Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Historic Preservation Update- Syrian Church Granted Landmark Designation

The Landmark's Commission calls St. George's Syrian Catholic Church on Washington Street, which it designated as a historic landmark last month, "the most significant remnant of the Lower Manhattan immigrant enclave known as 'the Syrian Quarter,' the 'Mother Colony' of Syrians and Lebanese in New York." About half of Manhattan's Middle Eastern community, which began settling on the lower west side in the late 1800s, were Melkite Greek Catholics. The church was built in 1812 and served as an immigrant boarding house until the mid 1920s, when it was purchased by a wealthy linen merchant. It was given a stunning neo-Gothic makeover, and served as a center of Melkite worship until the end of World War II, when the neighborhood's Middle Eastern population dwindled. The church currently houses Moran's Restaurant and Bar, whose owners took care to preserve the building's historical facade.

St. George's Church, left, and New York's Syrian Quarter - now TriBeCa and the western half of the Financial District- in the first half of the 20th century.

posted by Liana Grey

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