Community Board One Resolution on “Little Syria” Historical Signage
On May 1, 2013, the Financial District Committee of Community Board One unanimously advanced the below resolution advocating signage for “Little Syria.” While not all members necessarily voted or were present, the committee includes Edward Sheffe, CHAIR; Susan Cole, CO-CHAIR; Deron Charkoudian; Linda Gerstman; Mariama James; Michael Ketring; Joel Kopel; Elizabeth Lamere; Megan McHugh; Patricia L. Moore; Una Perkins; and Michael Skidmore. Our campaign, together with the Friends of the Lower West Side group, argued and pursued this resolution because of difficulties we have had trying to site a general historical sign for Washington Street (including the proposed “Washington Street Plaza”). Hopefully, this resolution will help us find partners in the City to help us advance this initiative.
Please join the full meeting at 6:00PM on May 28, at Pace University (140 William Street, 1st Floor) to observe the discussion and the vote by the full Community Board.
WHEREAS: In the late nineteenth and early-to-mid twentieth centuries, lower Washington Street from Liberty Street to Battery Park anchored an extraordinarily important and diverse neighborhood of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe and from the Middle East; and
WHEREAS: Community organizations, such as the Friends of the Lower West Side, have engaged in a decade-long effort to publish research and raise awareness of this little-known history; and
WHEREAS: No City signage currently recognizes this cultural heritage; and
WHEREAS: Important literary, journalistic, and artistic figures lived and worked in this neighborhood, many of them still widely known around the world; and
WHEREAS: The first churches of several faith groups were in this neighborhood, but their location is not marked for visitors; and
WHEREAS: Providing historical information through signage would provide the many tourists visiting Lower Manhattan crucial informational content and context for the streets north of Battery Park and south of Liberty Street; and
WHEREAS: Several city landmarks in this part of the city, including 67 Greenwich Street, 94 Greenwich Street, and 103 Washington Street, could be better appreciated and contextualized if there were central signage; now
THAT: Community Board #1 would support an effort by the City to work with local community groups and historical societies to place a graphic sign with textual history, photographs, and a map of the Lower West Side neighborhood at an appropriate location in the vicinity of this historic area.