In Lower Manhattan, memories of ‘Little Syria’

tags: WSJ, New York City, Manhattan, Little Syria, Syrian diaspora



At the turn of the last century, Manhattan’s Lower West Side was a bustling hub of life for Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian immigrants who set up shops and moved into tenements in a community known as Little Syria.

Now, there is little left marking the old neighborhood, seen as an epicenter of Arab immigration that was once home to stores like Brooklyn favorite Sahadi’s. But advocates are lobbying the Landmarks Preservation Commission to change that.

“Every Arab-American who would have come to the United States would have probably spent some time or had ties to the Lower West Side of Manhattan,” said Todd Fine, co-founder of Save Washington Street. He calls Little Syria “the beating heart of Arab immigration to the United States,” with an important literary community and restaurants and cafes selling Lebanese food and pastries as the Ninth Avenue El whirred by....



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