Koreatown emerges in Allston-Brighton

I was really excited when I found an article in the Boston Globe about the growing Korean-American immigrant population in Allston-Brighton, one of the many neighborhoods of Boston. While I grew up in Jamaica Plain (a diverse neighborhood itself), I have come to think of Allston as my second home; it is where I spend much of my time eating delicious Korean cuisine or hanging out & enjoying Korea’s beloved dessert, bingsoo (pictured above), in my favorite cafe Between Hours.

This article states that Allston-Brighton is now home to over a third of Boston’s Korean population. Within this diverse neighborhood (home to not only Koreans, but Brazilians, Chinese, Russians, and Indians), many Koreans have opened booming and successful businesses including but not limited to popular restaurants, trendy bars, hair salons, and stationery stores. The article also claims that “of the 264 storefronts in the area,1 in every 10 is Korean-owned.” While the growing Allston-Brighton Koreatown is not as established,  it is slowly becoming comparable to that of Koreatown in New York City.

One reason many Korean immigrants move to Allston-Brighton is proximity to many of the city’s best high schools and universities. It is a short bus ride to Harvard University, and a few train stops away from Boston University and Boston College. Myong Sool Chang, owner of the Boston Korean weekly newspaper says, “The Korean people are very education-conscious. Even if they do not have money, they have to teach their children.” Living so close to these higher education institutions makes the idea of college and actually attending college very accessible.

Allston-Brighton is by far one of my favorite places in Boston. I love getting off the green line and walking down Harvard Ave, smelling all of the Korean restaurants and watching the diverse people who live there walk by me. In some ways, this neighborhood represents the immigrant’s American Dream: a place you can live affordably, open your own business, and attend some of the country’s best colleges.

8 responses to “Koreatown emerges in Allston-Brighton

  1. I find the fact that one ethnic group, in their establishment of their own cultural space, can influence so many more people outside of the ethnic group to participate in their culture through consumption. Not only are these communities economically driven, but also very culturally driven. I imagine that the Korean culture has been promulgated so much throughout the city due to the appropriation of commerce.

    Also, I think it is very interesting how Korean families are very education centralized and that it reflects so much in where they have established their ethnic enclave. Being so close to some of the top schools in America, families have developed with conversation and a mindset around the importance of acquiring education.

  2. This is really interesting that a neighborhood can quickly grow and be compared to other established enclaves. Also, I am very surprised that many people are now starting to move and populate areas where the top schools in the country are located. This shows that times have changed, instead ethnic enclaves are forming because parents want their children to be surrounded by the best schools so they can think about their future. I come from a neighborhood that is mostly Hispanic and our schools have a bad reputation for not being the best, so therefore many of the students didn’t think going to college was even possible, so I feel that living in these ethnic enclaves gives students hope that they can obtain a higher education.

  3. mmm I love Korean food. Maybe I should go to Boston now? I think it’s an interesting spot for Korean Americans to locate. I wonder if this influx will cause white flight.

  4. I wonder, with all of the new and booming businesses, whether the neighborhood will experience gentrification and attract more white and wealthier individuals or whether the influx of Korean immigrants will lead to white flight as CJ mentioned previously. Also, I find it interesting that the newspaper attributes the increase of Korean immigration to the model minority stereotype of valuing education instead of to advantages of living in an ethnic enclave where family ties, language similarities and cultural traditions may facilitate an immigrants integration to life in the United States.

  5. It is interesting how the proximity to the colleges is a major reason why Koreans are living in Allston-Brighton. The U.S. Korean population tends to either dwell in the west coast or the east coast. I wonder if it is related to the fact that the Korean students and parents mostly only focus on UC’s and Ivys.

  6. Its fascinating how certain aspects or institutions can be the focul point to the formation of an ethnic community. I really enjoyed your own personal experiences and perspective on this particular community.

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