Castle Garden in Battery Park In 1883 there was no Ellis Island, and so new arrivals came through Castle Garden for processing.

In the 1880s the largest immigrant populations were Irish and German.  There were so many Germans, as a matter of fact, that the east side was called Kleindeutschland, or Little Germany. Within its borders space was further  loosely carved into regional and religious alliances. Italian immigration didn’t peak until later in the 19th century.


Immigration by Land of Birth, 1841-1890

In that decade the wave of immigrants from Italy was on the upswing, and small communities of Asians   — who seem to have primarily been Chinese — were establishing themselves in the Chatham Square area.  African American residential areas seem to have shifted a lot, some large proportion moving steadily northward. In Brooklyn the Weeksville African American community was well known and highly regarded.

There was also a French Quarter , though few people today seem to be aware of that fact. It was situated to the southeast of Washington Square Park and west of Broadway.

To establish a map that I could work with while writing The Gilded Hour I consulted academic historical work but I looked also at primary data by means of the information provided by the Catholic church. The Irish and Italian immigrants were in excess of ninety percent Romance Catholic, and the German population was split between Catholic and Protestant. Comparing the official records over time it .