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This Vibrant Neighbourhood in Manhattan Was Once Known for its Arabic Stores Signs and Newspapers

1800s | June 30, 2016

Little Syria. The cultural hub of America’s very first middle eastern community. It was located just south of the current location of the World Trade Center, where present-day Tribeca is.

The area became home not just to the thousands of Arab-Americans who arrived in the 1880s until the 1940s to escape religious persecution and poverty in their homelands, but also to the Armenians, Greeks, and other communities from the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

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They established their little community, building several churches, one of which was the Christian Syrian’s St. Joseph’s Maronite Church. A cornerstone of the church was discovered amongst the rubble after the 9/11 attacks, more than 60 years after the neighborhood had disappeared.

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Little Syria slowly declined as a neighborhood as the residents began dispersing to other areas, mostly to Brooklyn, and it almost disappeared entirely in the 1940s when the remaining residents was displaced by the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

H/T The Library of Congress | New York Public Library
 

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