Origins of this Effort
Save Washington Street is a national coalition of organizations and individuals advocating the preservation of the last remaining traces of the Washington Street neighborhood of the Lower West Side.
The coalition was established by Carl Antoun and Todd Fine, two young Americans who came together with the passionate belief that this neighborhood, one of the oldest parts of the city and which has had its ethnic history diminished and denied and has endured more demolition and destruction than any other neighborhood, deserves to have its few remaining historical traces preserved for posterity.
While the coalition’s first objective is to achieve the landmark designation of the community center at 105-107 Washington Street, already advocated by Community Board 1 of New York City, the long-term goal of the coalition is to improve education about this diverse neighborhood, and about Arab-American history in particular in order to combat stereotypes and ignorance. In order to join the coalition by signing our group letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carl Antoun serves as Save Washington Street’s director. He is currently an undergraduate studying International Culture Studies and Political Science at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, New York. A Lebanese-American, whose family once lived and worked on Washington Street, he has a deep connection to the area and a passionate interest in its history.
Todd Fine serves as historical and strategic advisor. He is the director of Project Khalid, the centennial campaign for Ameen Rihani’s The Book of Khalid. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University and holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the editor of a new critical edition of The Book of Khalid under advance contract with Syracuse University Press. At Harvard, Mr. Fine worked for Samuel P. Huntington as a research assistant for two years on his book on American identity and immigration, entitled Who Are We? (Simon and Schuster, 2004). He also organized and developed the Global Zero campaign on nuclear weapons, which launched in Paris, France in December 2008.
Norah Arafeh serves as the Outreach Director of Save Washington Street. She is currently an undergraduate student of History at the University of California, Berkeley where she reestablished the Arab Student Union and aims to promote an understanding of Arab history, culture and heritage through education and by example. As a first generation Arab American of Syrian descent, the effort to preserve the Arab community’s historical past in this country resonated with her, and she hopes to see Washington Street remain as a testament to Arab American history for generations to come.
Daily News Story on National September 11 Museum and “Little Syria”
May 18, 2013
Today the New York Daily News posted this informative piece by Carol Kuruvilla about our efforts to preserve the neighborhood and to encourage the National September 11 Museum to include some recognition. We want to emphasize that we only went public with our frustrations after several years of local historians asking the Museum to incorporate [...]
Community Board One Resolution on “Little Syria” Historical Signage
May 16, 2013
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 [...]
Wall Street Journal Piece on Little Syria (Jennifer Weiss)
March 26, 2013
This morning the Wall Street Journal has a wonderful print and video piece about our campaign to protect the remaining complex of three historic buildings on Washington Street in Little Syria. This is indeed an urgent situation, and we would ask that people contact the Landmarks Preservation Commission (Chairman Robert Tierney) and Mayor Bloomberg, asking [...]
Salaam Club in New York Hosts Holiday Hafleh To Benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
December 14, 2012
On Saturday, December 8, our friends at the Salaam Club of New York City hosted a holiday hafleh (the Arabic equivalent of “party”) to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the internationally-known pediatric treatment and research facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Some people may not realize that the hospital was founded by popular Lebanese-American entertainer Danny [...]
Walking Tour of Washington Street on November 10 (With Joe Svehlak and Esther Regelson)
November 6, 2012
During Hurricane Sandy, lower Washington Street was flooded to near waist-high levels. Power is still trickling back, and the basements of most buildings were flooded, leaving some damage. However, a few of the neighborhood’s great advocates — local historian Joe Svehlak and community activist Esther Regelson — are still going forward with a walking tour [...]