Virtual Tour: Transformation of the Lower East Side

Eldridge Street synagogue interior

Once the most densely populated districts in the world, the Lower East Side of Manhattan has witnessed numerous changes during the past hundred years. This virtual walking tour is a resourceful glimpse of the past. The tour will focus on a few of the remaining vestiges and surviving buildings and structures of an important era of Jewish immigration.

Join long-time resident of the lower east side Richard Soden as he highlights buildings and structures that still exist today as well as those that have been restored, re-purposed, demolished, and abandoned. He will speak about what transformed the neighborhood. Stops will include synagogues that are still in use, those that have been converted to other functions such as art galleries, churches, and event spaces as well as bathhouses, restaurants, movie theaters, and many more! Insiders will have the ability to ask questions to Richard in a Q&A section at the end.

Richard's first talk for Insiders focused on a brief history of Jewish Immigration, what tenement life was like, the repurposing of several synagogues, and how and where immigrants shopped. In this new talk, Richard will cover new aspects of immigrant life on the Lower East side including how immigrants integrated into the community, where they banked, what types of recreational activities they took part in, and how they obtained local and world news.

The presentation will continue with the transformation of the LES including historic food establishments that still exist today, additional synagogues that have been demolished or repurposed, some of Richard's fond childhood memories and a brief look at the Lower East Side today!


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