2. Little Syria, now Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel Approach

Photo by Christoffer Delsinger for Untapped Cities

Not too far away on Washington Street was “Little Syria,” the first Arabic-speaking immigrant base in the United States and home to at least 27 different nationalities between 1880 and 1940. It’s hard to imagine so much packed into the 6-block neighborhood, but such was immigrant life near the New York City dockyards. Two critical developments ensured the end of Little Syria: the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in 1946 and then the World Trade Center. Conveniently for Robert Moses, the approach to the tunnel could conveniently be placed right where the neighborhood was. Today, you can still see bits and pieces of the neighborhood, like the landmarked St George Syrian Melkite Catholic Church, a tenement turned church turned tavern and some remaining storefronts.

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