Little Syria, New York: Walking Tours of Washington Street

Little Syria's community on Washington St in the 1910s from The American Metropolis 1897 by Frank Moss
Little Syria's community on Washington St in the 1910s from The American Metropolis 1897 by Frank Moss

Little Syria, New York: Walking Tours of Washington Street

June 11, 13, 15 Tours: 11am - 12pm
June 17 Tour: 3pm - 4pm
June 17  Event: 4pm - 5pm (see al Qalam: Poetry in the Park)
Meeting Place: Washington Street and Battery Place (Park-side)
RSVPs required

All events in the River To River Festival are free and all are welcome

One of the best-kept secrets of early New York is the presence of the first Arabic-speaking community in the United States, located on Washington Street on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, first settled in 1880. Almost no buildings remain on Washington Street from the nineteenth century. Linda Jacobs, a scholar and historian will give in-person tours of the early Manhattan Syrian/Lebanese colony illustrated with stories, historical photos, and places of significance to the early Syrian colony.

The last three remaining buildings, including the façade of St. George’s Melkite Church, will conclude three of the tours. The fourth tour, on June 17th, will terminate in The Battery Labyrinth with a poetry recitation and performance of Arabic music celebrating the writers and poets of the colony.

Should you want to take the tour but cannot attend during the group walking tour hours, you can Beta-test the new app that walks you through Little Syria. 

Presented in partnership with Washington Street Historical Society and The Battery Conservancy.

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LINDA K. JACOBS, PhD, is an independent scholar, is a historian of the early Lebanese/Syrian diaspora in the United States. She is the author of two books on the topic: Strangers in the West: The Syrian Colony of New York City, 1880-1900 (KalimahPress 2015) and Strangers No More: Syrians in the United States, 1880-1900 (KalimahPress 2019). A revised edition of Strangers in the West will appeared in 2023, and her third book, a collection of themed chapters about the earliest Syrian immigrants, will also appear in 2023.

The Battery Conservancy was founded to revitalize New York’s birthplace park and its major landmark, Castle Clinton National Monument. The Conservancy designs, builds, maintains, and activates the historic Battery’s 25-acres of public parkland at the southern tip of Manhattan. In partnership with the City of New York’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service, the Conservancy brings inspired vision and targeted resources to the park inspired by an ethos of environmental stewardship, historical authenticity, design excellence, innovative education, and openness to all.