New York, Have Your Say!

Friday, August 24, 2007

New York thinks of itself as the most multicultural city in the world. But London, Toronto, and Sydney all make the same claim! Which city is right?

Today we're participating in the BBC program World Have Your Say, a daily interactive program where listeners set the agenda. World Have Your Say will decide which city should be held up as the best multicultural example for the rest of the world.

The Leonard Lopate Show will be simulcasting with three other radio stations - in London, Toronto, and Sydney - with advocates and listeners in each city arguing that their city should win. At the end of the hour, a panel of listeners will crown the winner. For more information about the contest, check out the show's blog here. Leonard needs your help to make the best case for New York!

UPDATE: The panel of voters chose London as the world's most multicultural city. If you disagree, keep posting your comments here.

If you can't see the video click here

Comments [177]

Stuart from NYC

I tried to call in the last time this idiot made the statement concerning the investment bankers. Thousands of people work just as hard and harder than these brokers and get no compensation for their overtime and hard work. The bankers are just greedy. When you do your job well you get your paycheck. That is why you get paid. We have made a mistake by giving out these bonus checks to these people for doing their jobs. As for your question, no I would not want their jobs. But that is becuase we all have different skills and interests. But that doess not mean they are better than everyone else.

May. 08 2009 12:01 PM
Isabella from New York

Jesus Christ! Can people PLEASE stop spelling the country Colombia, as Columbia????? There is NO U in the country! Only the space shuttle, university and all things American have a U in that particular word! It's not even pronounced the same in any of the Latin languages! Irks the bejesus out of me! I shouldn't care as I am Ecuadorian but for God's sake, people, get it straight!

Mar. 16 2008 10:57 PM
Philip Antillin from My House

We here in the West are often infatuated by other cultures i.e. their food, women, political ideologies etc. But we don’t really want “democracy” if it means that our culture is being threatened by people who run across the border yelling “racist”. If they came with skills to improve the infrastructure like many Indian people do who are doctors, technicians, and scientists, then fine, they contribute. But when they have nothing to offer except crime, disease, and illiteracy, what purpose do they serve other than an economic drain? So we use them as human symbols in partisan bickering to exercise our egos in shallow Manichean-like debates – as examples to show how open and tolerant we are. Our little pluralistic experiment has run its course. The system is completely saturated. Our home is becoming more dangerous by the day because the world is different now. The progeny of the founders of the New School are no longer running from the European Fascism that their mothers and fathers ran from. Now they are running from themselves.

New Yorkers have a right to live the way they want to. However, it is imperative that we understand that other states in the Union also have this right. And we must never forget that impinging on someone else’s rights is not how the game is played.

Oct. 28 2007 10:40 AM
LA lady from Los Angeles/New York

Look, I love NYC, I am originally from New York....but many of the people posting here have never lived in a diverse city before, other than NY. So how can they compare? Los Angeles is just as, if not more so, culturally diverse as NY. Spanish is our second language here. I travel back and forth from NY to LA and have lived both places - NY needs to get over itself a little. Just because you travelled to LA as a tourist does not mean that you know LA as a town. LA is home to the largest Mexican, Thai, Phillipino, Korean, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan populations outside of those countries. LA has every single group that NY has in varying concentrations - just because NY says it's #1 doesn't make it so.

Sep. 12 2007 03:38 PM
Matt from Toronto

I really don't see how people can simply dismiss Toronto's diversity. I live in Toronto and have visited NYC many times and I really don't notice a difference in the faces I see or the languages I hear as I walk the streets of both cities. As for a cuisine point of view, there is no difference in the variety of ethnic food available in the 2 cities. The only difference is it costs a third of the price in Toronto. I'd like to find an all-you-can-eat indian buffet in NYC for $6.50.

I really think the diversity between the two cities is comparable. Where I work I am the only caucasian. I am mixed of German, Irish, Welsh, Swiss, French and English heritage. My coworkers are Palestinian, African, Indian, and Chinese. Just looking down the list of people on my instant instant messenger and the vast majority are not caucasian. The ATM machines here also provide services in multiple languages, a service available in most parts of the country and not just Toronto.

As for the pride parade at the end of June comment, obviously you've never been to Pride week in Toronto. Even lists it as the largest pride event in North America. I have never been able to avoid a sunburn from this 4 hour long parade.

I will agree that NYC has representatives from more countries, but I believe that Toronto provides new immigrants with a better quality of life and allows a lot more freedom for them to continue practicing their own culture. I would say the two cities are on par.

Aug. 27 2007 01:43 AM
David from Brick, NJ

My first thought would have been London. However, upon closer look, so many of its residents are there due to its pull as the historical center of colonialism.

Immigrant New Yorkers came not because of that, but due to the idea of the land of opportunity and knowing in advance, that from wherever they came, they would find people who speak their language and share their cuisine.

Remember, they were looking for the the city where multiculturalism works best, not the city where there are the highest amount of diverse people. While not even New Yorkers can claim to be color blind and accept each other, regardless of how rich or poor they are, they certainly set an example for the world.

PS--Leonard Lopate is great! This was the most enjoyable show he's had in a long time!

Aug. 26 2007 10:52 PM
Mr. Bubble from NYC

London??? BOLLOCKS!

Aug. 24 2007 04:29 PM
geo from Astoria

New York is the most multi-cultural because it has the HOTTEST women from all over the world! period. shake it new york chicas!. much love...

Aug. 24 2007 03:23 PM
Gary from New York

I was born in NY, and grew up in Australia and I now call NYC home. Additionally, I have had the good fortune to live in Sydney, and London. Also I have visited Toronto on a couple of occasions.

London, Sydney, and Toronto have all only become multi-cultural/multi-racial within the last 50 or so years. Look at each city's demographics in 1950 and you will see the difference. NYC has been a magnet for people from all over the world since its founding. The major difference is that Toronto, London, & Sydney now have first and second generation multi-racial immigrants. New York has had them for many more generations. If you think that is hyperbole.... think Ellis Island. Where is London's Ellis Island?

I work for a large US bank in midtown. In my work group of 14 people, there are:

1 Australian;
1 Chinese;
2 Dominicans;
1 Puerto Rican;
1 Romanian;
2 Italians;
1 African American;
4 Jewish; and
1 Greek.

About half of my group are first generation immigrants, a quarter are second, the rest are third, fourth or earlier generation Americans.

Another consideration is which city gets the most foreign tourists? In this list, it is NYC hands down. That adds to the color, diversity and energy of NYC.

If I had to rank these cities it would be....

1. NYC
2. Sydney
3. London
4. Toronto

Anyway all of these cities have cool things about them, so recommend visiting them all if you haven't already!


Aug. 24 2007 02:49 PM
hjs from 11211

I was a bit disappointed in the outcome, but it's ok we have enough people living here right now and with all the luxury high-rises going up around the city more are coming. one thing was said was that the city's communities are segregated. I think that's a good thing for 2 reasons. a new immigrant coming here can 'get his feet wet' before melting into 'the pot,' if he can go to a national community within the city. secondly these 'ethnic enclaves' preserve and protect these culture for others to enjoy.

Aug. 24 2007 02:20 PM from New York

I pick London

Aug. 24 2007 02:17 PM from New York

I am from Nigeria, were I worked for Nigeria Airway for 9 years, that gave the opportunity to travel extensively around the world. I am of the opinion that London, is the most derived. In New York, white and blacks live in different area, to me that did not prove that the city is derived. Derivefication and assimilation should go together. Lopate started by naming different ethnic group for Europ but he group all Africans as "blacks" that is not a sign of assimilation.

Therefore, I am voting for London.

Aug. 24 2007 02:03 PM
ronen from midtown

We were totally robbed. New York rules and all those other cities know it. The big green lady in the harbor wouldn't have it any other way than to be the most diverse city man has ever lived in.

Aug. 24 2007 01:59 PM
JP from NYC

Response to segregation in NYC: many ethnicities CHOOSE to live in neighborhoods where their cultures flourish.

Aug. 24 2007 01:59 PM
ALM from NYC


Instead of arguing over which city is the most multi-cultural, why don't the experts on this show discuss how they can learn from one another to improve diversity within their cities?

Aug. 24 2007 01:57 PM
Bob Wersan from Morningside Heights (Manhattan)

When I was married nearly 40 years ago, the bride was British (from Yorkshire); the groom was a New Yorker of Eastern European Jewish extraction; the best man was Italian-American; the maid of honor was Canadian; and the judge who presided at the ceremony was African American.

How much more multicultural can New York City get?

Bob Wersan

Aug. 24 2007 01:57 PM
Janet Fisher from Manhattan NY

Gay Pride Parade end of June
West Indian Day Parade end of Summer, Labor Day

Aug. 24 2007 01:55 PM
ALM from NYC


Instead of fighting over which city is the most multi-cultural, why don't the experts on this show try to learn from one another about how to improve diversity and equality within their own cities???

Aug. 24 2007 01:55 PM
Jason OBrien from Brooklyn

NYC is not Manhattan you can't make a comment about cultures, colors or ethnitise not being mixed in a neighborhood to neighborhood environment and only talk to what is essentially 1/5th of the city. I will give London and Sydney there but how many people from Toronto or London or Sydney come to NYC on vacation vs. how many people go to Toronto.... plus the weather in NYC is better then London and Toronto. Sydney is nice but not scabale form a population perspective.

Aug. 24 2007 01:52 PM
Pieter from Brooklyn, NY

NYC has London beat.

Get in a cab in London and you'll be talking to an older white English gentleman.

Take a cab in NYC and 99% of the time it will be driven by someone born in another country. It's ALWAYS different.

Aug. 24 2007 01:50 PM
Jennifer Hickey from Manhattan, New York

I recently moved to Queens, which I think is the most diverse borough in NYC. I like riding my bike through the many parks that are linked by street/greenways where I can see Jamaicans and South Asians playing Cricket, soccer games being played by almost every nationality, Dragan Boat races, Bocce Ball, hand ball, stick ball. Approximately 138 languages are spoken in Queens, and almost half the population is made up of immigrants.

Aug. 24 2007 01:50 PM
Dara B. from Brooklyn, NY

I live in a Caribbean neighborhood in south Brooklyn and I am a cacusian red-head and definitely stand out. I also have many queer friends in the neighborhood and everyone is so nice!

Aug. 24 2007 01:49 PM
Steve from NJ

London conquered their way into multiculturalism. Toronto was forced to have multiculturalism out of the necessity of working with Quebec. Sydney has a lot of families originally from penal colonies.

Only New York has had multiculturalism grow organically from the opportunities available in the city and people's desire to come here.

Aug. 24 2007 01:49 PM
Steve from Brooklyn

Leonard- thanks for representing without any of the negativity like London or Sydney.

That Said:

Toronto is the stand in for New York. (Ask Woody Allen).

London is as diverse as a weekend hung-over fry-up, blood sausage and all. (Really, just ask the Queen!)

Sydney? Love to check it out, but they seem to be trying a little too hard.

Aug. 24 2007 01:48 PM
tonje from new york

Born Norwegian , bread in "commonwealth" Manilla, Hongkong -lived in Sydney, London, Toronto, Zurich, Copenhagen - New York is the only place that focues on the person not the country or culture of origin.

Aug. 24 2007 01:47 PM

NYC is the multicultural. So many people who have moved to NYC from across the globe or just from elsewhere in the USA have told me proudly "NY changes you. It just changes you. You are never the same." How many places claim that they have that much of an impact on their populations.

Aug. 24 2007 01:47 PM
JP from NYC

Response to Toronto comment that you don't see people of different ethnicities socializing together. NOT TRUE! On any given night, dinner with a group of friends some of whom are from Bangladesh, Trinidad, Ecuador, Korea, Hong Kong, Russia, and Israel.

Aug. 24 2007 01:47 PM
Sudipta Bera from NY

When I first came to to NY for a job interview, the one thing that struck my mind was that it resembled my childhood city of Calcutta - a city where I grew up. NY is a city full of life, a city where you can get someone to look at any time of day or night, a city where you can feel that you are one of them.

I asked many people about this resemblance with a varity of 1st generation immigrants. They found the same resemblance with their childhood city.... no matter whether it is Calcutta or Mumbai or Dhaka or Lahore or Hong Kong or Tokyo or Barlin or Moscow. This is the characteristics of a True multicultural city. I think no other city in the world could ever remind you of another city in the world like NY. That is why I think NY rules as a True secular, multicultural city.

Aug. 24 2007 01:47 PM
Nancy from Brooklyn, NY

I am a native New Yorker. My maternal grandparents came from Hungry, my paternal grandparents Russia, my boyfriend is from Dublin, many of are friends are foreign born - Israel, Barbados, Northern Ireland, Britain, India...the list goes on. I am one of 8 million New Yorkers. You figure it out.

Aug. 24 2007 01:47 PM
Jessica Ong from New York

I am a New Yorker, but am second generation Chinese American. I have visited London and Toronto. Canada seems to be lacking African representatives. I cannot say I have not been discriminated in New York, but I feel like I stood further in London. An aunt of mine studied in Australia for college and though she liked it there, she couldn't get working papers because she wasn't a native Australian. She finally found her home in Vancouver, Canada, but she loved visiting New York for the same reason I still call it home. I just love the culural institutions and the fact that there is always something going on here. I couldn't understand that in London public transportation closed down after a certain time.

How can someone say we don't represent other nations? One just has to look at how many parades we have celebrating different nationalities.

Aug. 24 2007 01:44 PM

It's hilarious that this "who loves people from other countries the most" debate is devolving into over-the-top nationalistic bombast. The truth is, all these cities (countries) have histories of turning away immigrants in need. A little more honesty, a little less creepy boosterism, please.

Aug. 24 2007 01:44 PM

This is all nonsense. There are so many variables here that this is a non-measurable quality. It's ironic, too that a celebration of multiculturalism inevitably degenerates into one-upmanship and jingoism.

Aug. 24 2007 01:40 PM
Rob from Prospect Heights

As a college teacher in NYC, I am very aware of the diversity here. Working at Touro I teach Hassidim in Boro Park, a mixture of Italian-American, African-American, and more recent European immigrants in Bay Ridge, and somewhat similar mixture with a higher Russian and Eastern European proportion in Starrett City.

Aug. 24 2007 01:38 PM
Marvin Ciporen from Brooklyn

Leonard, It is not just that we have so many different nationalities, races and religions; but there are significant numbers of just about every group. For example the number of Liberians in NY would make up a sizable city in Liberia etc.

Also government agencies such as the Department of Youth and Community Development stress multi-cultural programming and sensitivity in the programs they support.

How many of the other cities suspend their parking regulations for as many groups as we do?

Aug. 24 2007 01:36 PM
Andral St Fleur from Brooklyn

I'm from the caribbean and my wife is hispanic. No doubt New York is the most multicultural city of the world because almost every country of the whole world has citizen living, working, raising children in New York City and we all want the best for our now city and country.

Aug. 24 2007 01:36 PM
Patrick from Astoria, NY

When I moved into my building, neighbors asked where I was from? Missouri didn't cut it as an answer. They were confounded by a couple who didn't have a hyphen in their ethnicity.

Aug. 24 2007 01:35 PM
Amy Warnock from NYC

With 40% of NYers born outside of the US, We are the multi cultural city. Sure football is great in Sydney but that doesn't make them multi-cultural. We have more than 1 china town, more than 1 little india. Each individual community is lively, has parades and many many visitors.

Aug. 24 2007 01:34 PM
Alaric from Brooklyn

Whaddahuguys talkin' about!! NYC is the most diverse and integrated city in the world. In Brooklyn, which rocks by the way, Jews and Muslims live here blocks away from 1 another IN PEACE..see Midwood/Kensington/Flatbush. Hispanics live on the same block as whites, blacks, arabs, persians, asians, south asians. The only group we MAY not have is the indigenous Australians.

Aug. 24 2007 01:30 PM
Steve from Brooklyn

I'm Here I'm Queer I'm a New Yorker

Is anyone going to talk about the the diverse GLBT community in New York compared to the other cities?

I feel so fortunate to be a gay New Yorker. The great thing is no one cares.


Aug. 24 2007 01:29 PM
Daniel Soyer from Kensington, Brooklyn

New York is absolutely the most diverse city in the world because there is virtually no true "native" or "old stock" or "majority" or "mainstream" or whatever you want to call it population. Even the New Yorkers who were born here and whose families have been here for two or three generations are largely made up of minority ethnic groups: Jews, Italians, Puerto Ricans, African Americans, etc.

On my block are many recent Ukrainian and Polish immigrants, Christian Egyptians (two families), Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, African AMericans, black West Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, South Asian West Indians, Russian Jews, ultra-orthodox Jews (probably the most "American" in terms of nativity, but very far outside of the American cultural mainstream), modern liberal Jews, Haitians, etc., etc.

The restaurants represent the ethnic groups in the neighborhood -- no Japanese or French, but West Indian, Russian, kosher or various sorts, Mexican, Haitian, Pakistani, etc.

Aug. 24 2007 01:28 PM
francisco from portland, or

New York is the cultural capital of the world. It is the proving ground for the fine popular art in the world. As Frank said, If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. From jazz, to performance, african dance, bossanova, salsa, New York is a world center and breeding ground. Nuff said.

Aug. 24 2007 01:27 PM
CH from NYC

In adition to the "mainstream" ethnic groups, Staten Island is home to a large Liberian community and is home to Sri Lankan Buddhist monks as well.

Aug. 24 2007 01:25 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson, NY

I am an immigrant from the Middle East and have lived in New York City and suburbs
the greater part of my life. Yes, New York is a culturally diverse city.
However, I’ve notice d a change since 911 Islamophobia is on the rise
and tolerance for difference is stretched. When visiting London I, as Moslem, felt that Moslems where not simply regulated to the usual jobs: shop keepers, cab drivers but rather more responsible positions both in private and public spheres. New York on the other hand seems to have a ways to go before we see members of all cultural groups in positions of authority.

Aug. 24 2007 01:24 PM
Fred from Brooklyn

How multi-cultural is NY?!? Even my dog is an immigrant! He came over from Kosovo in 2000 and has been a proud New Yorker ever since.

Aug. 24 2007 01:22 PM
Thomas Caffrey from Manhattan

With the largest sybway system in the world, NYC provides the best MIX of its diverse cultures: each station opens up onto a specific ethnic people, while riding the system puts all the members of these neighbor- hoods TOGTHER -- on the subway, and into the different neighborhoods.

Aug. 24 2007 01:22 PM
Kerry Ann King from Manhattan

The beauty of multiculturalism in New York is that it revloves around interaction and cultural exchange. My husband is a Canadian of Welsh and Norwegian extraction. I am a native New Yorker who is Black, Native American, Italian, English and Jewish. My nanny is from Trinidad of Indian extraction. My two blond blue eyed sons eat curry and dance to soca music. My West Indian nanny will only buy her italian sausage at one store. Her husband, who is also Indian, has his favorite place to buy pastrami. I've been to London and Toronto and I don't think they have our level of ethnic integration.

Aug. 24 2007 01:20 PM
Ana from bronx

As an ecuadorian immigrant, the multiculturalism of New York City was one of the main reasons why I chose to live here and that is represented not only in the number of nationalities represented in any particular block,but also in the job opportunities and the type of businesses, organizations, etc that thrive here. As the home to the United Nations, New York City is a great example of the benefits of multiculturalism and the natural progression that many cities, like London, Sydney and Toronto are undergoing as, thankfully, our societies become more progressive and tolerant. That doensn't mean that it's all perfect of course, but I can say that there's no other place that I feel more comfortable and at home in than NYC.

Aug. 24 2007 01:19 PM
Noni Hollmann from Upper West Side

What other city has as many nationalities represented in it's restaurants - Zagat's list has about 50 national and regional cuisines (excluding any that are American) with restaurants in New York City.

Aug. 24 2007 01:18 PM
jim from brooklyn

OK- Can we just eliminate Sydney based on that song? Toronto? C'mon. The most common comment people have after visitin Toronto is "It's such a clean city"- boring.

That leaves London and New York.

Aug. 24 2007 01:18 PM
Dawn from New York City

Although many don't appreciate it, the presence of the United Nations makes NYC far more multi-cultural than most other cities. The organization -- with all it's agencies, funds and programmes -- which have HQs here bring tens of thousands of individuals from around the globe to live and work. They are mandated to hire a geographically balanced staff from 192 countries so it's a broad array of representation.

Aug. 24 2007 01:16 PM
Tova from currently in Texas

My father, a native Nebraskan and a Catholic priest at Holy Cross Church on 42nd street, and my mother, a Jewish woman from Brooklyn--would never had met at the Monk's Pub in Manhattan, and later married, had it not been for the incredible diversity of New York City!!!

Aug. 24 2007 01:16 PM
Wild Bird

My landlady is Italian, there is an amazing turkish restaurant less than a block away. What's more it would impossible to not encounter a dozen cultures within the course of one regular day.

I would also say that just being American makes NY multicultural. Not only do first generations come here but many Americans are made up of a unique mix of nationalities and cultures and keep the traditions of all of them. I myself am American via Texas (a whole 'nother country in itself) who descended from Mexicans, Irish and Germans. Which means I make homemade tamales AND liver dumplings...but not at the same time.

Aug. 24 2007 01:15 PM

As far as I know, NY is the region of the world with the largest quantity of different languages being spoken.
Consider NY's museums, the diversity of people living in the city, there is no competition!
If it helps, I'm a Mexican who lived in NY for two years and I'm totally supporting you.

Aug. 24 2007 01:15 PM
Margaret from Brooklyn

I think all the cities are well-matched in terms of the immigration they all have NOW. But NYC definitely has the longest history of immigration and integration. So, not only do we have lots of multi-cultural immigrants and visitors, most "non-multiculti" New Yorkers can also trace their backgrounds to other countries, a few generations ago. So understanding abounds!

Aug. 24 2007 01:14 PM
Phelan from Manhattan

We ARE the melting pot of the world!

Aug. 24 2007 01:14 PM
Marian from Manhattan

The school where I work, FDR HS, Brooklyn shows that NYC is the most successful multicultural city in the world. We have students from dozens of countries and regions who study and play together with great friendship and harmony. My students are immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Burma, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Iraz, Palestine, Israel, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Poland, Italy, Azerbaijan, Haiti, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Egypt, Algeria and more!

Aug. 24 2007 01:14 PM
ckits from new york

I teach at CUNY and no ethnicity, nationality, or race dominates my student population. East African Muslims, Syrian Jews, Haitians, Eastern European refugees and post-Soviet Russians, Laotians-- they're all in a single class. In my home neighborhood of the East Village, I can eat foods from over 50 cuisines within a 10-block radius. I myself am a Chinese-American from Brazil.

Aug. 24 2007 01:12 PM
Jerry Monaco from Astoria, Queens, NY

Currently I am living in Astoria, Queens, just across the East River from Manhattan. It is a good neighborhood, with plenty of all night cafes and diners. I think you would find the building I live in fascinating. It is only five floors with 8 apartments per floor, but in this building I have heard at least 9 languages, Farsi, some form of Hindi, Greek, Chinese (I believe Cantonese), Croatian, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Polish, and of course English.

I am not sure that Queens, NYC is "the best" because it is not a matter of "rating" for me. The fact is all "international" cities are late products of "empire". From ancient Rome to London to NYC these cities came into existence as "world" nodal points of power and commerce.

Aug. 24 2007 01:12 PM
Thomas Caffrey from Manhattan

New York City has the widest and most dense subway system of the 4 cities in competition, with each station blossoming out onto a different ethnic neighborhood.

Thus, other cities have many cultures, but NYC has the best way of MIXING them: its subways!

Aug. 24 2007 01:12 PM
Miss from Midtown

London may be the best in Europe, but New York City's the best in the world!

Aug. 24 2007 01:09 PM
Marsha from New York City

More Love, less judgement and hate for people of DIFFERENCE.

Center for immigration and civil and human rights

Aug. 24 2007 01:09 PM
am from Brooklyn

I judge how multi-cultural a city is by whether people visting the city from other places turn heads or elicit any reaction from those living in the city... So among the 4 cities mentioned I would say New York and London are the most-multicultural - I would also add Hong Kong to the list.

Aug. 24 2007 01:07 PM
Sheri Kern from Upper West Side

(1_ Our business has less than 75 employees but we count more than 15 ethnic, religious, or nationality groups. (2) This city is the only place you can come, whether from small town USA or any other country, and find some kind of job (doing something legal) to get by. Maybe your name is not in lights, but you can eat, if you are flexible.

Aug. 24 2007 01:06 PM
Maria Barrera from Brooklyn, NY

I have a son, nine-months old. While travelling, shopping and going for appointments he has been addressed in at least fifteen different languages.

A woman from Russia sang a Russian lullaby for him. A Korean man showed him his newspaper written in Korean characters. A Mexican old lady bless him in Spanish.

All of these an many other encounters were random and brief. Where, but in New York, would you find such variety - and kindness?

Aug. 24 2007 12:53 PM
Rose from Astoria

I have lived in NYC for the last four years...and I lived in London for just under one year. Though London is diverse, the different groups are completely seperated into the different areas of the city. In New York, everywhere I've lived there are respresentatives from lots of different ethnic groups all living togethor in the same community. I know this has been stated before...but I feel the need to reiterate. THis is so important, and so wonderful. AND, where else (and not London, let me assure you) can you eat authentic Ethiopian, Senegalese, South African, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Jamaican, Mexican, Brazilian, Greek, Italian, British, American, Spanish, Lebanese, Israeli, or countless other types of food on any given day!!! AND hear the languages from all of these countries/places and more!

Aug. 24 2007 12:49 PM
stephanie from east village

never mind all the other boroughs, just here in the east village i never hear less than 4 languages when i step out of my door. i can see ukranians, polish, pakastani, indian and israeli just out my window. while other cities might also have many nationalities, nowhere else are people as integrated, on each block, throughout the city.

Aug. 24 2007 12:48 PM
Emily from New York, NY

I've lived in several large cities around the U.S. (Boston, DC, Chicago) and traveled extensively to cities abroad. NYC is the only city where there is not only a diverse, multilingual population, but also where those people mix. Housing, neighborhoods, and transportation put all of us in contact with one another rather than isolating certain cultures within their repsective parts of the city.

Aug. 24 2007 12:34 PM
chestine from NY

thank you, Ravish. I barely recognize the NY I have lived in for so long

Aug. 24 2007 12:24 PM
Judith Kozloff from New York/London

As a Brit who lives in both cities I would say it is hard to draw a comparison.
Central London is much more multinational than Manhattan. Many young foreigners come to London to work/learn English and are to be found in much greater density than in New York.
However the outer boroughs of New York win with many more established communities with their own infrastructures.
England is not very welcoming to diversity and the stress is on fitting in, especially if you intend to be a permanent resident.So I would have to say the New York welcomes and caters to other nationalities better than London.

Aug. 24 2007 11:34 AM
Dave Thom

I grew up in Toronto, went to grad school in London and have lived in New York since 2000, so I have given the topic some thought. New York makes much of being an immigrant city, but the city is deeply self-segregated and historic white-black-hispanic issues overwhelm all other ethnicities and cultures. London is certainly globally multicultural though it has its own large blocs of minorities who are now majorities in many areas. Toronto is simply and quietly more multicultural than either, with people from all over the world living together in a more interesting mosaic than anywhere else. Try flying into Toronto's airport and scanning the faces at the international arrivals area, or for that matter ride the subway, shop in the malls, watch the local newscasts or take part in any other aspect of normal life. Multiculturalism is evident everywhere. For that reason, Toronto wins.

Aug. 24 2007 10:09 AM
John Peplow from Manhattan / Harlem

I notice all four cities in the running are from English speaking countries. Is that a reflection of the contest's sponsor, BBC, or is it more a comment on the nature of the English language, or should I say the English languages? If it is a reflection of the BBC sponsorship, perhaps BBC should be more broad in their thinking. If it is a comment on the Englishes, perhaps that in itself would make an interesting show.

Aug. 24 2007 09:49 AM
Joe from NJ

I love the way everyone rails against immigration, and complains that no one speaks english, then boasts when it's convenient about the 600 languages spoken from one end of the hallway to the other. Hot dogs are apple pie are German by the way. And Chevrolet was a French race car driver. Go freedom fries! No wonder this country is so fat.

Aug. 24 2007 08:54 AM
Joe from NJ

New York is the best because I live here. If I lived in London, that would be the best. When I was a high school student in New Jersey, my shcool was the best because we beat Whippany in a football game.

Aug. 24 2007 08:48 AM
Jax from Newark, NJ

What is the purpose of this contest?

If you are defining a "multicultural city" by the shallow criteria of a place with lots of ethnic minorities and international restaurants, then yes, New York would be considered a great city. However, if you take a hard look at how well minorities are treated, and their quality of life in a city, then New York fails miserably.

Minority communities, such as the South Bronx, and Harlem, are among the poorest congressional districts in the country. The city property rate continues to grow as minority males have a 50% unemployment rate (same minority rate as during the Great Depression). As a result, blacks are fleeing NYC at the highest rate since the draft riots of the Civil War.

Health in minority communities in NYC is also poor. Lack of health insurance (linked to the lack of full time employment), aging substandard housing, and poor access to groceries have led to high rates of obesity, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses in these communities. In fact, life expectancy for minorities in the inner city is similar to Russia and parts of Africa.

So enjoy your international cuisine.


Aug. 24 2007 07:28 AM
Samuel B from UES, Manhattan

Heres support for your arguemnet from a different angle. Im a 34 year old, single professional. In the last 3 years that i hvae lived in NYC, I have dated girls from more than 17 countries and only 2 Americans. And i have no preferance for any one nationality or race, just that that seems to be the general mix of the female population here...

Anyway, its ironic that in other countries, all Americans are referred to as Yanks or Yankees, when in reality, New York is nothing like the rest of America and hardly representative of the rest of the US. New York culture is a mix of every other culture in the world, its population a mix of people from every other part of the world, and draws its energy from every nook and corner of the world.. It truly is the face of the United Nations

Aug. 23 2007 11:43 PM
Yiorgos from Astoria

Multicultural = United Nations = New York

Immigration = Statue of Liberty = New York

New York has been multicutural its whole life.

The Gateway to America.
America is the Melting Pot.

New York is the 1st Global Village.

and the greatest place in the world.

Aug. 23 2007 04:47 PM
Susan Zugaib from 17Street & 5th Ave Brooklyn

I was born into the Norwegian community of Brooklyn. By the early 80's, most of the Norwegian delicatessans, bakeries and homes had morphed into a Chinese community--but the oddest element was when a restaurant on 8th Avenue was sold to a Chinese family and they kept one of the Norwegian waitress/cooks, and had a listing of Norwegian dishes (oy!) among the Chinese specialties!

Aug. 23 2007 01:48 PM
Josh from Terrytown

Just look at the seal of the City of New York.

Aug. 23 2007 01:47 PM
Marcio Kelmanson from Brooklyn, NY

I'm a Brazilian citizen, who lived in London for 6 years, and in NY for 2 now. Obviously both places are incredibly diverse:

Difference 1:
Most of the immigrants in London are from ex-colonies. In New York they are from everywhere. Just go down the 7 train in Queens, you'll pass by microcosms of koreans, chinese, greek, brazilian, peruvian, argentinean, thai, indian, caribbean, mexican, the list goes on,

Difference 2: The native food cooked by immigrants in New York is better than in London!

Aug. 23 2007 12:53 PM
Karen S Kaplan from Bronx since 2001

On a business trip to Singapore in 1997, I was struck by the panoply of Asians and started thinking about which city is the most multi-cultural. My final conclusion was NYC because EVERY part of the world lives here. The distinction is that London, Toronto, and Sydney, do not have Central and South Americans the way we do in addition to every other continent.
When I lived in Pelham Parkway, The Bronx, it was the ONLY NYC neighborhood that had every continent represented since it is so rare to find East Asians living with Africans and Afro-Caribbeans. In my apt bldg, we had Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Vietnamese, Dominicans, Albanians, Jamaicans, Palestinians, and the whole range of children of Americans.
Now I live in Norwood, and notice the Bangladeshis, West Africans, and various Eastern Europeans displacing the Hispanics.
Hopefully, the food will catch up soon. These family neighborhoods have great food shopping, but not restaurants.

Aug. 23 2007 12:27 PM
kathy from NJ

To graphically demonstrate the extent to which New York has changed, my previous comment of "Where else can you find such a hodge podge of skewered meats that taste like bus fumes, or book stores and coffee houses teeming with "Islamic Extremists" whom we can never catch even though there's cameras everywhere" - was edited out. Guess someone mistook sarcasm for racism.

Aug. 23 2007 11:26 AM
david marshall from NYC

hmmm. please. London has a thousand years of history behind it, with a dizzying array of cultures and languages that have made the city what it is today: the global capital in terms of culture commerce and music. nevertheless, after spending ten years there, and now in NYC, there is a sense of wonderment you get in a 'new-ish' city like NY you don't find in the grand old towns of europe.

Aug. 23 2007 08:04 AM
peter from switzerland

i'd like to second brian hagan's sentiment (comment number 5)!

Aug. 23 2007 04:02 AM
IC from New York

I've been to London, Toronto, Sydney and lived in more....but New York is truly the only city where one cannot walk further than a block before hearing more than 3 languages on any given day, and at least 4-5 different ethic eateries & shops within a block or so. I'm from Hawaii, the melting pot, and live part time in Montreal but NYC is truly the most multi-ethinic place in the world that does not impose any culture or language on anyone.
Yeah for our wonderful city!

Aug. 23 2007 02:50 AM
John G- from Brooklyn, Ditmas Park.

Please see Comment#92
Please accept my apologies.
I left out the vibrant Muslim people who live here in Ditmas Park where you see men in white robes and women in hejab and some who wear all black robes and veils.
Again what makes Ditmas Park the most diverse neighborhood in America is that there are so many people of different ethnic backgrounds.
I’m sure I left others out of this list and I hope I haven’t used inappropriate descriptions but that shows how diverse this neighborhood is.
We are not separate groups but people who live, work, shop and whose children play together.

Aug. 22 2007 10:37 PM
John G- from Brooklyn, Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park or "Victorian Flatbush" between Flatbush and Coney Island Ave. below (South of) Prospect Park is by the US Census the most diverse neighborhood in America. Not just NYC but all of America.
Where else can you find secular Jews, Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, Caribbean Blacks and African Americans, Hispanics and White families and guys like me let alone the straight and gay people of all colors who live here in such equal proportions? We define “diverse”.
I lived on Cornelia St., one tiny block in the West Village, for 25 years an old Italian immigrant area and the home to a vibrant gay and lesbian community but that is now totally yuppified.
This neighborhood is incredible in its richness.
Let any other city in the world show us a neighborhood like this one.

Aug. 22 2007 10:19 PM
Ravish Momin from Brooklyn, NY

So far not many posts have delved into which city has the most vibrant musical and cultural life. Ofcourse, NYC used to be greatest, but in recent years, with all the gentrification and homegenization of musical and artistic tastes, all the creative music venues that were vital in nousrishing the artistic soul of the city are dying off.

200+ nationalities may be living side by side, yet all going home to watch "American Idol" doesn't necessarily make for a grea integrated community or sustain a thriving night life where people actually go out to see new music, dance, theater and art.

I'm a musician, and I know first-hand, seeing dwindling audiences at concerts, that the new New Yorkers aren't interested in checking out
those new artistic creations, but prefer to stick with the tried/true, and what the mass media feeds them, just like in any other
city. So what makes NYC so great anymore?!

Until the true artistic life of the city is revitalized, all this talk of umtpeen restuarants, languages and nationalities per block doens't ad up to a whole lot more than what those other cities have to offer.

Aug. 22 2007 06:09 PM
Myra from Washington Heights

As a tour guide in NYC, my workplace is the five boroughs, and I can tell you that just about every nationality is represented somewhere within a subway ride or easy bus connection. I've been following the BBC story about the Ridley Road market in London and what inspired me to respond to Leonard's chalolenge is that the BBC report focused on just that neighborhood and just that market.

With relatively cheap public transport we can get just about anywhere in NYC and experience the various nationalities that call NYC home.

What worries me, however, is the overdevelopment in many neighborhoods, especially Harlem and the Lower East Side, where the traditions and scale are being ruined by glass covered high rises and commercial rents that are forcing out small businesses and bringing in banks and drug stores. We're losing the intimacy, history, traditions and character that made those neighborhoods unique and accessible. I just hope this type of develoopment doesn't overwhelm so many of the other great neighborhoods of the city.

Fortunately, in Washington Heights, where I moved two years ago from the Upper West Side, family-owned businesses seem to thrive, and I can get excellent Dominican, Russian, Salvadoran, Greek, Italian, Ecuadorean, Peruvian, and Mexican dishes or ingredients very close to home. And I don't have to go far to buy other ingredients from around the world...

Aug. 22 2007 04:38 PM
Perry from Queens, New York

As a born and raised New Yorker, and still living in New York City, I can safely say New York is not a multicultural city. It never was and never will be. It is the most ethnically diverse city in the world but that does not make it multicultural. If you subtract the languages, ethnic foods, religions, and family values, then what positive everyday lifestyles and mannerisms did New Yorkers get from all these ethnic people? Not much. The reality is real New Yorkers from all different ethnic backgrounds live more or less the same lifestyle. Real New Yorkers are people who are educated, have decent jobs (middle-income), speak English at home and at work as the common language, dress more or less the same way, and don’t engage in criminal acts. Any positive cultural traits from any country will eventually be absorbed into their common lifestyles. Yes there are differences but they are minor compared to what New Yorkers practice everyday. I just could not find any positive lifestyle borrowed from any “outside” culture. I did find racism, bigotry (against gender, income class, intellectual class, ethic background, and religion), nationalism of ethic backgrounds, going against integration from most ethic and religious groups, and promotion of hatred towards decent mainstream lifestyles. I would not call that positive attributes of multiculturalism.

Aug. 22 2007 02:20 PM
Connie Colvin from Jackson Heights, Queens, NY

New York has to be the most multicultural city in the world. Look at my neighborhood, we have all kinds of spanish speaking people, restaurants, and also, the Little India section, 74th street. There are all kinds of people in Northwestern Queens, and I read there are 100 languages represented here. New York has so many people from all over, it just has to be the most multicultural city anywhere. It is amazing that there aren't as many ethnic tensions here as I have seen in other sections. The symbol for Queens is the Unisphere, and it is very apt.

Aug. 22 2007 01:49 PM
Gary Marder from NYC

Slam dunk-
Look at the parades thought the city almost every weekend of the summer and though out the rest of the year. Almost every culture and it seems most nations are represented.

Aug. 22 2007 01:48 PM
RedBean from Los Angeles

You guys should get out more often. There's this city on the West Coast that has a bit of diversity too.

Aug. 22 2007 01:20 PM
Trevor from LIC

Is that really Ginger Baker?

Aug. 22 2007 12:53 PM
Carla from Brooklyn

As a world traveler, New York City is the only place in the world where people don't automatically ask me "Where are you from?" due to my tan skin.

Aug. 22 2007 12:53 PM
Amy from London (via Brooklyn, NY)

New York City wins hands down, at least over London in my experiences. I am a current graduate student living in London but am a native New Yorker (although I was born in Hong Kong). In terms of diversity, I think NYC and London are quite similar in the percentages of nationalities and the level of immigrants residing in the cities. But in respect to tolerance and acceptance of diversity and multiculturalism, London fails miserably. In my 18 years in New York, I have never experienced any types of discrimination or racial slurs. But in my past year in London I have encountered not only comments but also witnessed a high level of discrimination against others as well. I think London focuses its multicultural efforts in protecting minority groups and helping them retain their distinctive identities, but in doing so it harbors animosity between groups and stymies acceptance. On the other hand, in New York individuals retain their cultural or racial identities but also share in the eclectic fusion of the city and pride themselves in being New Yorkers.

Aug. 22 2007 12:04 PM
ginger baker from greenwich village

enough already with all the cheerleading for a city nowhere near #1! New York has lost its soul completely by becoming both the playground of yuppies and lawyers who are passing through on their way to Connecticut, and the wasteland for the vulgar herds who are loud, obnoxious, and consume junk. No bookstores, no cafes, no public space, no culture...just surveiellance, CVS, and constant traffic!

Aug. 22 2007 12:00 PM
Jeffrey from Manhattan

You ought to begin this debate by looking at the immigrant experience in the US versus that of other countries. Eventually, in the rush to "make it", and usually in a matter of one generation, US immigrants become assimilated, uni-lingual and ignorant of the their native land. The poor quality of education and one-dimensionality of the American media expedites the process of joining the great cultural melting pot.

Canada, which has several cities that are as multi-cultural as New York (immigrants to Montreal learn two official languages), is an open-minded nation with a generous "safety-net" of government social services, education and healthcare. Immigrants more quickly become part of the massive economic middle-class, which is not the same as fitting into a cultural middle-class.

Aug. 22 2007 11:27 AM
dc from NYC

WHO CARES...........

Aug. 22 2007 09:27 AM
francyne from Pelham Bay Park

1. Italian, German, Greek, Latino, and Americans black and white are the predominant ethnicities. However, there are also a couple of Scots, a Polish family, some Africans, a Bosnian Muslim, and a Chinese couple. I walk my dog at least twice and day, so I have lots of opportunities to strike up conversations with people.

2. Have lived here only a year, so I haven't really noticed change. People have told me that the area used to be "more Italian" and indeed there are two Italian men's social clubs two blocks from my house.

3. In a ten block radius, there are several Italian restaurants in the $80-90 for two with wine price range, Chinese take-aways, pizza, of course, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, and two Irish pubs featuring American nosh like burgers, wraps, soups, etc. There are several delis...Greek and Italian..and one featuring Bulgarian cheeses. Two real Italian, the other owned by Hungarians.

4. Haven't been to Toronto or Sydney, but have visited London several times. I'd have to say it seems pretty much on a par with NYC.

Aug. 22 2007 08:40 AM
Terry King from Manhattan

Sorry, but this is just silly. Isn't there something more important and interesting to talk about than this piece of idiocy? What does it matter what some public survey decides? How many people voting have lived in all the listed cities in order to be able to have an informed opinion? Why are all the listed cities English-speaking? What is the result of this supposed to show? Nonsense.

Aug. 22 2007 08:06 AM
John Johnson from Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC


I have spent half of my 57 years in 12 countries of the world -- and have lived in London and Tokyo for many years. And have visited Sydney and Toronto. The latter 2 are diverse -- but with a less-established diversity (same applies to London). I am half Jewish-Arab and Polish-American.

15 ethnicities on my block (white, black, Hispanic, Asian - East and South). Neighborhood has become "gentrified" but remains diverse. 20 different cuisines within 5 block radius.

In NYC, my partner is native Japanese. My ex-partner is native Chinese. My doctor is Filipino. My dentist is Indian. My periodondist is Chinese. My super is Mexican. The handymen are Albanian. The plumber is Bosnian. My best friends are Chinese-Americans from Brooklyn who are married to/partnered with Italians and Swedes, a native Thai from Texas, and native French, Korean, Surinamese, Jamaican, Korean-Jewish from Israel, a Japanese American-NYC Jewish couple, a Hawaiian-WASP couple, et al. We eat food and enjoy culture from all of these countries.

Aug. 22 2007 01:22 AM
David from Nassau County

I'd like to add an anecdote to what "World Traveller" posted.

A friend of my brother is of Korean-Puerto Rican descent. When she traveled outside of NYC people would stare, trying to guess her race. In NYC, she said people would look and shrug. She imagined that, unable to place her immediately, they'd think, "Oh something", and go about their business.

She loved New York.

Aug. 21 2007 10:48 PM
Marjorie Strom from Kibbutz Samar, Israel

If Bergen County, NJ, counts (it is "greater NY")... We spent last year in Bergen County. In my son's preschool class, 22 children spoke 12 different languages among them. Only 3 children spoke only English at home, one of whom came from a single-sex, multi-racial family.
When my son was getting dressed with his Asian Indian friend, the other boy looked at him and said "you're yellow." My son looked at himself, agreed, and said to the other boy, "you're brown." He agreed, and they ran out to play together. I can't think of a better example of understanding and accepting the diversity among us!

Aug. 21 2007 10:42 PM
Joe Caffrey from Staten Island

Right from the beging New York Ne New Amsterdam was a multicultural city. I believe that in 1642, Johanness Mikalous (spell?) wrote in is diary that there were 17 different languages being spoken on the street of the colony.

In my own experience I recall that shortly after I went to Hunter college I showed my year book to a friend from Iowa. On a certain page there was a picture of people rushing to class. He asked me if it was halloween when the picture was taken. I looked at the photo and there in the shot was a man in african garb and a group Monks in their safron robes walking through the hallway.
What I took for granted stood out to my friend. NYC is the world's city

Aug. 21 2007 08:05 PM
Leslie from Upper West Side

I can confirm as a college professor at a CUNY community college that New York City is the most multicultural. In fact, I purchased a Rand McNally World Book of Facts to find information about the countries in which some of my students were born -- Chad, for one. Other birthplaces include Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Paraguay, Ecuador, Guatamala, Mexico, Guyana, Ghana, Russia, including Uzbekistan, all parts of Yugoslavia, Romania, Poland, Greece, Egypt, Israel, much of the West Indies, China, Japan, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bengladesh, Korea, Greece, Columbia. I know I've left out even more, not to mention Puerto Rico (I know it's a commonwealth of U.S.) and the Dominican Republic.

Yes, I agree about what this city will become if housing is not made more affordable and all else in this town that has gotten outrageously expensive. I moved in over 30 years ago, and if I had to do it now on what I had then, I'd be commuting from upstate New York.

As far as restaurants within a 10-block radius -- French, Italian, Cuban Chinese, Chinese, Turkish, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Jewish Deli(?), What culture is corn beef and pastrami? Greek as in diner. And a neighborhood that includes Zabars has salmon from Nova Scotia, Scandinavia, etc and foods from all over the globe.

Aug. 21 2007 07:44 PM
Erin Botz from Keyport, New Jersey

I've never been to Sydney, but I have been to NYC, Toronto, and London. New York wins hands down! I've never heard so many languages in any other place. When we first moved to New Jersey, my husband had the misfortune of getting lost while driving through Queens and Manhattan (no map!). He had to stop four times along the way and ask for directions. Each time he was in a different ethnic or religious community. It was quite an adventure! NYC has immigration history like no other.

All that said, I think Toronto is a good role model for a multicultural city and London is just lovely! But - my vote still goes for New York!!!!!!!

Aug. 21 2007 06:57 PM
Kees from Cold Spring, NY

Time and again one hears New Yorkers say "This is the best city in the world," and each time I can only respond with "Excuse Me???" Even if it is the most multi-cultural city in the world, which may well be the case, then what about its status in terms of education system, spread of wealth, average happiness, upkeep of infrastructure, maintenance of buildings, amount of crime, level of corruption, and so on? Despite undeniable charm, NYC is not the best city in the world by any stretch of the imagination.

Aug. 21 2007 06:56 PM
Sandy from east village

Everyday I walk two miles. I love it as I feel I am visiting many countries on my walk. Take 14th St. for example. The world is represented. From Gucci to tattoos. From pushcarts to the Green Market. What a great place to live. Incidently, I was a travel agent for many years and had the opportunity to travel all over the world. No place, no where is like NYC!!!

Aug. 21 2007 06:17 PM
Don Flett from Topms River, NJ

The decision to locate and retain the United Nations headquarters in NYC supports the notion that the world recognizes New York City as the most international of cities.

Aug. 21 2007 06:09 PM
Arline from Brooklyn

When I grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn in the late 60's, myself, my friends, my entire neighborhood was only comprised of white people of Irish or Italian descent. And between those two ethnicities there was much division. Today, the park and playgrounds are filled with children whose parents hail from Asia, Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and the Ukraine, all of whom happily co-exist.

Aug. 21 2007 05:37 PM
Valerie from Jackson Hts., Queens

Queens is the most diverse county in the U.S., according to census data, and is home to people of more than 150 nationalities. I have, just this week, had pan de bono from the colombian bakery around the corner for breakfast, had dinner at a thai food on roosevelt ave at "Rice Ave", took a beginner's salsa class a few blocks from home, snacked at
the indian bakery on 74th street, and
bought a sari to make curtains for my
bay windows. Where can you step outside your door and walk to all of that and still be a 10-min subway ride to manhattan, one of the most famous cities in the world?

Aug. 21 2007 05:12 PM
c. george from Yantai China (yeah we listen to NPR!)

GET a GRIP! Shanghai, Hong Kong, even Beijing I wonder about Dubai soon

I visited NYC last winter, white bread! Went to the tiny plastic China town melted in only a block into italy and...

Aug. 21 2007 04:59 PM
Ellen from Long Island

Cuisine: Mexican, Kosher, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Continental, American, Irish, Greek, Spanish;

One local ATM in Hebrew, Russian, French, Spanish then English.

Two synagogues, one Catholic church, a number of Protestant churches. My parish church has mostly 1st and 2nd generation Irish and Italians with a good number of Filipinos, Haitians, Africans.

I was recently at a Mets game (they WON!) with a bunch of English men sitting in front of me; three lesbian girls discussing the game with them and three very young excited Jamaican boys behind me. On the 7 coming home, there were veiled women, sari-ed woman, capri pants women, turbaned men, dreadlocked men and lots of different languages being spoken. In other words, an average trip on the 7.

London's a beautiful city but I was amazed at some of the racial/ethnic insults I heard being casually used.

I heart NY.

Aug. 21 2007 04:25 PM
Kim from Brooklyn

I went for a run around Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens last weekend. I didn't thing anything of the Orthodox Jewish couples and families walking around or the Muslim woman with her head and body covered. It was only when I passed a Tibetan monk that it occurred to me what a wonderfully diverse city this is!

Aug. 21 2007 04:22 PM
Mike Khiabani from New york

There are more parades from different countries in NYC than any other city.
We have no problem with people flying their flag next to an American Flag indicating their country of origin.
You can live in many part of this city and not speak a work of English for all your life.

Aug. 21 2007 04:12 PM
Rob Weisberg from Hoboken, NJ

Q: Why are the "competitors" all Anglophone cities? Is that because we're omitting diverse non-Anglophone cities like Montreal or Marseille - or are English-speaking countries for some reason more likely to have more diversity?

Aug. 21 2007 04:03 PM
Almond Peir Hillerman from New York, New York

London's "multiculturalism" originates from integration of former English colonies, so they share the same underlying culture.

There are very few african and spanish influences in Australia.

Toronto is a wonderfully diverse city on par with New York, only orders of magnitudes smaller.

People come to New York not because they have to, not because their former colonial oppressors have seen the light, but because they want to.


Aug. 21 2007 03:59 PM
risa from staten island

In my neighborhood there is a mosque, several synagogues, several catholic churches, and several protestant churches - all nearly within eyesight of each other.

Aug. 21 2007 03:50 PM
Anthony from Here

Because Wikipedia says so.

Aug. 21 2007 01:44 PM
Jay Wolfe

I agree on what many people here conspire of the meaning of diversity. NYC's most diverse demography and culture mean nothing when we think of how many diverse people actually live (within) and enjoy the harmonized way of multiplicity.

At some point, as we witnessed through 9/11, the city is only manifest what America can do the best: ethnic profiling and to top it all, we just live on the police state. I've had this ambiguous feeling of living this city when I heard claims that NYC is a totally different place from other major cities in the US. As a member of a minority group, however, I have felt that it's not always truth. It's so much like many people believe that racial conflicts has been eased off significantly in this country.

So I believe the question we should ask is "How do we think about/look at the multiplicity in this city?" only if we can count a few dishes and come up with jokes about some particular ethnic groups. I doubt that this is the true meaning of diversity.

Aug. 21 2007 01:20 PM
RD from Battery Park

While unsavory, the wide variety of ethnic escort services advertised in numerous NYC newspapers can be interpreted as indicator of NYC's multicultural greatness.

Aug. 21 2007 12:43 PM
eric fluger from jersey city

Just FYI: IIRC, Queens County is currently the county in the US with the most languages spoken. However, that's a fairly recent development. That distincion was formerly held by Hudson County, NJ, which is still pretty high on the list.

Aug. 21 2007 12:28 PM
Fairechylde from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

New York is a city of ghettos. I'm unsure what the term multicultural means as used here. It is ripely appearrant to me that people from all over the world come to New York and America and within a very short time assimiliate into the greater, blander culture. I once lived in London. And although I feel like the colors of the faces on the streets of New York are more varied, in London foreign residents seem to maintain closer ties to their national identity and culture, immeidately visible in their clothing. (this was of particular interest after it was discovered the 7/7 bombers were "home-grown"). So which would be considered more "multicultural"? The woman in full-on African head-dress you encounter turning a street corner, or the Muslim boy with iPod and wearing Sean Jean denim?

Aug. 21 2007 11:09 AM
Ben from Brooklyn

I think it's funny that a competition like this is happening right now, with a large percentage of New York's ethnic diversity being forced out of the city due to terribly inflated housing costs and Bloomberg's attempts to remodel New York. Look anywhere in the city, and you'll see the effects of the uber-gentrification that has swept our great city: Coney Island's corporate, Red Hook's getting the second largest Ikea in the WORLD, and the Lower East Side is now an interactive Sims game on

If you want to see New York's cultural diversity, follow it to the Poconos and Florida.

Aug. 21 2007 11:07 AM
Chuck Newman from nj

I wish we were doing this on "What's The Greenest City?"

Aug. 21 2007 10:21 AM
Trevor from LIC

Thank you Jose.

Its clear "multiculturalism" is a class issue. The yuppies in Park Slope, Williamsburg, DUMBO and Manhattan champion this so-called diversity in the form of consumer activities (i.e. ethnic food menus) but could care less about effectively causing real social change; let's go to Queensbridge or Ravenswood or Jamaica or East New York and talk about 'multiculturalism'. Ha!

The "liberal" professional class (the Obama votes) pats itself on the back yet again.

Aug. 21 2007 10:10 AM
Jacqueline from Sunnyside

As someone who has been to Sydney, London, and New York City, I have to say New York is pretty multi-cultural. Sydney is a beautiful, wonderful, vibrant city, but it still suffers from residual hatred of it's Neo-Nazi groups, which are still actively hostile to the large Asian population and the sad history of the government's policy towards Aborigines. London is pretty amazing in terms of its culture, but I feel the scale and breadth of NYC is much greater. Though I do agree with previous writers, this should be a celebration--not just a competition--of our collective multi-cultural societies.

Aug. 21 2007 10:05 AM
Jose Equis from NYC

Rapid, destructive gentrification is slowly destroying everything that was great about NYC in the first place. We'll have ethnic diversity-Park Slope style while our serfs from the suburbs wait on us.
I guess most people seem to think "ethnic food" means wonderful diversity.

Aug. 21 2007 09:56 AM
X-Pat from London, England via New Jersey

I have always lived in the Shadow of NYC. 'Sneaking' into The City in High School, travelling from my Upstate college to see all of the latest art shows and museum exhibitions, visiting Broadway, working for two major NYC Art Galleries and an Auction House. I searched for the Greatness and Culture everyone kept touting and promising but never found it. New York always failed to meet my expectations of a cultured city. NY Museums are expensive, Art Galleries pretentious and impenetrable, Broadway shows equally expensive and static. I relocated to London just over a year ago and was greeted with the City I had hoped NY would and could be for so long. Free Museums, Public Art, Weekly Cultural and Artistic Festivals, Exhibitions, open air markets, living history (ALL FREE). London is a city where you will actually meet and interact with people from other countries and cultures who live in the City and meaningfully engage in its progress. Comments regarding racism being more prevalent in London as opposed to other Cities are misguided. Racism is rampant in each; the difference is Londoners (as a collective) are more aware, affected and appalled by it. This is all without mentioning the public and private Environmental awareness and initiatives in London, an awareness and practice that Collectively, New Yorkers do not share or practice on their best day. It is a naive belief that NYC is remotely rich in culture as other 'International' cities. My vote is decidedly for London.

Aug. 21 2007 07:20 AM
Francisco Or from New York , downwtown

I like real answers

I am Ecuadorean - German - Jewish , Bisexual, and my ex wife was American- Korean-french - catholic.

We together speak or use , English, Spanish , German, French, Korean, Quechua, Chinese, Japaneses. Hebrew, Italian.

We use all that in one day with out even trying in nyc.


Aug. 21 2007 12:22 AM
William from Brooklyn

If I may cite some history, New York City has continuously been the most culturally diverse community in the world, since the first European settlers came in 1624. At that time, the Dutch were the only nation that tolerated religious dissent, so the colony attracted a diverse group of refugees. In 1643, a visiting French Jesuit reported that "on the island of Manhattan there may well be four or five hundred men of different sects and nations: the Director General told me that there were men of eighteen different languages." During the 40 years of Dutch rule (1624-1664), only about half of the immigrants to New York City were ethnically Dutch. The others included Germans, Belgians, Frisians, French, English, Norwegians, Swedes, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Swiss, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Portuguese (both Catholic and Jewish), Spanish, Italian, Czech, Lithuanian, Croatian, Brazilian, Indonesian, African, and Native American people, among others. Two particularly exotic characters were Jonas Bronck, first settler in the Bronx (=Bronck's), who was a Faroe Islander; and Anthony Jansen Van Salee, alias "Anthony the Turk," son of a Dutch pirate and an African woman, who was raised as a Moslem in Morocco, came to Manhattan in 1630, and died in Brooklyn in 1676. Some of his descendants still live here, but are now numbered among the non-diverse elements of the community (including the Vanderbilt and Whitney families).

Aug. 20 2007 05:52 PM

In Flatbush, the Chase ATM asks you if you would like to proceed in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese or Korean.

Aug. 20 2007 04:09 PM
Dominick Arbolay from Hell's Kitchen

My landlord, as well as my next door neighbor, are from Croatia. The fruit and vegetable store I shop at is run by Turks, while the delis are owned by Yemenite arabs. Koreans dry clean my suits. I hang out at a pub where the owner and bartender are Irish, and the chef is Venezuelan. At my job, I work along side Filipinos, an Ecudoran, and Grenadans. Multiculturalism for me is part of every day life.

Aug. 20 2007 02:11 PM
chestine from NY

i think ny with its degraded infrastructure, could become more like a third world city and eventually if this continues unchecked, the economic class differences could be as extreme, with upper class people living behind walls with guard dogs that get poisoned by the desperate, as in pretty old cities like Rio. Where will New Yorkers flee to then, like everyone coming here? I think we need to fight to keep some balance and when we get mad enough, we will. Maybe Toronto's a good idea. Kurt is right, they do have good food up there and it is a kinder, gentler place. And newer and cleaner and walkable (but less sunshine by far) or maybe NY will start to cycle down and re-balance.

Aug. 20 2007 02:04 PM
lb from ft.greene

I have only been to London a couple brief times and never Toronto, but what I do know:

NYC- i walk out of my house and think about what I could eat:
South African, Senegalese, French, Cuban, Mexican, Italian, Middle Eastern, South Indian, Greek, Pan-Mediterranian, West Indian, Thai, Japanese...and more i'm sure I'm forgetting.

I also know when I walk down the street I hear a mingling of languages and accents, I see people of many ethnicities and cultures sharing, building, maintaining this crazy, beautiful city NEW YORK that we call home.

The most encouraging thing to me is despite many problems and issues that need to be continually addressed, we are competing for which city is the most diverse. Thats beautiful.

Aug. 20 2007 02:03 PM
Trevor from LIC

Chestine-- I don't think to advocate more economic equality is to endorse Stalinism or Maoism (if that's what you are implying), or even Communism.

As for "opposite sides", I don't really think of concepts and subjects in such binary terms.

Aug. 20 2007 01:39 PM
judith seifer from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

As a transplanted, native New Yorker, Brooklyn born and bred and having lived in Queens and Manhattan as recently as 2000-03 again, I'd say my current home city of Toronto where I have resided for most of the last 20 years is the most multicultural society of the cities you mentioned. I've visited London and I've also lived in Chicago but Toronto wins, sorry Leonard. I used to teach Adult ESL here for more than four years and was really surprised at our cultural riches. Our diversity of quality eating spots will attest to my decision. Yum, yum.

Aug. 20 2007 01:33 PM
Trevor from LIC

I think it suffices to say that harbor/port cities tend to attract people from all over the world throughout history-- Venice, Constantinople, London, San Francisco, New Orleans etc.-- and New York, becoming the most powerful, became a self-propellent mythmaking machine in a sense, in that its unconscious aesthetic attraction, coupled with obvious economic benefits, is enough of a draw for people everywhere no matter what language they speak.

I know that's why I moved here.

And sadly, since I've moved to a bit of Queens a short time ago, much of my neighborhood has become noticably whiter.

Careful New York-- you are certainly the coolest and most multicultural of cities, but you'll lose your edge with all this gentrification and condo building...

Aug. 20 2007 01:30 PM
chestine from NY

Trevor - like the stasi and rule under stalin and mao are warm and fuzzy? i would venture we are all made of opposite sides (bright/dark) and so will forever create that tensions

Aug. 20 2007 01:25 PM
chestine from NY

on my hallway: Croatians, Congolese, Senegalese, a family from Kirgistan, Belgians, Brazilians, and the other half are American-born. It smells amazing at dinnertime, depending on who's cooking!

I don't know how many cultures are represented in my bldg of 20 floors...

Aug. 20 2007 01:22 PM
hilary north from Sunset Park

The local chinese dry cleaner speaks Spanish! I have a lot of respect for this hard working lady. I only speak 1 language but she speaks 3.

New York definitely has better food than London!! That should count for something.

Aug. 20 2007 12:57 PM
Trevor from LIC

Right, well I guess the point that I was trying to make was essentially that for the most part, the ultrarich are all white.

The ultrarich could care less if there's cultural diversity, but the system being built by economic inequality (i.e. wage slave class buoying upper castes of moneyed families) must never be questioned. Thus we get apologist "a chance to run the race" arguments. The race itself is fixed to begin with.

Culture is a process, not an event. Hitler failed to understand this, and multicultural postmodernists fail to see this as well. Until something is done about capitalism's ravages on the environment and on humanity itself, things will continue as they are-- violent, destructive and hierarchical.

Aug. 20 2007 12:07 PM
kathy from NJ

I don't think economic equality is that important actually. And I'm saying that as a person with relatively little in the way of material goods, though I'm not starving, thank God. Democracy doesn't imply equality of outcome, but a chance to run the race. We can't all be winners financially, but that doesn't make us less important as people, as artists, as bike messengers, whatever. By this reckoning, cultural diversity is more worthwhile than economic equality. The poor will always be among us, as will the rich, but those who can should make sure the poor don't starve.

Aug. 20 2007 10:19 AM
kurt from new york

As a young white man I feel there's a limit to the insight I can have on racism, certainly what it means to be on the receiving end. I'm also from Canada, some eight years in this country spread across three cities. My experience is that New York, like the rest of the United States is great as long as you aspire to the same values and goals as other white people in this country - make money whatever the cost to yourself, your family and the community. Having returned to Toronto recently, I was taken aback when I was reminded how people there, white or otherwise, are encouraged to live their own truth, to find their own blend of their culture of origin and the culture of Canada. On a separate note, it was a breath of fresh air to watch new broadcasting not sponsored by drug companies trying to market anti-depressants.

Aug. 19 2007 03:05 AM
dream227 from LES Manhattan

I think NYC is the only city that if i walk in a bar and see everyone is white-american i'll be surprised.

Aug. 18 2007 11:39 AM
cindy from bkln

How many different kinds of cuisines can you eat in a 10-block radius of your home or workplace?

Peruvian, Columbian, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Honduran, Ecuadorian, Dominican, Mexican, Italian, Sicilian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, French, Australian, American, Jamaican, Grenadan, Haitian, Bajan, Eastern European/Kosher, OH MY!!

Aug. 18 2007 09:27 AM
Richard from Bronx

NYC, and esp. the boroughs, are as diverse as anywhere, but NY is also an imperial city that makes newcomers and the rest of the world do things its way. NYC is a truly wonderful place --- vibrant, creative, powerful --- but NY is diverse because of the people, not as a result of its claim to be center of the world. A big city in a small or less powerful country must deal with the rest of the world on the other's terms. This is fundamental to a truly open diversity.

Aug. 18 2007 08:47 AM
Philip Antillin from Brooklyn

The social experiment of “pluralism” from Horace Kallen to the birth pangs of the Civil Rights Movement is a success here in New York, and in certain other pockets of the country. Some of the descendants of the forefathers of the liberal tradition that I’ve spoken to will admit in private that the whole pluralistic shtick is nothing but a business. In the beginning it was legitimate because many people ran from European fascism. But what are they running from now? Greed seems to have gotten the best of them. In New York nothing is done for the good of the country – only for the good of the pocketbook. I should know. I’ve been living here most of the forty eight years of my life. New York is five to one democratic, mostly liberal – and that’s OK, for New York. However, many liberals do not understand that this fermenting cesspool of pluralism is beginning to threaten the South and parts of the Mid West, by the liberal lawmakers and educators who take up jobs in small towns and in rural communities – who seek to escape the political and spiritual communism they left behind. These people rape the intellectual resources and hospitality of their own country to fuel a socialist agenda. Let’s hope these liberal descendants are wise enough not to recapitulate the profiteering of the GWP of their forefathers.

Aug. 18 2007 05:43 AM
Chicago Listener

The Aussies get a pass because they're Aussies. Buy them a beer and they will concede the debate. Toronto is a magical city....if it were in America, it would put Chicago to shame. Alas, 'tis in Canada. London may compete on the numbers, but it is completely resistant to its changing demographics.

Also, if you google the name of the second poster, you might consider deleting that post.

Aug. 17 2007 10:48 PM
world citizen

i dont particularly think new york is the most "multi-cultural" city by way of accommodating multiple forms of cultural expression. its surely less culturally-imperialist than paris, but one obvious fact is indisputable: the UN is here, duh.

Aug. 17 2007 03:11 PM
Sara-Rivka from Morningside Heights

One word: Subway.

I've lived in Boston, Melbourne, and visited Sydney several times. When i was walking down the street, or riding the commuter train in Sydney, most of hte faces were WHITE! The other groups were Asian and Southeast-Asian. Same with Boston. When i ride on the sunway in NYC, i see faces of all colors, and hear multiple langauges: Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, German, Japanese, every day.

I live in Morningside Heights, which is now safer and more gentrified than it was when i was a growing up in teh 1980's, but the choice of cuisine in a ten block radius reflect the diversity of the city: Japanese, Chines, Korean, Italian, French, Southern US, Lebanese, Greek, Hungarian, Indian, and Thai.

Aug. 17 2007 02:30 PM
Trevor from LIC

But yes, New York probably wins over other cities: I myself lived in a warehouse with an ex-Hasidic Jew, two Peruvians, an Argentinian, a Columbian, a French person, a Japanese person, a Chilean and two people from Ohio!

Beat that.

Aug. 17 2007 02:23 PM
Trevor from LIC

Chestine- I don't doubt many immigrant families find economic prosperity, especially in New York, a notably small-business friendly city for quite some time (at least, in the past). I do feel the majority of immigrants here in the city probably don't enjoy such success however-- ride the 7 train at 6am in the morning and tell all the commuters about starting their own businesses and all the rich culture they bring to the city working twelve hour days below industry-level wages.

I only mean to raise the subject of economic equality as important, if not more, than cultural diversity. A bit off topic, I apologise, but it is an issue I think left-minded voters should pay more attention to. After all, what is the difference between a rich immigrant and a rich native? How about a poor immigrant and a poor native?

If working Americans possessed any sort of class consciousness perhaps this would be a more salient issue. Instead, we use the word "multicultural" to gloss over our similarities, and ignore the fact that the top 1% percent control most of the wealth, and actually believe think they deserve it (i.e. NYTimes' recent article about new billionaires' attitudes toward their fortunes).

Aug. 17 2007 02:05 PM

Yes, New York is wonderfully multi-cultural but how do our increasingly restrictive immigration policies compare with those of other countries like the UK, Canda, and Australia? Just the fact that London can draw people from all over the European Union, allowing them the absolute right to live, work, and contribute to the vibrancy of that city makes me wonder how we will compare in the future.

Aug. 17 2007 01:58 PM
Alex from Bronx

My living situation is a perfect example, as well as a microcosm, of New York's multiculturalism. There are three of us in total. Not one of us was born in the United States. I am a Mexican citizen of Eastern European Jewish descent. My first roomate is a black Puerto Rican. My second roomate is from Ethiopia.

I've worked jobs here with people from Albania, China, Jamaica, Yemen you name it.

I can not see how another city can claim to have more diverse cultures than new York.

Aug. 17 2007 01:50 PM
Brad R from Brooklyn

>> What city in the world has the least disparity in income among its residents? Is there a city in the world where the rich are not getting richer, and the poor are not getting poorer?

I don't know, but the answer ain't London and it ain't Toronto. London is quite probably the most expensive city on planet earth right now, and getting worse every day; if you want to see the future of Manhattan, take a look at the City and its surroundings: jet-setters and financial services industry professionals driving prices into the stratosphere and pushing the non-wealthy utterly away, spreading up and spreading out. Diversity in central London, like in Mahattan below 96th Street, is vestigial. True diversity in New York is a borough thing, to be found in Queens and Brooklyn and the Bronx (with upper Manhattan thrown in on an honorary basis, at elast for the time being), as well as nearby parts of Jersey. And as far as that goes, it is as deep, rich, intense and real as anything anywhere.

I confess I haven't been to Toronto, but if it's anything like Vancouver (which also bills itself as a diversity capital), diversity there may be a lot like diversity in San Francisco, which certainly exists but is rather mild and mannerly compared to the shuffling, bumping, elbowing, galling and thrilling cacophony of New York borough life.

Aug. 17 2007 01:48 PM
chestine from NY

Trevor i was injured and had to have a car service for several weeks - in the course of these many conversations with immigrants, some very young, i was astonished at what they have built here - owning buildings, cars. car service car numbers are $100,000.! Big families with houses and kids i private schools. These are non-native, motivated individuals surpassing my ilk with their determination just like my ancestors came with nothing and wound up in amazing places in US society. Nobody owes anybody a living. Could income disparity be about our willingness to roll over and play dead about our impotent congress and the looting of the public trust that has been happening since Bill Clinton left office? or was it since Nixon took office? When exactly did the crooks get teh upper hand? Why do we let them get away with it?

Aug. 17 2007 01:04 PM
Trevor from LIC

This segment should really have the listening audience asking themselves the question what's more important, equality or diversity? Sure, New York is culturally diverse and that should be celebrated but, my previous snide comments aside, the economic stratification is deplorable! Just walk up Lexington Avenue in the '80s past 96th Street and see the "diversity": we may be a very multicultural city, but money still talks. We laud what immigrants bring to the table as far as "culture", but could care less if some people are (much) better off than others-- Walter Benn Michaels discusses this subject length in his book, "The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality".

What city in the world has the least disparity in income among its residents? Is there a city in the world where the rich are not getting richer, and the poor are not getting poorer?

Its a question any real progressive might ask, instead of paying lip service to a corporate buzzword, "multiculturalism".

Aug. 17 2007 10:25 AM
butch from NJ

These claims of ethnic and cultural diversity seem somewhat a fanciful expression of a quiant nostolgia that harkens back to a 1950's United Nations film strip. Certainly the various groups are represented, but that doesn't mean there's this open and free exchange among them. Most people are independent-minded and move within their own circles, without even language in common, making it difficult to mingle without feeling like an idiot or a crazy person or a stranger in your own land. The billionare would prefer NOT to have a housing project across the street, and I personally get no thrill from having a "minority" serve me food or make my hotel bed. It's embarrassing. Are we not all Americans?

Aug. 17 2007 10:07 AM
Jess from NYC

According to my sketchy web research, the population breakdown is as follows:
NYC- 56% minority
Toronto- 43% minority
Sidney- 38% minority
London- 29% minority

I'm moving from NY to London in a few weeks, and when I mentioned to one of my future London co-workers (also from the NYC) that one of the things that I liked about London was its diversity, she literally laughed in my face.

Aug. 16 2007 07:48 PM
Suzanne from Manhattan / Harlem

I agree with "Jane" and "Jean Grazie" -- yes, people do and can segregate themselves, but they also can mix as much as they feel comfortable with ... many churches serve 2 and 3, even 4 language cultures ... while many may be one-language based, they are aware of the diversity in their sister / brother houses of worship. The hoity-toitiness of some folks is reserved for their 2nd homes elsewhere ... but 95% of NY'ers do NOT fall in that category of finances. Most restaurants serve reasonable if not good-to-excellent food -- because if they don't, their patrons can very easily walk elsewhere. Because of its excellent transportation system (irrespective of fluke rain, strikes, weekend service outages (maintenance is important!!)), anybody can afford to get anywhere in a (usually) reasonable amount of time at a very reasonable cost. NYC drawback is its housing costs ... if it was more affordable to live here, the population would be even MORE diverse!

Star Trek:
Infinite Diversity in
Infinite Combinations (the IDIC)

I cannot say I love NYC ... but living anywhere else is boring by comparison.

Aug. 16 2007 05:53 PM
Will from Manhattan

New York is obviously a great city but I would be really reluctant to say that it is the most multicultural city. Toronto (not Montreal) has the same number of languages spoken and just as many different cultures...however when you visit Toronto it's refreshing to see an Indian, a Caucasion, an Asian, etc serving your food or making your hotel bed. Unfortunatley that is not so evident here. Lets not worry about who is the most multicultural city, rather, lets focus on making equality a bit more apparent. That being said, most "online" research suggests London is the winner.

Aug. 16 2007 02:17 PM
Peter from Chicago

I live in Chicago, and although Chicago can claim cultural and multi-ethinic diversity through representations from Latin America, Europe (particularly Eastern Europe)Asia, the Middle-East, etc. I do have to say that New York has more representation from around the world. I would put Toronto on the same scale as Chicago. As far as London and Sydney are concerned, I never have been to either, so I don't really know.

One thing that "provincial" New Yorkers should do is to become more educated about their own country. I am amazed about some of the questions I get about Chicago from New Yorkers. One time, a New Yorker asked me if Lake Michigan had marine life! There is a lot to see and explore in this country west of the Hudson River, and I don't mean Los Angeles.

Aug. 16 2007 01:55 PM
Jean Gazis from Park Slope

In NY, everyone mixes. In other large cities (I've traveled to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Montreal, Rome, New Orleans, DC, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, SF), the elite and the destitute tend to live in widely separated areas. While NYC has distinct neighborhoods, it's still possible to have a multi-million dollar, celebrity-owned townhouse almost directly across the street from a public housing project. It's still possible to share jury duty with white, black, gay, straight, college students, grandparents, artists, businesspeople, at a trial that involves both Vietnamese and Russian interpreters, in the heart of Chinatown. It's still possible to see people reading newspapers in 7 different languages in a single subway car. It's still possible to see performers from Nashville, New Orleans, Canada, Europe, India, Africa, France, the Caribbean, Mexico, and NYC - performing in English, Spanish, French, Creole, Yiddish, and other languages - all at the same venue, for a suggested donation of only $3. And they ALL have enthusiastic fans from back home in the audience.

Any one or two of these things might be true of many places, but only NYC has them all!

Aug. 16 2007 01:55 PM
Jackie from Brooklyn

Places like Paris are wonderful because of the way the people embrace art and culture. However, almost all the art that you see in Paris is European. Nothing against European art, but I am grateful that New York has a wider range of cultural institutions (i.e. African Art Museum, Rubin Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio…).

Cultural diversity is not just about restaurants. It’s festivals, religion, art, music, sports, politics ….

I love my city.

Aug. 16 2007 12:35 PM
Trevor from LIC

Manhattan is VERY diverse, with people of German, English, Scandinavian, Scottish, Irish, and Dutch descent literally EVERYWHERE!

Only in New York's rich, diverse neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side and Gramercy Park can we see descendants of Angles and Saxons living together so harmoniously.

Aug. 16 2007 10:47 AM
kathy from NJ

New York wins hands down. Where else can you find such a hodge-podge of skewered meats that taste like bus fumes.

Aug. 16 2007 10:41 AM
I Heart New York from Queens

Just take the R or 7 train to Queens and see the people on the subway; they're all from different ethnicities.

My neighborhood is mostly comprised of Chinese and Chinese Americans, as well as people from the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Korea, and Pakistan.

I've never been to Toronto so I can't say anything about it. I visited London and Sydney; both cities are not as diverse as New York. And I agree with the previous poster about the racism there.

Aug. 16 2007 10:23 AM
Jane from Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Unlike Montreal, London, Paris, etc, New York's diversity is not found in ghettos. People from different countries, of various faiths, speaking their native tongues, live side by side with the rest of us. This is especially true in my wonderful neighbor to the north, Queens. However, even on my block there are first generation representatives of at least 22 different nations representing nearly all of South America and Central America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Ireland.

Aug. 16 2007 09:16 AM
Trevor from LIC

One word= The New York Yankees.

Everybody in the world knows the Yankees are the best. End of story.

Aug. 16 2007 07:35 AM
Jackie from Jackson, NJ 08527

New York City is the only place I know of that you can walk the length of a single street and meet folks from around the world.

When I was a young girl I flew alone from NC to NYC and I was astounded at how many "foreigners" lived in our country!

New York is simply amazing. New Yorkers are amazing!


Aug. 15 2007 04:10 PM

One word - QUEENS.

Aug. 15 2007 03:12 PM
Brian Hagan from NYC

Just to briefly touch upon two of the cities mentioned, London has a deeper, richer history as a city of culture, commerce and power while Toronto is at least the equal of New York in diversity and is much more tolerant and inclusive.

We need to fight for more affordable housing, better schools and a decent transport system rather than bragging rights on a radio program.

I often hear New Yorkers say, "New York is the greatest city in the world!" Instead of continuing to mouth this annoying provincial boosterism, let's get to work on buidling a city that is truly great.

Aug. 15 2007 02:42 PM
erik frampton from North Bergen NJ

In addition to "world class" diversity, New York City shares the distinction of being the only destination city for imigration. Historically, New York stands alone as an icon and archetype of world society. From the waters of this great harbor was launched the world's first government based on individual personal freedom and two centuries later repeatedly comes defends against aggressors and tyrants. The thrust forward into this new millenium was fostered by western human migration and the resulting acquired resouces. All this through the open doors of New York City, her Lady Liberty, and the American Dream. To be sure, no other port of call can claim this history. We are the Grandfather of Diversity and its Gleaming Tower.

Sincerely, Erik Frampton

Aug. 15 2007 11:51 AM
World Traveller from NYC

I have spent lots of time in other "multi-cultural" cities and sad to say, I and my friends in those cities have experienced some racism. The thing that sets NYC apart from, lets say, London, Sydney or Toronto, is that there is MUCH less racism against other cultures. There is less segregation and more integration. I think the beauty about the multi-culturalism in NYC is that you can choose to integrate if you want to, but it is not necessary either.

Within a 5 block radius from where I live, you can get Japanese, Thai, Tibetan, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Ukranian, Indian, Venezuelan, Peruvian, Indonesian, Basque, British, French, Mexican food. How's that for multi-cultural?

Aug. 15 2007 10:19 AM
Dirk Digler from UES

Is this the "hooray for everyone" show? There are plenty of other cities around the globe that are very multicultural - London, LA, Chicago...

Aug. 15 2007 09:30 AM
Joanne Scutero from Hawthorne, NY

(1) What other city has well over 200 languages spoken in it's public school system?

(2) What other city has not one, but 3 "Chinatowns" within it's borders (in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, in our case)?

Aug. 15 2007 07:49 AM

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