Place of the Month
109 Washington Street
The tenement at 109 Washington Street is one of the last architectural remnants of what was once a thriving and diverse Lower Manhattan immigrant enclave. From the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, the area west of Broadway, and extending north from Battery Place roughly to Chambers Street, was home to New York City’s largest Middle Eastern community, as well as a large concentration of Central and Eastern European settlers. In the late 1800s, immigrants from the Arab World began settling in Lower Manhattan. Their entrepreneurial spirit transformed the neighborhood, which came to be known as Little Syria, into a thriving community lined with shops, restaurants and coffeehouses, each furnished with signs written in their native Arabic. Here Arab Americans raised their families, educated their children, formed religious and community organizations and gradually became part of the life of New York.