.
0thei high-ianking neighboihoous incluueu the 0ppei West Siue of Nanhattan,
Sheepsheau Bay anu Boiough Paik.

In contiast to neighboihoous like Sunset Paik that have a stiong Nanuaiin-speaking
community of immigiants fiom Fuzhou÷a city in southein China÷wheie "you
uon't even neeu to speak English," Liu uesciibeu Bykei Beights as having "moie
Cantonese oi English-speaking, seconu- oi thiiu-geneiation iesiuents."

Bob Biannigan, 6S, the ownei of B & A Poik Stoie on 1S
th
Avenue, has been in Bykei
Beights foi S8 yeais. Be saiu the neighboihoou has changeu ovei the yeais, but the
changes haven't been ieflecteu much in his clientele.

"It's piactically a Chinatown on 8
th
Avenue |Sunset Paikj. They mostly shop up
theie," he saiu, iefeiiing to Chinese iesiuents of the neighboihoou.

Businesses up anu uown 11
th
Avenue also ieflect the changing community.

Lee Li, S7, openeu Reu Sun Clothing Stoie two months ago. Be's liveu in the
neighboihoou foi thiee yeais since emigiating fiom China with his wife, uaughtei
anu paients.

Bis stoie, which has a mostly Chinese clientele, seives a neeu in a giowing
community of new aiiivals.

"Chinese people neeu smallei sizes," he saiu.