Little Syria, NY: An Immigrant Community’s Life & Legacy

Image: Group of children in front of Al-Hoda newspaper building, Little Syria, NY, 1935. Courtesy of Mary Mokarzel and the University of Minnesota Immigration History Research Center.

The original run of this exhibition at AANM was Dec. 21, 2012 – April 21, 2013 in the Main Floor Gallery, since traveling to multiple venues across the U.S. (listed below).


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.

Although razed to make way for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and later the World Trade Center, the impact of this community resonates in the current Arab American community of New York and the dozens of similar communities nationwide. This exhibition documents the life of this immigrant community, recognizing Little Syria’s contribution to the city of New York, its connections to the Arab world and its legacy across the United States.

Jan. 20 – March 24, 2017
Metropolitan College of New York
New York, NY

Oct. 1, 2016 – Jan. 9, 2017
Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
New York, NY

May 25 – Sept. 16, 2016
Municipal Archives’ Visitors Center
New York, NY

March 7-24, 2016
Schoolcraft College
Livonia, MI

Oct. 10, 2013 – Jan. 15, 2014
University of Minnesota Immigration History Research Center
Minneapolis, MN

June 8 – Sept. 7, 2013
Antiochian Village Heritage Museum
Bolivar, PA

May 3-27, 2013
3LD Art & Technology Center
New York, NY

Made possible in part by

and the Arab American community of New York

  • December 22, 2012 - April 21, 2013