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Bronx Week: Bronx Bangladeshi Community Grows as Other Boroughs Become Crowded

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The Bronx is known for its large population of Hispanics, Italians, and even Irish—but Bangladeshi? The borough is fast becoming home to a growing number of people from the South Asian country. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the second report of our Bronx Week series.

Twenty years ago, the Bronx neighborhood of Parkchester wasn't exactly ideal living for immigrants coming from Bangladesh.

Many of their countrymen and women lived across the Throgs Neck and Whitestone Bridges.

"Before we have to buy something—our Bangladeshi food, grocery—we have to go other place, lot of far away. To driving or like Queens," says Bronx resident Kazi Begum.

Despite that, a small group decided to settle there and over the years that number grew.

"Right now, in this neighborhood, as far as I know, within the three square miles living 16,000 Bangladeshi," says Bronx resident MD Hossain.

Then came a transformation.

"A lot of Bangladeshi people buy house and start small business. When I came here, only one Bangladeshi grocery store. Now five, more than five," Begum says.

Starling Avenue, a couple of surrounding streets and parts of neighboring Westchester Square make up the center of Bangladeshi life in the Bronx.

It's not exactly the Little Bangladesh of Queens or Brooklyn, but it's home.

"I like it because there's Bangladeshi stores and mosques," Bronx resident Gulshan Chowdhury says.

Plus, there's a nonprofit focused on helping some members of the community acclimate to living in the U.S.

"We saw that there was a large growing population of women in the Bronx who were from Bangladesh and we wanted to know what were their health needs and what was going on in terms of the community," says Sapna NYC Outreach and Advocacy Director Moumita Zaman.

Now, many people coming from Bangladesh are choosing to move here in the Bronx or away from other neighborhoods in the city where there's a large Bangladeshi community.

Residents say Queens neighbohoods like Astoria, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Woodside have become increasingly crowded and expensive.

"Rent is not that much like Queens. Queens is high rent. So a lot of people, those are people from Bangladesh, live in Queens, even Brooklyn—they move in this area," Hossain says.

The influx may have started because people were priced out of other boroughs, but now many are coming to realize that the Bronx has everything they need.

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