The following photographs document the area in Lower Manhattan that was once New York’s Arabic quarter. Known as “Little Syria,” the span of Washington Street above Battery Park comprised the heart of Levantine life in New York City from the 1880s until the 1940s, when several acts of eminent domain forced the population’s mass eviction.
These photos are arranged within the pages of the 1911 novel The Book of Khalid, written by Ameen Rihani, a writer, diplomat, and ad hoc voice of the vanished community. Photo captions are derived from a current House resolution intended to honor Rihani for his contributions to American literature and US relations with the Arabic world.
Brian Zegeer makes animations and mujaddarah. He is currently working on a pop-up museum in Battery Park to commemorate the Little Syria neighborhood entitled Museum of the Mother Colony
, which will be on display for the week of June 24th, 2012. Go to savewashingtonstreet.org
if you’d like to help save what remains of the old Arabic quarter.
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