The History of Arab American Newspapers in NYC's Little Syria_NYC_Untapped Cities-4Image courtesy of New York City Department of Records

By Abdessamad Kharmaj

Community Organizer at the NYC Department of Records

Arabic newspapers in the United States played a significant role in shaping the life, culture, politics and history of Arab Americans as well as residents of countries in the Middle East. Beginning in the 1880s, the first waves of the Syrians started to hit the shores of New York City. These new immigrants settled on the lower west side and established an Arabic community in a neighborhood which would be soon known as “Little Syria,” or “the Syrian Quarter.” Little Syria in New York City was, for more than five decades, home to a vibrant Arabic community brimming with energy and productivity.


Untapped Cities-Jean Michel Basquait-NYC-NOHO-gvshp-art

Before Jay-Z was letting his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, lean on one of his paintings, or before Uniqlo started selling T-Shirts of his designs, Jean-Michel Basquiat was just another artist in the Greenwich Village, trying to make a living. He lived on 57 Great Jones Street, in a small building that once belonged to Andy Warhol.

Today, the small building that once housed one of the most popular artists in the world is now a Japanese restaurant. Thousands of people walk by it everyday, unaware of the history and stories that this small building in NoHo has within its walls. Now, people will no longer be unaware, because on July 13th, The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation unveiled a plaque near the front door of the loft building not only with Basquiat’s name, but with a few words describing what the late artist, who died in 1988, meant to the neighborhood. (more…)


Photo via Brownstoner/Hannah Frishberg

Here’s what we’re reading at the Untapped HQ: 

Today’s top articles: 

New York's Crystal PalaceNew York’s Crystal Palace site of America’s first “World’s Fair” 1853. The structure would be lost a fire in 1858. Image via Wikipedia Commons.  

On July 14, 1853 America’s first “World’s Fair” opened in New York City. Called the Exhibition of the Industry of All the Nations, it was similar to the Great Exhibition in London two years prior and designed to thrust a young America onto the world stage.

The expo grounds were located on present day Bryant Park, which was then known as Reservoir Square behind Croton Reservoir (today the New York Public Library). On the premises were two impressive structures for which the exhibition will forever be remembered: New York’s Crystal Palace and the Latting Observatory. Some of the countries in attendance included Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, and Haiti (or Hayti as New Yorkers spelt in 1853).


Star Trek-Intrepid Museum-Star Fleet Academy-Untapped Cities

If at anytime in the last 50 years you have found yourself saying “the lives of the many out-weigh the lives of the few,” “you have and will always be my friend,” or “live long and prosper,” you have Star Trek to thank for that. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum has opened an interactive exhibit celebrating the history of the Star Trek franchise.

Located on Pier 86 and occupying 2,000 square feet of space, Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience gives fans (or Trekkies) the opportunity to see original costumes from the many Star Trek series and feature films and also gives them the chance to be what they’ve always wantedmembers of Starfleet.  (more…)

Anna Held Audette - Suisun Bay IIAnna Held Audette (1939-2013), Suisun Bay II, oil on canvas, 26″ x 40″, 1995, catalog #223; courtesy of Louis Audette.

The Noble Maritime Collection at Snug Harbor Cultural Center opens its new exhibit, Modern Ruins, Paintings by Anna Held Audette (1939-2013)on Sunday, July 17 with a free public reception. The exhibit will feature Audette’s exploration of Staten Island’s ship graveyards and will continue through December 11, 2016.

“Audette’s paintings evoke the aura of a dark building with a single shaft of light coming through a dusty back window, or the loneliness of windshield on an abandoned truck where a vine comes back in summer, and grasps and holds its place as it climbs up it,” says Erin Urban, Noble Maritime Collection director.