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Why Are There So Many Australians In New York?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The neighborhood of NoLIta is in the well-known vicinity of Chinese and Italian enclaves. But what you might not know is that it's also home to Little Australia.

Over a decade ago, Australians began to concentrate in this area. The Aussie-owned Ruby's Café opened in 2003 and served as a hub and meeting place for newcomers to New York. "The 'Unofficial Australian Embassy,' we used to call it," co-owner Lincoln Pilcher told CBS2's Elle McLogan.

The area developed from there, welcoming more and more Aussie-operated shops and eateries, like Two Hands Café. "We didn't set out to create an Australia in New York, by any means," Two Hands co-owner Giles Russell told Elle. "But it's happened in the nicest organic way."

These days, New York's Australians are sticking together, "like a pod of Australian dolphins," said Pilcher.

"What's most interesting to me is really how big the group is and what they're doing," said Australian Consul-General to New York Alastair Walton.

In industries of fashion, finance, and film Aussies are making their mark, but cafés are the most visible Australian export.

"People think we always think about beer and wine, but actually, for an Australian, coffee is the most important thing because it starts the day," said Walton.

"[Ruby's] had a flat white thirteen years ago," Pilcher remembered, "and now, Starbucks has a flat white, so we must have done something right."

Coffee is just one way the Australians in New York are introducing Americans to their culture from their language -- they say "prawns on the barbie," not "shrimps" -- to the reality of their infamous wildlife.

"Just outside the city, you'll see kangaroos and crocodiles," said Dylan Hales, general manager and co-owner of The Flower Shop. "[You] can accidentally swim with the most venomous creature in the world, which is the box jellyfish. So they're definitely there, but they're not roaming the streets of Sydney."

Walton acknowledges that, despite their laid-back attitudes, Australians are bold. "People think of us as barbecues and surfing, but Australians are really hard-working and risk-takers," said Walton.

As the Australian network grows, it benefits from all New York has to offer, including the people.

"Having that community of Australians is really important," said Henry Roberts, co-owner of Two Hands, "but it is also important to branch out."

"They mix well, Australians and Americans," said Russell. "There's so much positivity that comes out of Americans. I think when Australians and Americans come together, it creates a really cool balance of culture."

Check out some of the businesses that Elle visited in Little Australia:


Ruby's Café
219 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 925-5755

442 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(212) 300-4245


Two Hands Café
164 Mott Street
New York, NY 10013

251 Church Street
New York, NY 10013


The Flower Shop
107 Eldridge Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 257-4072


85 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 925-7355



What's something nobody knows about but everybody should? Whatever it is, Elle McLogan is tracking it down on The Dig. Join her hunt for treasures hidden across our area. Follow Elle on Twitter and Instagram.

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