One of the surprising and wonderful things about my neighborhood is that Spanish is spoken everywhere, on the street and in every shop and restaurant. I knew of course that some Spanish would be spoken here, but I had no idea how pervasive it is. It is spoken more than English. This mostly gives me a great opportunity to practice, and the people at the local hardware, laundry, and (of course) Mexican restaurant are really nice and helpful when it comes to improving my Spanish. In many other places (the shoe store and Radio Shack for example), they will switch from Spanish to English with me, even if I have heard them speaking Spanish and speak Spanish to them, which is a bit of a shame, as it leaves me wondering if my Spanish was so bad they felt the need to speak English, or if they just feel it is easier. In any event, I have learned (at least, according to the woman at the hardware store) that the majority of Spanish speakers in this part of Manhattan are Dominican and the next biggest group Mexican, with a fair amount of Puerto Ricans thrown into the mix. And there are a fair amount of word differences between the groups, which makes things even more interesting.