By: Owa Kankhwende
It’s no surprise that one of the New York neighborhoods closest to Ellis Island was also the city’s most diverse. But what might surprise you is to find out just how diverse the Lower West Side of Manhattan was for most of the 19th century and 20th centuries.
Learn all about this history on November 5th at 11 AM, when urban historian Joe Svehlak and community activist Esther Regelson of Friends of Lower West Side lead a tour of this lost neighborhood.
Starting inside the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, the tour will explore the clues from the neighborhood’s past. Starting the 1840s, the Lower West Side was a landing spot for people from across the globe. As home to the first Arab settlement in the United States, Washington Street was referred to “Little Syria.”
The tour is a chance to learn about stories of the community’s diverse residences while visiting some of the few remaining tenements, Federal-style townhouses and the former St. George Melkite Church (pictured above and now a local favorite restaurant, St. George Tavern).
A $20 donation will help the group continue their preservation efforts. For those interested in the tour, you can RSVP with Joe at (718) 855-7354, Esther at (917) 705-3886 or via e-mail at email@example.com