Le Petit Senegal Harlem, New york

Little Senegal is an enclave home to many french speaking immigrants who came over from Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Guinea. Le Petit Senegal is a smaller section of the much larger, older, and cultural mecca called Harlem. Over the past 30 years, the population of immigrants from West African countries has expanded and many of the newcomers have found solace in the familiarity that Little Senegal exudes.

In the early 1900s, Many African Americans began traveling north hungry for jobs and a shot at urban life. These passed three decades, large amounts of francophone immigrants have ventured west and settled in what is now knowbn as Le petit Senegal. This new community Senegal has brought even more diversity to the melting pot that already is New York City. Senegalese immigrants have made their mark in the already existing fashion and food industries in Harlem by setting up restaurants and shops like Le Baobab and African Kine.

Senegalese Market

Stricken with the stagnant Senegalese economy, many West African immigrants with aspirations of achieving the American Dream, arrive to the city with bubbling expectations to take part in New York's seemingly booming economy. On top of the economic opportunity provided by Little Senegal, many of its citizens also moved because of the enhanced living conditions that this enclave provides. Sadly, so used to the docile Senegalese work force, a good amount of immigrants are overwhelmed with the fast-paced lifestyle that comes with living in the big city.

Flag of Senegal

The people of Little Senegal take great pride in turning Harlem in to the culturual hodge podge that it is today. Before Le Petit Senegal, there was nothing - no stores, no restaurants, no business, no culture. Now, when you walk down West 116th Street between Lenox Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard, you can't help but notice women dressed in traditional Senegalese ankaras, the aroma of Sombi, a sweet milk-rice soup, and the sound of traditional drumming and dance music of Senegal.

Little Senegal is an incredible example of a micro city in New York because it offers a piece of not only Harlem’s dense cultural past but also an incredible example of incorporation and open-acceptance of immigrant culture.

I love the idea of an ethnic enclave simply because it allows for newcomers to adjust to a new atmosphere while not succumbing to complete assimilation. It allows for the immigrants to speak their language, eat their own ethnic foods and engage in whatever they want to engage in while being safe in their community. Also, these enclaves allow for the diffusion and rapid spread of new and diverse cultures. Enclaves like Le petit Senegal allow for a traditional Senegalese-inspired restaurant to open up in Harlem, New York. Enclaves are so interesting and refreshing because they lead to the big-bang-esque infusion of two or more inherently different cultural landscapes.


Page, Jimi. "NYC’s Micro Neighborhoods: Little Senegal in Harlem, New York City." Untapped Cities. N.p., 30 June 2014. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.
"Popular Music In Senegal." Popular Music In Senegal. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.
Sara, Yasmin. "Little Senegal, the West African Community That Is Influencing New York City’s Food Scene." – AFRIZAP WORLD. N.p., 01 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.
Created By
Will Brossman


Created with images by erokism - "Spotted in New York" • Bon Adrien - "Harlem Free Delivery" • Free Grunge Textures - www.freestock.ca - "Senegal Grunge Flag"

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