History | Yonkers | Latino Communities
It appears from census records that Cubans were the first Latino group to arrive in sizable numbers. By the time of the 1930 census, there were 116 Cubans residing in Yonkers. They eventually established "La Lojia," a Cuban Community Center. One hundred and one immigrants from Central and South America were also listed in 1930, along with 60 "Other America" residents who were most likely from Puerto Rico.
Large groups of Puerto Ricans first began to arrive during the 1950s, when several families from the island made their home in the city. Early family names of Puerto Rican residents included Gonzalez, Rio, Santiago, Mejia, and Montes, who settled the area and then sent for other relatives to join them. Some of them made their way to the area through migrant work in the fields of upstate New York, and some came directly to Yonkers to work in the "carpet shops" - a row of factories that existed on Saw Mill River Road and Nepperhan Avenue. Others lived in New York City and commuted to work in Yonkers, but many eventually found apartments in the southwest part of the city in order to be closer to their employment.