Trump and Australian Leader, Who Had January Spat, Are to Meet in New York


The American Australian Association, a little-known yet industrious nonprofit organization with offices in the Financial District of Manhattan, has been working for decades to strengthen relations between the countries. Founded in 1948 by the journalist Keith Murdoch, the association was intended to spark American governmental and business interests in Australia after World War II. Since then, the scope of its ambitions has expanded to include cultural, educational and philanthropic activity. Its Education Fund, for example, has financed the participation of more than 200 fellows in postgraduate study between Australia and the United States since 2002.

A visual guide to Donald J. Trump’s first visit to his hometown as president.

The dinner on Thursday will raise money to start a new fund for veterans. It will also be the first time an American president has met with the association, Mr. Berry said, and the first in-person encounter between Mr. Trump and Mr. Turnbull.

Perhaps nowhere is that burgeoning cultural kinship more apparent than New York, which has experienced a surge of Australian immigration in recent years. The Australian Consulate estimated in 2011 that there were at least 20,000 Australians living in New York City, compared with fewer than 6,000 in a 2005-7 census survey.

With those immigrants has come a swell of Australian culture in a city already rich with international life. New Yorkers have taken notice. In 2014, the website Gothamist posted an article asking, “What’s the Deal With All These Australians in NYC?” The upswing, as it noted, can be attributed in no small part to the E-3 program, a class of visa introduced under George W. Bush in 2005 exclusively for Australians that is easier and less expensive to obtain than the conventional H-1B work visa. Every year, more than 10,000 E-3 visas are reserved for Australian nationals.

“Australians focus not only on work but on vacation and quality of life, so when they come it’s for six weeks or six months, not just six days like most tourists,” Mr. Berry said. “And if you look around the city, you’re starting to see their impact.”

A healthy collection of Australian bars, restaurants, and clothing stores have taken root in a stretch of NoLIta, around Mulberry Street, that some people call Little Australia. Now, alongside the typical Manhattan fare, Australians can find comfort in the familiar taste of flat whites and chants of “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!” As time has passed, more and more longtime New Yorkers have also begun to better understand their antipodal counterparts.

“Back when we first got here, everyone used to think we were all Crocodile Dundee with kangaroos in our backyards,” said Tim Sykes, 32, a co-owner of Ruby’s Cafe, an Australian restaurant on Mulberry Street. “But now that we’re all over the place, Aussie life is kind of taking hold.”


Tim Sykes, co-owner of Ruby’s Cafe, on Mulberry Street in Manhattan. Credit Joshua Bright for The New York Times

The transformation has been evident in at least one crucial way for Mr. Sykes. “Now you can actually find Vegemite in some restaurants,” he said.

Still, that sense of comfort was upended by Mr. Trump’s clash with Mr. Turnbull. In late April, Vice President Mike Pence helped smooth over relations when during a visit to Australia, he confirmed the countries’ “strong and historic alliance.”

Since Mr. Trump’s comments, Mr. Sykes said, he and many of his Australian friends have been calling their immigration lawyers, worried that their status might shift.

“You’d hope that the relationship wouldn’t disappear overnight just because of one argument,” he said. “At least that’s the hope.”

For now, Mr. Sykes is counting on the meeting Thursday to help return a sense of normalcy, so that Australian life can continue to thrive in New York.

“That’d be ripper, mate,” he said.

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